What is Self-Publishing, anyway?

Good question, dear reader. Friends and family, strangers and loved ones, I'm self-publishing my book. And I feel like we need to clear up a few things before that happens. First of all, what is self-publishing, anyway? 

I like to think of it as DIY publishing. It's publishing without the whole shebang of an editor and a house. Self-publishing requires writers to become a full-fledged publishing machine: marketer, editor and of course, publisher. The more you work, the more you make. Theoretically, of course.

To help you form a clearer picture in your mind, allow me to explain what self-publishing is not:

Self-Publishing is Not a Last Resort

This little rumor is a big fat lie, folks. With the rise of e-books, self-publishing is booming right now. Not only can you publish in a digital format, but you can also make print-on-demand copies through hosts like Lulu or CreateSpace. And now, there's a crazy phenomenon taking place. 

Writers are choosing to self-publish, before they even query literary agents, actively opting to go it alone. Why is this a big deal? Because now, writers can publish their books the minute, nay, the second they are ready. Writers don't have to wait around for months to see if they get an agent, then the extra years it could take to find a publisher. You can publish right now. Exciting, right?

Self-Publishing is Not a Garbage Heap

Somewhere along the way, there's been a misunderstanding that self-publishers are the writers who "couldn't get published" and therefore, their work is trash. I have a few things to say to this. First of all, there are a million reasons that books aren't chosen for publication, and a book being "bad" is only one of them. Maybe the house is already publishing a book just like yours. Maybe they're not looking for anything in your genre right now.

The possibilities are endless and often tedious. Secondly, bad writing exists. However, it exists in both the traditional sphere as well as self-publishing. It is not a circumstance reserved for the DIY route. Need proof? Okay, here are some A+ self-publishers: Hugh Howey, Ksenia Anske, Ania Ahlborn and Colleen Hoover. Read their stories. I dare ya.

Self-Publishing is Not a One-Man Show

I'm contradicting myself a bit, aren't I? Though it's true that self-published writers need to work ten jobs at once, they also need to reach out to people who can help get the work done. The most crucial role to seek out is a freelance editor, someone who can catch the mistakes before your book hits print.

There's nothing that screams unprofessional more than a book with a slew of grammatical errors. Don't give the naysayers a reason to set your book down into the unreadable wasteland. Besides an editor, a self-publisher should look into hiring a cover artist, a formatter and even a PR contact.

Apart from the technical stuff, self-publishing isn't a one-man show, because there are readers. I know, blows your mind, doesn't it? Get these readers early on. Start a blog, hop on social media and never stop learning.

So you're publishing a book?  Read about how to pick your publishing method here!