What I have learnt all these years is that it doesn’t matter if you go for self-publishing or traditional publishing because both have their pros and cons. If you think you can be a bestseller overnight, no mode of publishing can make you that. Moreover, as you have mentioned about your followers on Instagram, honestly, to promote a book you need even more followers.
I will mention a few misconceptions, which every writer generally have before approaching any publishing company.
- Copyright: As a writer, you will always have the wish to retain the copyright of your work, but in case you are thinking about traditional publishing, you will lose the copyright of your work in most cases. However, if the publisher allows you to have the copyright, that will be great, but as of now, I’m sure no other publisher than Woven Words Publishers allows their writers to retain the copyright in case of traditional publishing. However, if you go for self-publishing, the copyright is yours.
- Editing: Books published by any traditional publisher are always edited professionally. The self-publishing companies are decidedly less bothered about editing, and they will print anything that comes into their hand. It is what that declines the quality of literature these days. As a publisher, I’m very much concerned about what we publish because the book represents my company. Most of the self-publishing companies hire freelancers who are mere college students and have no idea about editing. They make a mess out of the manuscript. Even traditional publishing houses like Shristi Publications don’t have an editor and hire inexperienced freelancers to edit their books which is not a good sign. They had a good brand name, but in recent years they are not bothered about the books they publish. So, for your information, you must be careful about the editing of your book also. Most debut writers think they can edit their books, but that is wrong. You should not have that thinking because it will be very embarrassing if your readers call you up and tell you there are mistakes after you have published your book.
- Distribution: If you think your book will be widely available in the bookstores throughout the country if a big traditional publisher publishes it, you are wrong. Many of my writer friends have complained that traditional publishing doesn’t guarantee the availability of the books in Brick and Mortar stores not unless the writer is a bestseller and already has a reader base. On the other hand, we already know that self-publishing companies make the book available online only mostly but what most writers don’t do that self-publishing houses also make the books available in Brick and Mortar stores, but it is just for books that are good.
- Book fairs: If you have it in mind that only traditionally published books can be found at the book fairs, you are wrong because since self-publishing is growing in India, many self-publishing companies have also started going to the book fairs, so there is no difference between the two modes of publishing.
- Cost: If you don’t want to spend anything you have an option to publish for free with Amazon Kindle. They will also give you a free, but the paperback would seem to be priced reasonably for the buyers in the US or UK but Indians, it would be too costly, and very few will buy the paperback version. For the eBook version, Kindle is the best option. There are also options like Google Play and Juggernaut in India, but as an author, you can only publish your book on juggernaut platform for free and sell it for free. If you want to add a price to it, you have to go with a publisher who is partners of Juggernaut, and because I am representing Woven Words Publishers, I am happy to share that we are partners with Juggernaut and our eBooks are available on their website and app. Moreover, Woven Words also have a free publishing option under their DIY Publishing plan.
- Promotion: If you are publishing for the first time, you should remember that no traditional publisher or a self-publishing company will invest in promoting your book unless you put in your money to spread the word. The traditional publishers only spend in those writers who have a brand, and they know that their spending will not go to waste. As a newcomer, you can’t expect a publisher to take the risk in investing in your book. In this regard, self-publishing companies are more evident on their terms. They inform the writers well before, or their packages talk about what they are going to provide. It is unethical to promise something that one cannot fulfil. As a publisher, we give tips to writers on how to promote effectively. To read about it, please visit 5 tips to promote your book effectively.
Time: Don’t be in the misconception that traditional publishers will reply you in a day or two but be ready to wait for 6–8 months or even up to 1–2 years and there is no assurance that you will receive a reply after the said period. Therefore, Self-publishing solves this issue. Self-publishing companies are rapid in replying, and you can get your book published in just 7–10 days and Woven Words Publishers have done that already!