Self-Publishing 101: A Brief Overview

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Self-publishing hasn’t always been the coolest kid on the block. Writers and readers alike wondered if self-publishing would be a new and exciting age for publishing? Or was it simply a shortcut for anyone to publish anything? Would you be stunned if I said both are true? 

Authors, professionals, and everyone in between now recognize that you can make a most excellent (sometimes lucrative) self-published book. 50 Shade of Grey author E.L. James is a classic example of a self-publishing success story. If you’re thinking about publishing a book, it’s not a bad idea to include self-publishing into your marketing or publishing strategy. Who knows, maybe self-publishing will prove to be a great fit for the work you want to publish.

What is “Self-Publishing”?

With self-publishing, an author needs to cover any publishing and print related costs. From writing and editing to design and marketing, the author needs to do all of these jobs themselves or hire professionals to help them. If you use your own funds to publish your book, then you are self-publishing!

Self-Publishing VS Traditional Publishing

Unlike a self-published author, authors working with traditional publishers receive financial support. If a publisher is interested in an author’s work, the company will offer to take care of everything book related. In return, the author will earn a fraction of the profit through royalties. Successful self-published authors on the other hand cover the costs to publish their own book, but the rest of their earnings return to their own pocket. No royalties. No additional fees. And the book still belongs completely to the author. Not bad, right?

Another difference with traditional publishing is that an author will need to find an agent. Agents are looking for work that can be marketed to a pretty large audience. An agent’s goal is to find work that will sell exceptionally well in the market. If the book is catered to a really small audience, the author may be wasting time with an agent. With self-publishing, the author skips right over the vetting process and they can publish the book of their choosing. Less time pitching means more time writing!

Why Self-Publish?

1. Escape Traditional Publishers

Sometimes traditional publishing can be a strange and incomprehensible machine of book making. At the end of the day, instead of writing the book you like, maybe you’ll end up writing a book your agent wants. Maybe you’ve already spent months pitching to hundreds of agents and getting nowhere.

2. Control

As the single person funding your own project, you make every decision from who will be editing your work to how you want it marketed. You can control every aspect of your project, seek professionals that you trust, and produce a book exactly as you envisioned.

3. Profit

Once a book is picked up by a publishing company, an author can be offered around 10% royalties for each book sold. If you self-publish, the profit is all yours. Self-publishing makes a lot of sense for writers with an established audience.  In the case for business leaders or internet personalities, they already have a pretty big audience willing to purchase the author’s products.

4. Skills

People interested in self-publishing usually have a number of useful book publishing skills. If they are a good writer and have some know-how in graphic design, they can do a lot of the work by themselves. This author would only need a few additional skilled professionals to help them complete their book. And of course, you don’t need all of these skills to self-publish. If you have an idea for a manuscript, you can employ a whole team to help you bring that book to life.

How do I Self-Publish?

Easy! Take your manuscript to a print shop and print that bad boy off!

Well, almost, but not quite!

First, you need to identify the things you can do very well and the areas you’ll need professional help. These areas include (but not limited to) writing, editing, layout and design, cover art, printing, and marketing. After identifying your weak areas, gather reliable professionals to support you in the bookmaking process. With their help, you will hopefully produce a book that looks like a real book. You can also add some finishing touches with a hardcover, an ISBN number, or an e-book version.

I know there are still a bunch of unanswered questions like where do I sell my self-published book? Why should I create an e-book version? How do I find a good self-publishing company?

To answer one of those questions, if you’re looking for an excellent self-publishing company, I’d say you’re in the right place! You can click here to read more about TLAC’s self-publishing services. We also have a pretty awesome instant chat service on our website. When you open the chat feature, you will be talking with one of our staff in real time about your self-publishing project, the options to consider, and the overall price.

As for the other questions, check back with this blog for new articles on everything print and publishing related. It’s easy to forget that you’re investing a lot of time, energy and money into this project. You deserve to have a great experience and we want to make sure you do! TLAC wishes you all the best in your self-publishing journey!

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