The Self-publishing world’s benefits to an unknown author.
By A.M. Madden
Let me tell you a story. Let’s rewind back to just one year ago. A middle-aged wife, mother, and full time employee for a retail company was almost finished writing her first book. For six months, she would come home after a full day at work, quickly make dinner for her family, and sit with her face buried in her laptop, trying to write a few paragraphs before her bedtime hour crept up on her. Her goal? She didn’t have one. She just knew she had to get this story out of her head, and onto paper. At the time she thought, maybe a few friends, maybe her family would read this book she desperately needed to write, and hopefully enjoy
the story she desperately needed to tell. She finished her project and passed it on to said friends and family. What happened next, changed her life.
Ironically, she was laid off from a job she held for over twenty years. She researched the world of self-publishing, not knowing all that she would learn would pave the way to a new career. She was scared, nervous and proceeded to freak out over her predicament. Her little project suddenly became so much more than what she originally had planned. She took a leap of faith, and is now about to publish her third book in a series that has reached Amazon Best Selling status in the Romance genre. Dream or reality?
Reality. The above is my story. What has happened this past year has been a surreal, crazy, mind-blowing experience. I pinch myself daily to remind myself that it is indeed my reality. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and ten years ago attempted to write a children’s book. At the time, self-publishing wasn’t what it is today. I went to my local bookstore, picked up several “how to get published” books, began reading them and developed a pounding headache. I then boxed them all up and nixed the entire idea.
Frankly, I didn’t have time to follow all, and when I say all I mean the dozens of steps that is necessary to try to get just noticed and then hope to be published. There was too much left to chance, luck, and I am a very impatient person. Those who know me know my life motto is “Things happen for a reason.” The literary world was not prepared for me yet. I needed to wait. I didn’t know that at the time, nor would I want to hear it, but I did need to wait.
By waiting, the self-publishing world exploded, and became just the vehicle this unknown, inexperienced writer needed to be able to follow her dream. By waiting, I was able to write a story I felt passionate about, self-publish it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, and watch it slowly and steadily get noticed. Many have approached me regarding the phenomenon that is now known as self-publishing. With the birth of the eReader, authors such as myself are able to write their stories, and control what selling vehicles they would like to utilize. The process is fairly easy, very user friendly, and proven to be successful. What more
can a newbie, unheard-of, inspiring author like me want?
Of course, social media plays a huge part in the process. I personally feel, that getting your book noticed is much harder than actually writing the book. I depended on my teenage boys to tutor me on the basics of Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I’m not famous by any means, but I have a fan base now, and it’s growing daily. For self-publishing purposes, social media is an absolute necessity to develop a following, but that’s a whole other discussion.
There are several negatives when deciding on self-publishing, although I feel the benefits far outweigh them. Knowing them, and accepting them is necessary to keep your eye on your goal. Costs accrued for book covers, editing, and swag can put a serious dent in a non-existent budget. Piracy, eBook returns, negative reviews, are also daunting challenges every author faces. Learning how to
properly handle them can be tiresome and difficult, and for me it is a neverending challenge. For the record, I struggle with these realities daily. Regardless, I still feel it is worth the leap of faith to put your work, your words, your heart and soul out into publishing cyber-space. Because, when you get that email, message or text that someone read your book and wish your main character were real, or they desperately want to know more about a secondary character through his own book, or they will read any future books you publish because they fell in love with your writing style? Well then, as a writer your goal has been
met. Anything else that comes is all frosting.
Author of The Back-Up Series
(Back-Up, Front & Center, and Encore)