What The Hell Is Self Publishing Exactly?

what is self publishing

What is self-publishing? It is not a simple business.

Once upon a time, when life was simple, self-publishing meant writing a book, uploading it to Amazon Kindle, and then crossing your fingers and hoping a few people bought it.

This was the way I started, and luckily quite a few people did buy my books. Marketing was back then, a word that did not collocate with self-publishing because the simple fact of having your book available on Amazon was enough.

Well, ok, I did tell my friends and family on Facebook, plus my few hundred followers on Twitter that I had a book or two available, but that certainly was not marketing.

Fast forward to today, however, and boy, has self-publishing become ever so complicated. It is now a business of algorithms, meta data, niche category creation, cross promotion, paid advertising and of course meticulous marketing.

In only a few short years, authors, who by definition are writers and not high-pressure marketers, have had to adapt, learn, curse and swear, as the age of the self-publishing authorpreneur has become unavoidable.

The problem now for many authors, though, is that all this learning, adapting, marketing, promoting, blogging, social media time and of course, swearing and cursing at all the changes, is eating away at what an author should be doing.

And that is of course, writing. Yes, says he as he clacks out this blog post!

More changes ahead for self-publishing.

But, be prepared for more changes, more learning curves and more writing time lost, as self-publishing once again readies itself to transform into a new beast, and one that may change how we perceive a book.

Linkedin and Facebook have both made announcements recently about entering self-publishing, but as both will seemingly host this self-published content on their respective sites, does it really mean self-publishing? Unless books are purchased, how can it be anything more than online content?

The other recent change in self-publishing is of course crowdfunding. Whether enough readers will be willing to pay upfront for a book or not is yet to be seen, but I have yet to hear of too many success stories.

So here is the new reality to consider. What the hell is self-publishing exactly right now?

If you are an author, hopefully you have a completed manuscript or two, because over the next year or so you are going to be too busy to write, as you embark on learning how to publish on Facebook, Linkedin and who knows how many more, as well as spending weeks preparing your crowdfunding proposal.

At the same time of course, you will be studying how to manipulate Amazon algorithms, re-categorise your books using specific niche genres and of course, spending hours trying to work out how to make a buck from ebook subscription services charging $9.99 per month, for as many books as readers can eat.

Once upon a time, self-publishing was oh so simple.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “What The Hell Is Self Publishing Exactly?

  • I have self-published two books, an expense which I have come to regret, there is no money to be earned by the author in this game, just the thrill of seeing your work in print, and the charge per year for keeping the books on Amazon is £25. Marketing is almost impossible, it seems that no-one is interested in self-published books unless the author, at his own expense, purchases his own books and gives them away to anyone who will have them. Even the library was a reluctant participant, until I made the statement that they were ‘FREE’. my rating on Amazon is becoming quite high for production and presentation, but this is not enhancing any sales. My publisher (New Generation) who failed to action my last set of amendments, has disappeared into oblivion, so no support there. My books would make wonderful films, but there isn’t a chance in Hell.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Janet. But why are you paying £25 to stay listed on Amazon? I would seriously warn against using a publisher to self publish. It defeats the whole purpose, and you lose control of your books. There is nothing a publisher can do that you can’t do yourself, and mostly for free.

      Reply

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