Deciding how to share your story with the world is something very easy for some and difficult for others. The reasons may differ case-by-case. After seeing – and reading – many self-published books, I needed little time to realize it’s the way I want to take. In this post, I’ll share the reasons.
Most of my reasons are coming from the fact I took up writing as a hobby and keeping the story in my hands takes priority over almost anything.
The biggest reason is staying in full creative control. If I went the traditional way, the publisher or editor could force an edit I might disagree with so the final product is more in line with the stories they want to sell – or with what they know will sell.
I, being a hobby-writer, don’t have my priority on selling as many copies as I can, even though it’d be nice. I started writing to tell the story I want to tell. Self-publishing means that I make the final decision on where my story goes. That does not mean I won’t listen to feedback. What this means is that I can choose how to handle it. And that no matter how the story fares “out in the world”, I’ll release it knowing it’s exactly the story I wanted to tell.
And, it also means I can choose the cover design – which I admit is a double-edged blade, and a topic I might cover when I get to that point.
I haven’t finished the first book yet and I’ve already found several people willing to share advice and insight. While the amount of people I communicate with is still very low, those connections were forged through the willingness to help and shared interests. And, as many of those people are readers as well, I can get insight from both sides.
Self-publishing means I choose how I communicate with the world, not the publisher or agent or whoever. If I decide that my communication with the world will be through my weblog and Goodreads and that I don’t want to have anything to do with Facebook, I can do that. There’s nothing to force me into doing something I don’t want.
No external deadlines
I started writing in summer 2015. I am still working on it. There’s no deadline to meet, I can give it all the time in the world until it’s ready. And when it is, I’ll release knowing I gave it all. In the meantime, I have some work done on the sequels so my potential readers will not be waiting too long for them but the main advantage stays: I decide when to release the book(s) and I can decide to pull back #1 to shorten the gaps between sequels if I believe it to be a good move. And I’ll not face days of stress due to a deadline and/or risk rushing the final version.
Setting the price
I’ve kept neutral through most of this post but this is the only point where I can’t. What I hate about traditional publishing is the artificial inflating of e-book prices. Specifically, pricing the e-book almost the same as paperback book despite having minimal production costs (no printing, transportation, large-scale storage, etc.). The two most crucial elements of any book – the author and the readers – are all being ripped off by that practice. Readers by having to pay much more for no reason and authors by getting (almost) nothing from the difference.
Those are the main reasons. For me, the priorities I have means the mentioned reasons outweigh the disadvantages. Again, it’s something that varies for everyone and everyone making this decision should carefully consider the pros and cons of both ways – and how they align with their goals and priorities. I open to discussion and will welcome your comments, questions, and opinions on this matter.