3 Reasons Why Aspiring Writers Shouldn’t Self-Publish

Publishing through proper channels might save you a lot of grief now and many troubles in the future.
December 27, 2017
6 mins read

In the world of writers, there is an established difference between an aspiring writer and a seasoned writer. An aspiring writer is someone who is still working at perfecting their craft, and a seasoned one has studied and practiced their craft to the point of new perfection. In the world of publishing, be it self-publish or the traditional way through an agency, the distinction between being aspiring and seasoned is very important.

Seasoned writers, who have the dedication it takes to make a piece the best it can be, have a higher likelihood of surviving the world of self-publishing. Aspiring writers do not. If you are an aspiring writer looking into self-publishing, here are some reasons you may not want to.

1. Your work might not be ready yet

Each time you feel tempted to click the “publish” button on a work you completed, ask yourself: is your work really ready to be read by the world? Are you ready for the critique you are going to receive from reviewers? If the answer to these questions is ‘no’ then you and your work probably aren’t ready to step out into the word.

Unless you’re a perfectionist with your work, you may not have thoroughly gone over the piece. Let’s face it, completing the revision stage of writing is not an enjoyable task, and the fact that some New York Times Bestselling authors revise around fifty times is mind boggling. Yes, as you go through the process, you may change aspects of your story that are pivotal to making it stronger, but each time you change something the story grows and develops, and so will you. You’ll begin to understand why those authors spend so much time revising. While you suffer through the revision stages, remember that it is better to have revised your work than to have clicked that “publish” button.

You want your work to be of a high quality and outstanding from the majority of self-published work. You want your work to be the best it can be. Clicking that “publish” button as soon as the work is completed without proper revisions or the proper effort shows that you aren’t ready to take on the responsibility that comes with a published author, that your work isn’t ready to be put out there for everyone to see, and most importantly, that you aren’t serious enough to work with publishers.

2. There is a chance your work will never be picked up by a publisher

Self-publishing doesn’t have the best reputation in the world of books, and neither do the self-published authors. Some avid readers tend to not take self-published authors as seriously as they would a traditionally published author. Why? Because traditional published authors usually have the proper amount of marketing for their book(s), they have been established by an agent and a publishing company and they have a higher likelihood to make it onto any of the best-seller lists. Self-publishers don’t have those advantages and their fan base isn’t as wide.

It isn’t common for a publisher to pick up a self-published author, but when they do it tends to make news. If you have hopes that your self-published novel will eventually lead you to be picked up by a publisher, then you will need excellent marketing skills, an impressive amount of sales (but not too impressive) and a fan base that causes your novel to be one of the many talked about works in the book community. This means the quality of your novel is up there with the best-selling authors.

If your hopes are for all of your books to be picked up by a publisher, self-publishing will not be for you. When you self-publish a novel, the book already has an established copyright that is strictly associated with you and wherever you self-published through, which essentially means that another publishing companies can’t publish that book. If they want to publish that book along with all of your future work, they would have to go through a lengthy processes to get rights to your self-published novel, taking the novel off of all media platforms and then having you change or add aspects to your novel to make it better. This is something no publisher wants to waste time doing. Instead, if they believe you have the potential to produce x amount of novels in x amount of time, they will have you sign their contract. If your self-published novel does not make them believe you have that potential, they will not.

3. It’s expensive

From having to provide your own cover design, long hours of editing and possibly buying copyright to your book, self-publishing can be costly to your bank account. Sites like CreateSpace offer the chance to work with their team of cover designers and editors to help you create the perfect novel. The only problem is that using their services can cost hundreds of dollars. So if this is your first time self-publishing, designing a cover and having your book edited, and you believe you will need those services, be prepared to pay a lot of money. Buying copyrights isn’t cheap, either. If you’re not ready to spend a lot of money with the chance you might not make that amount back, self-publishing isn’t for you.

Whether it’s the choice of self-publishing or traditional publishing, it is important to do your extensive research, edit and revise your book to its fullest and prepare yourself for the rejection and criticism you will face.

Angela Herbst, Lakeland University

Writer Profile

Angela Herbst

Lakeland University
Psychology & Writing

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