Self-publishing: An Illusion (chimera) or Real Future

16 August 2014




Self-publishing used to be a big financial task. Most people needed deep pockets to be able to publish their own book. They often went this route after being turned down by many literary agents.


Enter the Internet.


The Internet continues to level the playing field with big business even in the publishing world. According to, in 2012 there were “nearly 60% more self-published works than in 2011.” A lot of this is due to the ebook trend. Ebooks can be created and published with little more than the efforts of the writers. Some famous names come to mind like Amanda Hocking and J. A. Konrath who both took to digital marketplaces like Amazon and Goodreads to publish their books.


While print books still dominate the landscape of book revenue, the ebook is a way for little known authors to get some notoriety and sales. Digital storytelling is great but the traditional rules of marketing still apply even more so on the Internet. The authors who are the most successful understand that publishing is still a business. If no one knows about your book, then how can you expect to make sales?


These authors have used grassroots methods of taking charge of their business. They have done everything from editing, cover design, blogging and marketing to social media including Twitter and Facebook.


Another factor that leads to success is having multiple titles already written. Authors like Hocking had a series of books they released. Her strategy was to release the first book in a series for $0.99 cents. The following books in the series were priced at $2.99. Using this formula, she was able to capitalize on the sales of people who became fans of the series of books.


Will everyone who follows this talent indie movement be successful? The answer is no. They probably will not sell over 100 books. A book could be well written, but it just might not sell well. Also, marketing comes in to question again. Many people have no idea of who their target market is and why they should even care. Just because billions of people are using the Internet does not mean they will zoom over to your book once it is posted.


There is one last thing to note about these successful self-publishers. They usually work in a niche market. They don’t try to market to everybody. For instance, an author with a science fiction series of titles should not try to market that same book to the self-help market. Unless the book is a space-age, self-help book, then their marketing efforts will be diluted.


So the reality is that books are not going anywhere. They are here to stay. How we are delivered them has changed, and in the process created a revolution that has opened up the market for people who in the past had no chance of getting their works read by anyone other than family and friends. The trend of self-publishing will only increase as more people get wind of how simple the process is, and as they recognize the chance at living their dreams as a published author.


Carlton L. Lewis


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