What Does Self-Publishing Mean?
A self-published author is an author who has decided to bypass the traditional publishing route (traditional -Random House- or independent publisher) and handle the publishing process themselves. This entails the author funding and coordinating the following aspects of the publishing process:
- Editing (grammatical, flow, copy)
- Indexing (if applicable)
- Book Design (including cover art)
- Printing and/or converting to digital format
- Marketing and advertising
- Foreign Rights and subsidiary Rights
With the advent of electronic media manuscript conversion and distribution have become so simplified that many new authors are treating the publishing process as a do-it-yourself project where the author does all of the work. Some even going so far as doing their own reviews. Now I’m not necessarily against authors handling the various aspects of book publishing themselves (except the reviews), if they are going to put out a professional product, but that doesn’t always occur. Instead what the reading public is exposed to, and expected by the author to purchase and enjoy, is a book that is badly formatted (the most common problem I come across), unproofed, or unedited. Otherwise an inferior product from which they would like to make enough money to support themselves, so they can spend their life doing what they love.
Part of the problem is that authors don’t realize what self-publishing entails. The other part is that’s an awful lot of hats to wear, and to wear them all well is probably more than one person is capable. Either way, it’s self-defeating. As the SPA (self-published author) will get bad reviews, bad publicity via word-of-mouth, and lose potential return customers. Not the best way to reach their goals. Now, I’m not saying that authors shouldn’t self-publish. What I’m saying is that if they choose to go that route, then they need to make sure they are going to follow the steps in the publishing process.