How can I go about getting my work published while also having an impact on my readers and getting the best bang for my buck? That’s a difficult question no matter how you think about it. Throughout time, it has been difficult to gain traction within the literary world, especially in a day and age where technology has taken quite a few of the spots on the metaphorical shelf that books once held. In a new era of gradually diversifying forms of expression in the world of publishing, an interesting and developing addition to individualism and self-reliance is the introduction of self-publishing that follows the avoidance of large publishing houses such as HarperCollins and Penguin Random House LLC. After all, who really wants their manuscript chilling in someone’s inbox for who knows how long just to be given an “ok” or a “nope” based upon the minute-long skim of a proofreader with a TBR pile a mile high? Of course, as in most cases, there are pros and cons to either side.
If you want to be sure that your work is going to get out there being circulated in a timely fashion, it may seem that self or ‘indie’ publishing is the way to go. By deciding to indie publish your book, you own all of the rights and the royalties that would otherwise belong directly to the publishing house, and you would have little say over the whole thing. The downside to this, however, is the fact that owning all of the rights means that you have all of the control. This can be a good thing, but with all of the responsibility, there must exist somewhere along the line a source of money for the material aspects of publishing and distributing a book, which can be its own Everest unless you have a background in advertising or marketing. If you happen to have a disposable income or some other source of money that can keep you afloat while trying to get your book to take off, then you’re in luck. If you don’t, because I’m sure a lot of us aren’t in that boat at this point in our lives, there are always ways that you can try to get crowdfunding/a Kickstarter drive or other sources of revenue if you get really into the networking scene. In other words, if there’s a story that you have to tell, then it will always be worth working hard to share it with the world.
A lot of the time, though fame and notoriety can blossom quickly under the help of an agent and the traditional publishing route, it can take away from the creative aspect of forging your own work exactly the way that you envisioned it in the fire of your mind. There is something to be said about being able to tell the story of your journey of making your idea transform from your imagination to a real life, tangible object that you can hold in your hands. If you’re looking to make an impact and you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears that comes with formulating, writing, creating, marketing, and circulating your art, then researching the world of self-publishing may be the way to go.
If you want more information/a personal story of two women who have chosen to indie publish multiple books, check out our interview with writer Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrator Courtenay Fletcher!
PRR Writer, Machaela Raney