Becoming a successful self-published author is a lot of work, and it helps if you are able to network. I met Ben Galley at a publishing event and found out he had got his beautifully designed books into Waterstones, the biggest book chain in the UK. Impressive work.
Ben continues to teach me a lot and I am delighted to have him on the blog to talk about how self-publishing has presented writers with new ways to find their own success, as well as introducing his new site Shelf Help.
Success is not a straight road. Often, it’s barely a road at all, more of a dirt track or a winding river to be forded. But hey, it’s a route after all, and as Self-Publishing authors, we’re all on it to some degree.
As a proactive author who does regular signings and lectures, I say this to a lot of people and it gets a whole range of reactions. Some nod and grin like I did when I first came to the conclusion. Others hum and shrug, temporarily unconvinced, while others laugh and shake their heads, almost in a pitying way. This has become the way of the book industry.
Self-Publishing, or Indie Publishing, or DIY publishing, call it what you will, is seen in a number of lights in this industry. Undeniably, we Indie authors have caused quite a ruckus for both the consumer and the publishing house. This has caused a huge division of opinion, and can often cause quite a lot of animosity. Nevertheless, thanks to the internet, we have turned the publishing model on its head.
Where are we?
This isn’t due to the expansion of publishing houses, no, this is down to the individuals using new technology and digital footholds to forge their own little empires. For the first time in the book industry, Self-Publishing, done right, is now a viable profession.
Gone are the days of simple Vanity presses. We are seeing Indie titles being snapped up for 6 and 7-figure deals. We are seeing Indie authors in best seller lists. We are seeing communities of DIY writers flourish and grow. Some of us have already walked down the road of success and made it. I don’t know about you, but this excites me.
It hasn’t been an easy transition
Due to the new ease of Self-Publishing, namely ePublishing, we have seen a huge influx of poor quality and cheap eBooks hit the market, effectively flooding some retailers. This in turn has given some of us a bad name and angered some consumers. Amazon, having an open-door policy to its KDP platform, has been accused of becoming the new slush pile. It’s not all sunshine and green grass out there.
But there is one over-arching fact that makes me grin like nothing else. If this digital and Indie revolution has done one thing and one thing only for us, it is this:
It has given us options.
Options, you ask? What options?!
Well, before Self-Publishing there were only two routes. One was the traditional route, one involving literary agents and the mystic book deal.
The other was vanity publishing, aptly named and very limited. Like the traditional route, it was achieved by a precious few.
Then came along the internet, like a bull through a gate, and suddenly we have eReaders, eBooks, Print On Demand, Social Media, and suddenly more and more options appeared on the horizon. Authors now had choice, and above all, the ability to make a viable living outside of these traditional routes.
Same goal, different route.
This is what Self-Publishing has given us: another road to the very same goal.
For the first time in history, authors can choose to publish themselves via a host of different companies and avenues. We now have access to crowd-sourcing and ePublishing. We can reach a global audience from nothing more than a laptop, thanks to the internet and eReaders.
We have the chance to rub shoulders with the finest of them on the bestseller lists. We can control our own revenue at incredible royalty rates.
We have become editors, graphic designers, marketing gurus, social media wizards, web designers, and more. We can stand out to publishers and bypass the usual channels, building fan-bases of our own and proving ourselves in the process.
We have options! It’s an untested but exciting time, and packed with opportunity.
So it may not be a straight road for some of us, but it’s a road nonetheless, and one that we didn’t have a decade ago. We just have to know what steps to take, and do that we can to follow in those of the ones who have already made it to the finish. Perhaps some of us will carve an entirely new road. This industry is still changing, after all.
Success may not be a straight road, but we have more of a shot at it than we’ve ever had.
At 24, Ben is one of the youngest Self-Published authors in the UK. He is the author of the fast-paced fantasy Emaneska Series, a trilogy he likens to the mysterious love-child of Lord of The Rings and Sin City.
Ben is incredibly zealous about inspiring other authors and writers, and regularly gives lectures and workshops on the subject of Self-Publishing. He wants to help others turn their passion into their profession, and to follow their wildest dreams. Ben can be found being loquacious and attempting to be witty on Twitter @BenGalley.
SHELF-HELP is Ben’s new site designed to help prospective authors write, publish, and sell their books. He shares his own lessons learned and encourages others to do the same.