By Isabella Morganthal
When I was eight years old, I decided I would publish a book. After writing a handful of pages about a little girl and her best friend, I believed I’d composed the next New York Times bestseller. Thankfully, no one outside of my family read the story.
However, writing became like oxygen to me. I couldn’t stay away from notebooks or the computer for long before I had to jot down my stories and ideas. My fingers ached to spill my heart onto paper.
As a teenager, I started treating my writing more seriously, and at age eighteen my dream finally came true when I held my first self-published book. I went on to release three more books and contribute to a self-published e-book devotional.
I have learned much about self-publishing along this journey. Though the adventure contained bumps, it has been worth every moment. In this article I hope to debunk some misconceptions about self-publishing and show you how you can accomplish the endeavor too.
Myth #1: Self-publishing is a method to get rich quick.
This makes me smile, because it’s definitely untrue. If you’re searching for a fast way to earn cash over the summer, self-publishing is probably not for you.
Though traditional publishers generally pay to publish your book, with self-publishing you’ll be spending money upfront. Whether you break even depends on how many people buy your book and the amount of effort you pour into marketing.
Please don’t be scared off by this though. If being a published author is your dream, the money shouldn’t matter anyway.
Some of my self-publishing expenses included: cover design, proofs of my book, book copies to sell, and advertising. One of my dear friends is an editor and helped me edit my third book; however, hiring a professional editor would normally be an additional cost.
If you work hard and diligently market your book, you can recoup the funds you invested and then some. Some self-published authors reap enough profit to support themselves from their books. Just keep in mind that success won’t happen overnight.
Myth #2: Self-published books don’t sell well.
This is inaccurate, because a self-published book could sell more copies than you expect. When I released my first book, I was amazed at how well it sold.
Because my print-on-demand company is part of Amazon, my books are automatically listed there. This is advantageous because anyone from around the world can purchase my books. Of course, I need to let people know they’re available. That’s where marketing comes in.
My biggest marketing tip is to give your book to God. He will place it in the hands of the people He wants to read it. Some other fun marketing tactics are:
- Use social media. Set up an author Facebook page and invite people to like it. Create an
Instagram account and share snippets of your writing.
- Launch a blog. This will develop your platform and allow fans to preview your writing style before buying your book.
- Get interviewed by your local newspaper (they are often excited to talk to a local young
- Submit guest posts to popular websites and online communities.
- Build an email list.
- Host a book signing at your library after your book releases.
- Bring your book to a local bookstore and ask if they’d be willing to add it to their shelves.
If you try your best and leave the results to God, your self-published book could sell better than you ever imagined.
Myth #3: Self-publishing is for amateurs.
Although self-publishing provides an opportunity to test out the publishing world, it isn’t exclusively for beginners. I’d been writing for about ten years when I self-published a book, though my skills still needed sharpening. I can see I’ve advanced since then, and I’m sure I’ll think the same thing in another ten years.
You grow every time you write something new. Even traditionally published authors have room for improvement. Don’t hesitate to self-publish because you’re afraid people will view you as a beginner. Self-publishing is difficult and requires loads of perseverance. It’s an achievement to be proud of.
Myth #4: Self-published books are poor quality.
I strongly disagree with this for several reasons. Just because a traditional publisher isn’t designing and printing your book doesn’t mean that the cover and interior will look shoddy. If you are unsure how to design a cover, hire someone who does. Enlisting someone to format the interior is also an option, although Googling how-to articles can help you do this yourself. CreateSpace is the company I use, and their quality has been exceptional.
However, cover design and interior formatting are only half the process of producing a self-published book that is as professional as a traditionally published one. Your cover might be eye-catching, but if the content is subpar, readers will be disappointed. This is why editing is essential. The benefit of traditional publishing is that several editors polish a book so that it becomes the best it can be. Hiring a professional editor (or a few) to comb through your manuscript will enhance your writing.
Your cover and content must both be excellent. Set your standards high and aim for professionalism with every part of your book.
Self-publishing has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If you aspire to self-publish someday, pursue it with all your heart. Don’t quit when the going gets tough and roadblocks stand in your path. Keep pressing on until you hold that book in your hands.
You can do this.
Isabella Morganthal is a twenty-year-old self-published author, dreamer, and daughter of the King. She has been writing for as long as she can remember, and she blogs regularly at her personal space on the internet (www.Jesusisworthitall.weebly.com), where she has a section dedicated to encouraging and mentoring young writers. She’d love to connect with you there. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys sitting under the sun and reading a good book.