Self-publishing is great…except when it’s not.
As an indie author myself, I advocate for self-publishing. It’s a great way to get yourself out there as a writer, to build an audience and actually make yourself write and publish a book.
But self-publishing does have its downsides. After the many self-published books I’ve written reviews on, one of the biggest issues I’ve seen among these authors is that they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. They think that they can write anything and publish it. And while I commend anyone who is dedicated and brave enough to send their book baby into the world, many self-published authors need to realise an important truth:
Self-publishing doesn’t give you an excuse not to learn.
Writing a book takes a lot of work. It takes certain knowledge like plotting, storytelling, formatting, etc. And before you can even consider the logistics of putting together an actual book, you need to learn how to write well.
Yet, many authors see self-publishing as a free pass. (And, unfortunately, this is also why self-publishing still gets a bad rap.) They think that because their book is self-published, they don’t have to put any practice into their writing or study storytelling; they can just put words on a page and send them out there.
Well, that’s one way to publish a book, but it’s certainly not the right way if you want your book to be memorable, or even tolerable. Though some may possess a certain talent for writing books, you can’t develop that talent without practice. A piano prodigy doesn’t just sit down at the piano one day and play an entire concerto. It may be easier for them to learn it because of their unique abilities, but to do so still takes hours and hours of practice.
My point is that self-publishing doesn’t give you an excuse to write badly or avoid learning how to actually craft a good story.
Self-publishing isn’t the start of a writing journey – it’s a goal to strive for.
It’s unbelievably tempting when you realise that you could write anything – anything – and just publish it instantly. But don’t let the beauty of self-publishing lure you into thinking that quality doesn’t matter. Don’t start telling yourself, “I’ll just learn later.”
Start learning how to write now. Sure, you can self-publish any old book, but most readers can tell in an instant whether or not effort has been put in. And if you are truly a writer, if you truly want to make a difference with the words you send out into the world, then you want those readers to stick with you to the end.
So over the next few weeks (or months, who knows?), I’ll be talking about how to get ready for writing a book. How to put together a book in the first place. How to know where to publish. How to know if your book will truly captivate readers. In many ways, I’m still learning about self-publishing myself, but I hope that through these posts, I can help you be more confident in self-publishing a book, or at least give you peace of mind if it’s something you’re considering in the future.
Stay tuned – it’s going to be a wild ride!
Thanks to support from my readers, I’ve almost reached my goal of joining the Florida Writer’s Association! Want to help? Check out my Ko-fi and subscribe to my monthly newsletter! And make sure to catch up on the latest chapter of my ongoing story The Chosen Two here.