You've written a novel, sent it off to the editor, and are now ready to figure out what your next step is. Publishing comes with many questions, the main one being how you should publish. While no one can answer this question for you, there are different benefits and drawbacks to each type. Traditionally publishing can take years to be accepted and results in small royalties. Self-Publishing can have hefty up-front costs but can get your novel out into the world quicker. Whatever you choose, understanding what you need to do to off-set the negatives is key.
Read more about the two types here: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Which Path Should You Follow?
Still on the fence? Here are 5 reasons you should say "YES" to self-publishing!
1. Your Book Fits A Very Specific Niche
If you're writing a book that you know doesn't fit into what's mainstream or commercially friendly, then chances are you'll find more success self-publishing it than you would trying to get a publisher to pick it up. Publishers will only publish novels they know will appeal to a widespread audience. That's the unfortunate truth, though it makes sense. After all, they're all about the profits they can make from producing a piece of work and rightfully so.
As a self-published author, you can bypass all the bureaucracy, rules, and issues that can result from trying to promote a piece that doesn't fit the "norm" of what's currently popular. This means that not only can you publish your deeply personal novel about your life experiences, your amateur poetry, and your fantasy novel all in the same place, but your audience will be more likely to appreciate your work's variety as opposed to a mainstream bookstore.
2. You Plan On Publishing...A Lot
The number of times you plan to publish and the frequency should also sway your decision to self-publish. Realistically it could take years to traditionally publish. This takes into account the time it takes to query and be accepted, let alone having your book be assessed for revisions, editing, quality control, etc. before it's ever released to the public.
When you self-publish you have full control over when you launch your novel. This means that you have the power to determine when the right time to publish is for you. You can publish right away and follow it up with a sequel two months later. You could wait two weeks or two years before you publish your next book. It's entirely up to you. This also works well for authors who plan to write and keep writing a ton of books.
3. You Find Challenges Stimulating, Not Defeating
If you like to learn on the fly, take your time to grow your business, and don't mind tackling challenges alone then self-publishing may work well for you. So much of self-publishing is a lone venture. You have to be able to adapt and adjust according to new information, changing expectations, and unforeseen challenges. Some writers find this type of publishing experience exhilarating. Others prefer to have someone else guide them through it.
The biggest benefit to traditionally publishing is that you have plenty of structure, experts to guide you, and lots of resources. With self-publishing you have to build the structure, hire the experts, and establish your network of resources for yourself. While one is helpful because it already exists in full, the other is far more tailored to you and your individual needs.
4. You Want Full Creative Control
A big determining factor in why authors choose to become an indie over the traditional route is creative control. With a large publisher, there are plenty of rules and other people deciding all the aspects of the publishing and formatting process. You may find that an editor will change large portions of your book, that your book's cover will be styled differently than what you wanted, and that the way you market your novel is much more rigorous than you would prefer.
With self-publishing that never happens. Why? Because you're the captain of the ship and have final say on all design, editing, formatting, and marketing decisions. You're able to protect the integrity of your vision and see it through to the end- without having to constantly fight for it. If you're brave enough to take on overseeing (and doing) the majority of your bookish tasks, then this can be all the more rewarding when you hold the final product in your hands knowing it's exactly what you envisioned.
5. You Can't Wait To Publish!
Time is of the essence. Some writers merely can't wait any longer to publish their works. If you're an older writer, an eager one, or a spontaneous free-spirit, the thought of waiting a second longer than necessary to share your work with readers may feel like too much. That's completely understandable! Some writers are filled with that enthusiasm and want to start right here and now. They would rather build their readership as they go along and aren't so worried about the details.
Not all writers feel comfortable doing this though, and that's equally okay! You have to take your strengths and weaknesses, what your goals are, and what will work for your lifestyle into account before you make such a big decision.
No matter how you decide to publish, the end result is the same- you wind up a published author!
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