It’s Time to Be Self-Published and Proud

Don’t Be Afraid to Say It

6/6/2016

I am self-published and proud of it.

woman holding button that reads I'm a winner

It’s not a phrase you’ll hear many people saying. Self-publishing has long been viewed as a last-resort option, taken only by the people cast out by traditional publishers. Self-publishing gets a bad reputation because too many authors have little concept of quality control or any idea of how to be a businessperson.

(If you think publishing a book isn’t a business, you’re wrong. But that’s an article for another day.)

The tides are changing. Traditional publishers cater not to the reader, but to bookstores and book buyers who supposedly know what their patrons seek. Publishers like the Big Five pivot slowly, sliding behind the times, both in technology and the types of books readers want.

Being a self-published author cuts out the “middlemen” and allows me to interact with readers, learn what they want, then deliver it.

person reading a Kindle while drinking coffee

I don’t have to wait a year between releasing books. I can write a series, wait until it’s finalized, then release the volumes in quick succession. (Which can actually have better success than waiting a year or more between books.) I can, alternatively, wallow in a reflective state where I ponder just what the hell I’m doing with my career and not have to worry about outside deadlines to meet.

I can write unique characters and tackle diverse topics that would never make the cut in New York. There’s no limit to the human imagination, and self-publishing embraces that. If you’ve spent any time listening to readers, you’ll know that as much as they love books from the Big Five, readers want more than what those publishers can deliver.

The Big Five publishers aren’t bad or wrong, but they represent the traditional model of book production and selling. In the way that indie music has risen up and become part of mainstream music culture, self-publishing is blazing the same path.

You’ve heard of The Martian, right? Andy Weir began publishing his book on his blog, and only compiled his book to sell on Amazon after his readers requested it. We’re going to see more self-published authors make it big. Many have already gained a strong enough following to hit big-time bestseller lists. That doesn’t happen by accident.

I’m proud to be part of this movement, this change.

Flowers growing on mountain side

We’re leaving the days of the hacky self-published author behind. The kind of author who slaps together his own cover in MS Paint and doesn’t give his book a read through before throwing it up on Amazon. That’s no longer the norm.

Self-publishing is changing. Freelance editors, cover designers, and formatters help us produce professional books that can sit alongside traditionally published books without a noticeable difference. More people are choosing self-publishing as their first or best option, like Thea Harrison, NYT and USA Today bestselling author.

Sure, it’s not easy being an indie author. But I can’t imagine that being a traditionally published author is much better. Many published authors still work full-time jobs that often have nothing to do with writing; meanwhile, we’re left with the responsibility of building our author platform and marketing our books.

None of this takes away from why we do what we do: We write because we love doing so, and we want to share what we create with the world. If we’re lucky, we’ll make money from it, too.

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Amanda Shofner

Amanda Shofner satisfies her desire for adventure with the written word and helps others do the same. Currently writing romantic suspense.

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