I planned to create a unique platform to encourage amateur authors to share and publish their works. However, sharing sites are already abundant and I do not possess the faculties or time to publish other writers’ works. Therefore, I decided to work with existing DIY platforms to create a solution for myself: a fully realized, self-published book. I hope to go into book publishing after graduation, and would love to apply any lessons I learn through self publishing a book to the realm of traditional publishing in the future. I believe lessons learned from DIY publishing can grant wider access to upcoming authors.
I will not create a unique platform for aspiring publishers but will instead extensively use resources to maneuver every aspect of book publishing for myself. The areas I need to tackle include: cover design, book format/layout, and of course, the actual writing. After I complete and redact a complete manuscript that I am satisfied with, I will use design software such as Photoshop to craft a front and back cover tailored to my personal aesthetic tastes. Sites like Createspace and Amazon offer opportunities for both physical and e-book publishing and distribution.
Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing
The most attractive aspect of DIY publishing is enjoying complete autonomy over design. Usually an author unwillingly surrenders this control to traditional publishers. Self publishing also expedites the actual process of making a book available to the public. Wait times through a conventional publishing approach could extend upwards of a year, whereas self publishing guarantees instant gratification. In a similar vein to maintaining artistic control, self publishing permits total control over content. Many people most likely have valuable ideas in them that they could manifest into a book. However, it is equally likely that publishers will not recognize the message an aspiring author looks to convey. Ultimately this leads to sacrificing choice. Self publishing rightfully bestows choice to one person: the author. It grants the compelling freedom of absolute authority over your writing.
Amazon is a high traffic website, frequented by millions of people on a daily basis. Any one of these millions of generous consumers could stumble across a self published book on the already established platform that they know and trust. This is an ideal situation for making my prospective book available to the public with little additional effort on my part. A self published book on Amazon allows for all walks of life to access and enjoy the efforts of an amateur author – further justifying my decision to publish through Createspace. Additionally, I could take to my own social media accounts to promote the book’s availability.
While I did not conduct a traditional survey, I did ask a number of people close to me regarding their reservations about reading a self published novel. Many believe that, because the book did not go through a traditional publisher and marketing circuits, its quality suffers. Some even view self published books as a waste of time. I seek to abolish this notion and restore credence to the field of DIY book publishing.
Limitations of traditional publishing
DIY book publishing is thriving due largely in part to the limitations set by traditional publishing solutions. Access seems to be the greatest infirmity plaguing traditional publishing that DIY publishing methods seek to remedy. Agents and editors turn away most proposals and manuscripts that they come by, severely stifling the exposure of upcoming authors. Inadequate marketing also deters writers from going through traditional publishing. Seldom are authors satisfied by the amount of promotion publishers give their books. If a book appears to be lacking in early sales, a publisher’s efforts will most likely be deferred. Finally, a limited share of profits bar many authors from receiving fair compensation for their work. Authors given deals by big publishers are lucky to receive 15% of revenue share from sales at best.