The number of books ­published globally has surpassed the one million mark. And apparently, a lot of authors today choose self-publishing for their books instead of going with a ­publishing company. From Britain’s EL James, whose Fifty Shades of Grey become the fastest-selling book in ­history to American author Hugh Howey’s Wool which began as a digital ­novelette in 2011 and grew into a novel after ­thousands of online reviews from readers, self publishing has led many to glory.
Reason – technology made it easier. The rapid rise of e-books and e-reading devices has made self-publishing an easier and affordable option for authors. So does this mean that the traditional role of publishing companies has officially been eclipsed by a new breed of self publishing services?
“The accelerating affect of the internet has definitely changed the face of ­publishing industry. Years ago, it was impossible for an author to make his/her presence felt without a strong publishing company. This is no longer true. Technology has given a platform for self-publishers to showcase their work,” says Sri Vishwanath, author of the Secret of Bhagavad Gita, which was self published on Amazon.
This new trend has opened up a lot of opportunities for aspiring and experienced authors, adds Rose Garg, author of A Moment’s Indulgence - A Collection of Short Stories. “Self ­publishing gives you an access to freelance designers, editors, social ­networks, search engines and various platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords etc. It is like a buffet with enough variety to satiate any hungry author,” she says.
Parvathi Ramkumar, author of the Grove of the Sun explains what makes self-publishig a good idea. “All the rights of the book remain with the author. Also, the process of uploading a book on an online store is much easier and quicker. Then you can make it available for sale. There are no middlemen involved and there are no genre ­restrictions, making it an attractive route for authors, be they experienced or new.”
Good returns are also an added advantage. “The money earned depends entirely on the book and the author’s ­marketing plans. The revenues received are as variable as ­traditionally published books. Using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, for example, an author can expect 35% to 70% royalty,” says Ramkumar.
While it’s easy to see ­benefits in publishing your own book – chances of your work getting rejected are nil, no one interferes with your work, you can keep the profits instead of being contented with measly royalty – self-publishing is no piece of cake. A lot more hard work is required to get ­recognition. “You have to prepare the entire book yourself, from cover design, editing, to marketing, launching the book and positioning it well. There’s also a misconception attached to self-publishing, especially in India, that you’ve chosen this route because you have been rejected by a traditional publisher – which is not true,” says Ramkumar.
“Also many authors give up easily. They don’t plan their next books and rely solely on one book. Aspirants need to understand that bringing more books in the marketplace will strengthen your position and you will earn more revenue,” says Vishwanath.
Get your books published here
Lulu: It is a community for creators which provide tools to publish your work for personal use or for sale; www.lulu.com
Blurb: It is a creative self-publishing platform that enables their users to create, self-publish, promote, share, and sell their own print and ebooks; www.blurb.com
CreateSpace: It provides free tools to help you self-publish and distribute your books, DVDs, CDs, video ­downloads and MP3s on-demand on Amazon.com; www.createspace.com
Xlibris: It is a self-publishing and ­on-demand printing services provider; www.xlibris.com
WeBook: An online community where you can share your works, get ­feedback from other writers and ­readers; www.webook.com