The Top 3 Reasons Why Being Self-Published Is Hard, And Why You Should Do It Anyway
Being a self-published (or Indie) author definitely has its advantages, but it’s also difficult. Here are my top 3 challenges and why you should totally overcome them if you want to self-publish!
Everything rests on your shoulders. When you first begin the self-publishing process, there’s a steep learning curve! Which platform are you going to use to sell your books? What format do they have to be in? How do I design a cover? What should I set the price at? These are all questions that have to be answered before your book is online for sale, and in the beginning, it’s overwhelming! It’s all on you; you’re the one ultimately responsible for your success or failure.
How do you overcome this learning curve? Start with Google searches—that’s what I did! I literally Googled “how to self-publish,” and read through countless blogs and forums. Join Facebook author groups, attend Indie author online seminars (usually available every few months)… do as much research as you can before putting your book online for sale. This will eliminate a lot of heartache down the road.
You have to create your own support system. Like I said above, you’re all you have in the beginning. For some people, it’s a challenge to accept that you’re not an expert at everything. You MUST find professionals to help you with some aspects of publishing. Whether it be the cover art, interior formatting, editing, website design, marketing… you have to establish a network of people to help you in this, and that takes time. It also takes money. You have to pay for an editor, website domains, stock photo images… it can add up.
How do you establish this network? Begin by asking friends and relatives. That’s what I did: I started with a Facebook post looking for people to help me. You’ll be amazed at how many childhood friends became marketing managers, or are well-versed in WordPress and can create your website (usually for a smaller fee than you’d pay a contractor). All kinds of people have unknown talents—tap into them! Begin asking around… networking is key! This is exactly how I found my editor, narrator, marketing manager, and website designer.
Without a publishing house to guide you, an author can become their own worst enemy.
If you only want to publish a single book then be done, this isn’t such a big deal. But for authors like me who want to write a series (or 2 or 3…), this can become a serious problem. Some people find it difficult to be their own boss—they procrastinate, don’t manage their time well, and let things distract them from work because they don’t have a “deadline” that they must adhere to. The opposite is true: it’s easy for an author to become so obsessed with their work that it encroaches on their entire life. They “must” get the next novel finished, and run themselves ragged trying to accomplish their (sometimes unrealistic) goals.
There’s a balance that all authors must achieve. I think it comes with time and practice. You end up learning what works for you, what doesn’t, and how to balance being an author with the rest of your life. If you’re serious about being an author (whether you do it as your full-time job, or nights and weekends when you’re away from your day-job), you’ll learn how to make it work.
Self-publishing is difficult, and sometimes feels like an uphill battle, but it’s SO worth it! It’s an indescribable feeling when you finally release a book that you’ve poured your heart and soul into. And when people begin to comment and tell you how much they enjoyed it? Magical!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add a word of caution:
You need a main source of income to get into the self-publishing world. I don’t want to sugar-coat it! I’ve been writing for 5 years now, and every cent I make from sales goes into the production costs of my books: editing, narration, maintaining my website, buying software and stock images for covers… and sometimes the biggest expense: marketing (books don’t just sell on their own!).
It’s a hard reality. If I didn’t have my husband’s steady income to rely on, there’s no way I could still be an author.
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