Self-publishing has come a long way in the last ten years. Though there have been major improvements to the industry such as ease and use for the less-than-tech-savvy author, many writers are still very divided on the topic. There are plenty of articles online demeaning self-publishing, claiming it to be a surefire way to have your work underappreciated and undervalued. Some go so far as to relate self-publishing to selling your soul to the Devil. While some of those articles make valid points (minus the whole selling your soul part), there are many overlooked advantages to self-publishing.
To give you a more detailed look at self-publishing, Lindenwood University student and self-published author, Madi DiMercurio, will give you a brief overview of her own self-publishing experiences.
The dream of having my work bound into a book has existed since the summer of seventh grade. I brought up the idea to my grandma and she suggested lulu.com. This site was new and I was honestly turned off immediately because they were so simplistic. Specifically, the formatting of the cover wasn’t what I had in mind for my short story, but I made it work. It seems they have developed a lot more since then.
In high school, when I had written a handful of finished short stories, I wanted to put them together. I picked the best five and found blurb.com. Blurb had better formatting options at the time and I felt freer with how I wanted to present my work. Blurb is a photobook company upfront. But if you look further into their website there are also books created. I created eight books using blurb and have had the easiest time. They have great tools for those who are naturally creative but aren’t masters at the technology side. They’re customer support group is fast and friendly. And they also have a group called Reedsy that has editors, cover designers, and publicists all one click away to help with any or all steps of getting your book out there.
Both Lulu.com and Blurb.com have ways to put your work onto Amazon, this appears to be a newer option for both companies that I was never acquainted with.
Lulu is less expensive than Blurb. But Blurb does cater more towards photo books so they up their prices for color printing. If you’re making a book (aka a novel or chapbook), the black and white option is less expensive. But you also pay for what you get. It’s great quality on Blurb. I’ve never regretted it.
Self-promotion and marketing are key factors in self-publishing success. The only self-promotion I’ve done is sharing my published work on Facebook and Twitter…mostly to let my family know I’ve got something new up. Honestly, it’s hard work to self-promote, almost like a full-time job. I heard somewhere that it takes seven times for someone to see or hear about your book before they pick it up or buy it, this idea is daunting to me. It means it takes a lot of work to get yourself out there on top of the work you have already put into writing the book.
Fear of rejection is a big reason why I don’t promote as much as I should. But I also very strongly believe that I write for myself before anything else. I’m okay with not wanting that attention, but the attention is addicting when I get it. I also don’t feel as if I have this skills, knowledge, or secret tricks on how to get more people to turn their heads towards my work.
The most important reason why I self-publish is to have a finished, bound book for myself and my family. If I get outside interest that’s cool too, but getting that attention isn’t on my to-do list. I write for myself first and foremost.
Thinking about self-publishing? Here are some of the main publishers for self-publishing (in no particular order):