The first and most important thing to avoid in self-publishing is self-publishing.
There is a whole self-publishing community out there that is made up of publishing professionals who are there to help you get your work professionally indie-published; cover artists, layout designers, editors, beta readers, managers, and even agents.
Don’t ever self-publish. Make use of the industry that is there to make sure you put your best foot forward.
To correct some horrible misconceptions:
- You only need to publish through the proven channels: Kindle Direct Publishing for your eBook and physical dead-tree book (you will publish both), and Smashwords Direct. KDP will get your work available worldwide on Amazon and Smashwords will get your eBook up at virtually every other majors eRetailer.
- You do not need to publish through B&N.
- Vanity press sells to authors, not readers.
- “Mandatory fees” don’t “block your way to publishing.”
- You can copyright your work yourself. It takes 5 minutes.
- You will use the FREE ISBN from KDP and Smashwords, which you will get yourself. It takes a click on a radio button on each publishing website.
- The absolute WORST way to become a published author is the nonsensical, outdated, and positively prehistoric “traditional route.” Unless, of course, you like 14.5% royalties (instead of 70%), you don’t want to see your work out for four or five years, and you only want to see your work available in stores for 90 days. The “traditional route” is from a bygone and best-forgotten era.
- Trying the “traditional route” won’t teach you anything. It’ll only waste your time. There is nothing to “learn” from giving away your royalties and your irreplaceable time.
- Legitimate “traditional” literary agents, agencies, and publishers don’t charge upfront; they only take around 55-60% of your royalties right out of your pocket. Is that what you truly want?
- There’s a reason “traditional” literary agents, agencies, and publishers don’t work with you; they demand you submit to them. Submit. Are you a slave or an author?
- If you get a publishing contract, you’re not a fortunate writer; “fortune” is no longer in your vocabulary once you sign the lopsided contract that only protects them. You’re a serf. A servant. A slave. A mark.
- One of the HUGE weaknesses in traditional publishing is book promotion. You won’t get any. At all. You won’t get book signings, marketing campaigns, or – most importantly – sales. Without sales, you’ll get no royalties.
- “Traditional literary people and entities” will not work with you. They will not promote you. Your work will be packaged with a known sellable author whose works will be displayed on tables in bookstores where customer traffic is heavy. YOUR work will be stuck, spine out, on a bookshelf somewhere in the store – probably in the wrong section and misfiled – where it will languish until the bookstore can return it for credit. Do you want to be hip pocketed, or do you want to sell books?
Indie publish. Be in command of your fortunes rather than a slave to someone who doesn’t care whether you succeed or suck seed.
Your call. 70% royalties on $100,000 is $70,000. 14.5% “traditional” royalties on the same amount is $14,500. That extra $55,500 looks a lot better in your pocket than it does on some “traditional” publisher’s ledger. Just sayin’.
You can also read: How do Self-Published Authors Promote Their Books?