Why the Residual Stigma of Independent Publishing Needs to End


Warning: this is a rant post. I rarely indulge in rants, but today I feel that it is totally necessary. Here are my personal thoughts on why the residual stigma of independent/self publishing needs to end. It’s a new day people.

The Stigma

Back in the olden days of publishing ( a whole ten years ago) independent publishing was often considered a last resort by most writers. Self publishing was a sort of consolation prize. Authors tirelessly queried agents and/or major publishing houses, and if they weren’t one of the chosen few, they either published through a vanity press or self publishing resource. The upside was that they got their work published! The downside was that more often than not, said work was not up to industry standards. And so began the stigma of self published books.  Readers are discerning, and back in the day, they quickly learned that purchasing a self published book was risky. At the time, self published might as well have been synonymous with low quality.

The Evolution

Well, I’m here to proclaim that it’s time for the stigma to stop! Independent publishing has evolved at a rapid pace. It is now the preferred form of publishing for many authors; even those that have previously published through one of the big five publishing houses. Many writers are no longer putting out sub par work, thanks in large part to the gigantic network of freelance editors, cover designers, and formatters. Lot’s of self published books can easily sit on the shelf next traditionally published books, and compete at the same level.

The Revolution

Thanks to the e-book revolution, independent writers are now able to reach a broad base of potential readers with little monetary investment. Previously, independent writers had to take a gamble on ordering and paying for X amount of books in the hopes of selling the majority of them. Now, an independent writer with a solid marketing plan can easily sell thousands of books. Independently published authors also avoid getting locked into disadvantageous publishing contracts. There’s no stress over meeting the demands of a contract and earning beyond their advance in order to see additional profit.

The Future

Marketing Seminar

Self-published authors are so freaking phenomenal that they’re often courted by major publishing houses. That’s right. The much sought after big dogs of publishing are known to reach out to a successfully independently published author because they recognize the writer’s talent and readership. That’s a game changer y’all. Could there actually come a day when major publishing houses only consider working with authors that have previously self published? Along with a query letter and synopsis, will publishing houses also require an independently published author’s sales report? You might think I’m reaching, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it happened in the next five years or so. Remember that you heard it here first!

The Bottom Line

Independent publishers are mavericks. They’re the cowboys of our literary wild west; the intellectual gangsters of the publishing underworld. They’re entrepreneurs, risk takers and optimists. They’re writers that like having options and complete creative control. But most of all, they’re awesome. Anyone who thinks otherwise should probably go take a long walk off a short pier.

What’s your take on self-published books these days? 

Photo credit: Foter / Public Domain Mark 1.0

Photo credit: GetAmbITion / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Self Publishing Series, Step 4: Choose Your Venue(s)


Okay, so you’ve written an amazing book, you’ve taken care of your business and you have an attention grabbing cover. Now what? Now, you choose your venue! In other words, it’s time to decide where you’re going sell this baby. I just like the way venue sounds, so I’m going to go with it. There are a lot of selling options available for independent publishers. Whether in print or electronically, as with all the other steps in this type of publishing, YOU are in control. Ahhh, both a blessing and curse.

Print, E-Book or Both

The first choice you need to make is formatting. Do you want your book available in print, electronic form or both? It all depends on your preferences and your plan for selling the book. If you’re like me and just starting off in the world of publishing you may want to focus most of your energy on e-publishing. The upfront cost ranges from zero to minimal monetary investment. Plus, there’s no need to worry about pesky shipping fees or having a mountain of books sitting in your garage. Who wants that? On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned author, or if you’re an author with a calendar full of conferences, speaking engagements and other events of the like, it would be a great investment to have hard copy books available to sell in person. Think it over and come up with a format that works best for your professional status and lifestyle.

Choose a Publishing Source

I cannot speak on the act of self publishing a book without talking about the beast that is Amazon. Please take my next piece of advice in the spirit in which it is given, that of genuine love, because it’s going to sound a little salty. If you’re on the lazy side Amazon is, hands down, the way to go. Now, don’t get upset. I’m just keeping it real. Publishing through Amazon is a breeze, and it gives the highest return on the least amount of effort. You could choose to ONLY publish through Amazon and still have great sales with the right marketing. Amazon offers e-pubishing through Kindle Direct Publishing and print on demand books through Create Space. It’s a piece of cake. One place to keep track of sales and taxes, etc. So, if you are only going to choose one venue for your book, I highly recommend Amazon for the reasons mentioned above.

However, make no mistake; Amazon may be the biggest shark in the self publishing ocean, but there are PLENTY of other fish in the sea, if you know what I mean. Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, iBooks and Lulu are all excellent choices for publishing your book. Each of them have unique guidelines and specifications for uploading your book to their software. Be prepared to do your research. The great thing about publishing in this age of technology is that you could easily choose to only e-publish and it won’t cost you a dime out-of-pocket. Of course, that’s if you decide to go against my previous advice to get an editor and cover designer.  It’s entirely up to you.

Three Things to Keep in Mind

1. You will need to create an account with each of your publishing venues. You do this by visiting their respective websites and clicking their little ‘Sign-Up’ or ‘Get Started’ button. Word to the wise: it would be highly beneficial of you to have a single email address, user name and password that you use for all  of your venues.  I recommend a password that is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

2.You will need to have your book formatted in specific e-pub, moti or pdf files, depending on the venue. If you have no idea what those are, then it might be a good idea to pay someone to do it for you. There are plenty of companies and/or sub-contractors that offer e-conversion services. A good one will give you the formats needed to upload/publish to all of the e-publisher websites.

3.The more venues you choose to publish with, the higher your exposure and chances for sales. It can be a headache at first, but as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Don’t give up!

I’m excited to be present at what I consider to be a virtual literary renaissance of sorts. We’re making history y’all! Never before has there been so much opportunity, just ours for the taking, in the field of publishing. Take advantage of it. Leave your mark!

Any additional advice for independent authors? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA