Questions for authors who have self-published their books

I’m thinking of self-publishing in the near future. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it, but I’d like to be prepared regardless. So I want to ask authors who have self-published their books some questions, whether it’s online or in physical copies.

  • How do you your book is qualified for self-publishing?
  • Which sites/agencies did you go to? Or do you wait for them to contact you?
  • If your book is required to be exclusively available there, do you delete your story on Wattpad or other writing site you’re using? Or do you leave few samples chapters on free writing site and give a link to your full book?

Sorry if these sounds a little silly or ridiculous, as I’m quite new to this. Is there anything else I need to know? Thanks in advance!

Oooooh I’m interested in this too

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I’m not self-published, but I’ve been researching the topic for quite a while now as I’ve been wondering about the route as well. :wink:

You honestly don’t know if your story is worth publishing at all or if you’re at a specific level of “talent.” With traditional publishing, you are given that external validation that you are ready for publication. Self-publishing doesn’t have that validation at all. The only thing you can really do is choose a story that you absolutely love and would love to see on the shelves and make sure every critic, beta reader, and editor give it a thumbs up before you set yourself on a road of craziness.

If you’re self-publishing, you don’t deal with an agency. Though I’ve heard about indie publishing which is totally different from self-publishing. I don’t really know much about indie publishing because there’s a lot of mixed information on the internet about them, especially since they’re kind of new(?)

However, if you’re just thinking about posting it to Amazon and maybe getting it distributed elsewhere, most newbies go through CreateSpace since it’s free. Others will try to find other free self-publishing websites for more distribution like Lulu(.com). However, if you want to go a step up, you can go for Ingram Spark which is a self-publishing platform that helps you get your story in the hands of readers easier because it can distribute your story to not only Amazon, but also Target and Walmart and even bookstore websites. You can even allow libraries to carry it. It does cost money though, so that is something you have to look into.

When you self-publish, you’re your own publisher. That means you have full control over what you do with your story. If you want to leave up your story here, that’s on you. If you want to do a sample, that’s your choice. Many people I’ve noticed on here who have self-published did so where they either kept up a sample of a few chapters then proceeded to tell readers where to find the book for them to read the rest of it. Others would keep up the entire book but only the first or third draft and encouraged fans to purchase the book so they can read it without the mistakes along with adding or deleting specific scenes that improved the story.

There is a lot to know about the self-publishing industry. xD If you have extra questions, I can try my best to answer them. Otherwise, I recommend watching AuthorTubers who have self-published and talk about their journey. My two main suggestions would be Meg LaTorre—she used at a literary agency and gives a lot of advice on the traditional publishing industry, but she’s self-publishing her debut novel the Cyborg Tinkerer in the fall—and Jenna Moreci—she’s a full-time self-published writer of two books Eve: the Awakening and the Savior’s Champion with her third novel the Savior’s Sister coming out this fall as well. You can also ask other questions you may have in the Industry Insider club as there’s many people with the right answers to your questions. :wink:

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Thanks so much for your answer! There’s indeed a lot I dom’t know yet. Never heard of CreateSpace or Lulu until now XD so thanks for telling me.

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Hello :smile:

You may reach a better audience who will be able to answer your questions in the #industry-insider, so I’ve moved your thread there.

Thank you for understanding,

Kay - Community Ambassador :xkaydotx:

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  • How do you your book is qualified for self-publishing?

That actually is one advantage of traditionally publishing. An industry professional believes it is good enough to publish. Validation. When you self-pub, you never know. Of course if the novel takes off and has a lot of sales you know after the fact.

  • Which sites/agencies did you go to? Or do you wait for them to contact you?

What do you mean “go to?” I publish my novels on Amazon’s KDP. Is that what you mean? I wouldn’t trust anyone who came to me with an offer to help me self-pub.

  • If your book is required to be exclusively available there, do you delete your story on Wattpad or other writing site you’re using? Or do you leave few samples chapters on free writing site and give a link to your full book?

Once my novel has been for sale for a period of time I enroll it in KDP’s Select program which requires exclusivity. I never had those novels availalble anywhere before publishing so I didn’t have to take them down. I did try putting up sample chapters here for one of the novels. It didn’t generate sales.

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  • How do you your book is qualified for self-publishing?

You don’t - which is why self publishing has a bad rep. Way too many writers rush to publish a first draft and think its like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine and they will be showered in money. It doesn’t work like that. When you self publish is it even more important to have independent eyes on a manuscript because you cannot see your own errors.

You need critique partners, beta readers, and a good editor. You need to learn to take constructive criticism and remove your ego from a book so you can see ways to improve it. You need to continuously work on your craft and storytelling,

  • Which sites/agencies did you go to? Or do you wait for them to contact you?

You don’t. The whole idea of self publishing is you do it your SELF. I find, hire and pay cover artists, editors, proof readers and the other professionals I need to run my business.

  • If your book is required to be exclusively available there, do you delete your story on Wattpad or other writing site you’re using? Or do you leave few samples chapters on free writing site and give a link to your full book?

I assume you mean using Amazon’s KU/Select? In which case as part of that contract, you agree to exclusivity with Amazon. That means you can only have a maximum of 10% available anywhere else or you are in breach of your contract. And Amazon doesn’t mess around. You can get cute and try to fudge their rules and they will simply ban you from ever publishing through them.

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Yes, that’s what I meant :sweat_smile: Thanks for your answer! Ir’s very useful to me.

Yes, I’ve heard that Amazon requires that your book be exclusive there, so I want to ask about it. I assume other sites have similar rules too.

Thanks for your answer!

KDP Select (the name of the programme from the author’s point of view) is optional. You can publish your book through KDP without enrolling it in KDP Select. If the book isn’t in Select, you’re free to publish it on other sites as well.

Also, KDP Select applies only to ebooks. If your book is in KDP Select, you can still sell it in other formats, such as print and audio, elsewhere.

And KDP Select is only for 90 days at a time. (Though it renews automatically unless you cancel it.) If you’re not happy with the results, you can take the book out of it and “go wide” (i.e., sell it on sites besides Amazon).

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Oh okay, thanks for telling me!

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No. They don’t - only Amazon requires exclusivity to be part of their subscription service. I have titles in both Scribd and Kobo Plus (same as KU) and neither requires exclusive rights.

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I’ve used KDP, Lulu, Smashwords and Draft2Digital. So far I’ve preferred Draft2Digital, but all of them I’ve used have their good and bad points. I think when it comes down to it, KDP seems to be the most successful.

I’ve also earned royalties as an author through ALCS, (Author’s Liscencing Collecting Society) they pay out twice a year. I joined for £30 but I got all my money back through the twice a year payouts.

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Thanks for the recommendation!

As someone who has self published in the past and had work stolen from by doing it, I have some helpful tips for you. I also worked in book sales for almost 5 years, and currently I help organize the largest book festival in my state.

The biggest thing to know about self-publishing is deciding if that is what you want. There are pros and cons to both publishing yourself and going the traditional route.

Pros to self-publishing: you are your own boss, you have final say in all decisions, you market your book to your liking and format the story to your desired goals, quick super quick, on average higher royalties, anyone can do it and all books qualify regardless of length, content, or experience.

Cons to self-publishing: all responsibilities fall on you (editing, crafting a cover without using copyrighted images, promoting your book in a very competitive market, and contacting book sellers should you wish to find a chance in brick and mortar stores). Some of these things may cost money and contracts such as with Amazon could potentially hurt you from expanding to big name booksellers not affiliated with amazon (barnes and noble, waterstones, etc).

Things to note about self-publishing: there are many scammers in the self-pub market. Never, never pay a company or website to publish your book (the exception is Amazon but like I said earlier that comes with problems later on). There are many free and friendly places to self-publish such as Createspace or Lulu to name a couple. Read the fine print for all contracts and know that even though you are going into business for yourself you will still have to pay a percentage of all sales to the company you choose.

Pros to traditional publishing: your agent and publisher does most of the work for you such as editing, creating beautiful covers, marketing, formating, etc; never costs you a penny (it is in the sell of your book where the agent and publisher makes their profit); a high level of notoriety and professionalism, vert easy to get into brick and mortar stores.

Cons to traditional publishing: very difficult process that may take years to achieve and requires hunting for agents and learning the painful truth of rejection; lower royalties; sometimes you lose a little control on how your book is to be presented

Things to note about traditional publishing: mastering the query letter and marketing yourself is one of the hardest and crucial things to gain the eyes of a literary agent. Most traditional publishers will not accept unsolicited stories so finding an agent who believes in you is important. Understanding the community in and out greatly up your chances, but be warned the book world talks so everything you say and do can have an effect on the traditional publishing process. Knowing what sells currently and how to pitch work at writing conferences can help greatly.

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I’m very sorry that it happened to you. Unfortunately, this is what writers have to face and it can’t be completely stopped.

Yes, I do know this. This is actually common on websites that help you sell online. You don’t have a monthly subcription or so, but you have to give them a small percentage of your sale. No one’s going to give it to you completely free after all.

This is what I’m afraid of about traditional publishing, besides from the fact that it’s difficult to find agencies. I’ve seen many stories where a few details in a book were altered (for example, the word choice or even a full paragraph) and I’m scared that they’ll take away thay one important detail I really value.

Your advice is very useful. Thank you so much!