• Veena Maheshwari

Why I Left Traditional Publishing in Favor of Self-Publishing

Are you doubting if you should self-publish or traditionally publish? You’re not alone. The same challenge is on the minds of many authors I find, regardless of their career path or how established they are.

When I started out as an author myself, a stigma surrounded both self-published books and self-published authors. I needed to secure a big time contract with reputed traditional publications so I perfected my manuscript as much as I could and wrote a compelling query letter which I planned to send to all good agents and publishing houses on the top. But the wait was longer than I could expect, I began questioning the possibilities of having a career as an author. And when I finally received an answer, I realized that my book will never be the same as I would have envisioned it to be.

With self-published books, you do not have to stand by for anybody to give you the green light.

  • You choose when and how to publish a book.

  • You decide whose hands your book goes into.

  • You determine how successful you are.

You don’t have to persuade any gatekeepers to grant your book to reach the global market.

“But, don’t traditional publishers have a good idea for what will sell or not? I mean, if they reject my book, they’re perhaps right that no one would want to buy it.”

Have you ever heard of Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek”? It has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller for over four years. It sold nearly 1.5 million copies and has been translated into 35 different languages. It was turned down by the first 26 publishers it was presented it to.

Maybe you’ve also heard of a certain children’s book, the one about a young fellow with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead who realizes he is a wizard. The “Harry Potter” franchise is a patent bestseller, with the last four books in the series being the fastest-selling books in history.

Yet 12 publishers refused it in a row and were merely picked up because the eight-year-old daughter of an editor demanded to read the rest of the book. Even then, after the editor agreed to publish, they advised J. K. Rowling to pick up a day job as she had little chance of making money in children’s books.

Traditionally-published authors are typically paid an amount of money up front. However, once the sales come rolling in, they only get a small cut of the earnings.

Why? Because they have to pay the publishing house, the editor, the marketers, the designers, etc.

But when you self-publish, you take in most of the earnings (save for the money you actually choose to spend on marketing, book production and publishing). On Amazon, for example, self-published authors receive 70% of the royalties for an eBook priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Now that isn’t bad!

Self-publishers around the world have gathered online and in person to provide a community that supports one another in publishing their work.

These connections become priceless as you meet other up-and-coming influencers like yourself.

“Wait—so where would I meet these people?”

Because self-publishing requires that you find your own editor, cover designer, formatter and launch team members, you end up connecting with people throughout your whole writing experience.

Self-published authors also gather on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.

These connections become priceless as you meet other up-and-coming influencers like yourself.

So much of a book is influenced by the motive that fuels it.

  • Is your motive to make money?

  • It is to launch a new career?

  • Is it to share your story?

  • Is it to become a public speaker?

  • Or, is it simply something to cross off your bucket list?

Remember, writing a book is hard work. And nothing is worse than seeing your hard work be transformed into something you didn’t want. When you self-publish, you are able to preserve the dignity and genius of your objective. No one is pressuring you to sell more books, or to taint your message so that it will reach wider audiences.

You are not pigeonholed or made to become someone you’re not comfortable with.

You write as you, and for you. And that is liberating. That is self-publishing freedom!

There are horror stories about authors whose ideas and voice became unrecognizable after they went down the traditional route.

When you work with a traditional publisher, you don’t just sell them your manuscript, you sell them your idea.

Your book may become something you are not comfortable with. Or, your dreams for a sequel or a revision may be completely squandered if it does not comply with the motives of the traditional publisher.

But as an independent author, you retain total creative control.

You are free to be expressive with your work. You are free to be vulnerable and controversial. You are free to be you.

When you self-publish, you also control who you write for. If you sell via the Amazon Kindle store, you can choose, and then tweak, your categories and keywords. You determine your marketing efforts.

With 45 percent of e-book sales going to indie authors, audiences are showing that they respect and want to purchase the ideas of everyone—not just those endorsed by traditional publishers.

Most people looking to write a book want to earn more money, gain more freedom or have a platform to share their ideas.

When you self-publish and have complete ownership over your ideas, you also have complete ownership over your future.

There is no traditional publishing firm to stop you from selling a supplementary online course that includes material from your book, starting a speaking career, re-releasing your book with a hardcover or audiobook, or even releasing an updated version of your book.

You determine the trajectory of your book, your ideas, and your publishing career when you self-publish.

Even big names choose between traditional publishing VS self-publishing though there are some benefits to traditional publishing, even some well-established and successful authors admit that the joys of being an indie author outweigh a traditional publishing deal. So much, in fact, that big name entrepreneurs who have large followings and could easily get a traditional publishing deal are opting to go the self-publishing route. These people include Pat Flynn, Jeff Goins, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and James Altucher.

©2020 by SciMysFic.