Why is self-publishing a good idea? Because it not only helps you learn about the industry firsthand. It can also get you signed by trade publishers more quickly.
Anyone who has sent a manuscript to a trade publisher for consideration can relate to the sting of rejection. Usually, that rejection happens multiple times over the course of several months or years. It can make you question your own worth as a writer and make you wonder if you have what it takes to succeed. An avid reader and aspiring author named Amanda Hocking was going through that exact thing back in 2009.
She was increasingly frustrated because her personal goal was to publish her first book by age 26 (the same age her idol Stephen King was first published), and time was running out. In a state of desperation to meet her goal and earn some extra cash, Amanda turned to self-publishing. A short two years later, she found herself being interviewed by The Guardian about her new millionaire status. She had also signed a $2.1 million publishing deal with two of the trade publishers who had previously rejected her. Why? Because they finally saw her potential through the eyes of her growing readership.
Sometimes It’s The Other Way Around
Mark Dawson, by contrast, was first trade published. But when he saw how few copies his publisher sold of his fictional novel, he switched to self-publishing. He learned how to run his own author business with impressive success. When word went around that Amazon had paid him $450,000 in royalties in one year, Forbes magazine published an in-depth interview with him. He openly shared his publishing strategies with Forbes readers that day, and he continues to inspire other authors through his website and books.
Granted, these are two grandiose examples of self-publishing success. Not everyone who self-publishes will earn a six- or seven-figure income as quickly as these two authors did, if ever. But more and more authors are getting there over time. That’s a fact. It’s possible for you if you follow the same process these authors are following. Do the work. Learn the industry. Build your own readership. In the end, you may decide to remain a self-publisher like Mark Dawson did. Or you may agree to sign with a trade publisher like Amanda Hocking did.
The best way to learn what’s possible is to jump in and get to work like these two (and many other independent authors) have done. Don’t waste anymore precious time waiting for a trade publisher to tell you whether you’re good enough or not. Self-publish your work and let your audience tell you. Their opinions are worth more than any other’s, after all.
Bonus video from Sarra Cannon: How I Sold Over Half A Million Books Self-Publishing
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