Sistah Girls, if you’ve read any of my other pieces on this platform, then you know ya girl likes to inform, give her opinion, and help all of us come together in literary unity.
Now before I get into my points, allow me to first give you some things to keep at the front of your mind as you read on. I am an independent author, if you refer to my article from last month, I touched on the differences between an indie author and a traditional one. Every indie author’s self-publishing journey is different. So I’ll only be speaking from my own experience.
Now that we have that settled Sistah Girls, allow ya favorite Midwest Gypsy to spread some light as I present to you 10 beliefs that need to be debunked about self-publishing…
A Self-Published Author Is Not A Real Author
This myth is probably the one that burns me up the most! Attempting to minimize someone’s art (which is what books are), simply because they are not signed to a publishing house is beyond disrespectful.
The amount of research that goes into choosing how to get your work self-published as an indie author can take just as much time as actually writing the book itself. The time, research, and stress are all very much real. As is the author putting in the work to get it done.
Self-Publishing Authors Don’t Publish Good Books
Allow me to take a line from our good sis Kandi and say “THE LIES! THE LIES!” The majority of the books that I read are by Black indie authors. And those joints go awf!
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this listicle by BookLoverSistah, where they offer up five indie authors to check out. Just in case you need more references, allow me to offer the works of indie authors such as Wynta Tyme, Vanessa Moore, K. Lashaun, Tajma Brown, Sheopatra Smith, Talena Tillman, or even Takeah Latimore 😉.
Self-Publishing Costs Nothing
Once again, loud and wrong!
While there are a number of self-publishing platforms that are free to use, there are other steps in self-publishing a book that can get costly.
When you factor in editing, cover art (for those who want it professionally done), Canva or Adobe editing software subscription (for those who have the know-how), mixed in with advertising through social media, paying for your author copies and/or your pre-orders for exclusive book releases–you’re spending a nice chunk of change.
Not to mention the time it takes to create all of these things.
WattPad Doesn’t Count As Self-Publishing
NEWSFLASH! Wattpad is how many indie authors get their feet wet in the literary game. It allows them to build an audience, sharpen their writing skills, and it allows them to make their work readable for others to enjoy.
*GASP* Takeah, did you just summarize the definition of publishing? Why yes Sistah Girls, I did.
There Is Only One Way To Self-Publish
Besides, let’s not act like we don’t remember the days of Tumblr stories being published–that’s what I thought.
Self-Published Authors Don’t Make Any Money
This is the part where I’m going to borrow one of my mother’s lines and say, “eat what’s on your plate before a bird gets it because you’re too busy looking over at someone else’s meal.”
For those of you who don’t speak Mama Latimore, that simply means worry about your own pockets. No meals are being missed over on the self-published side of the table…and that’s all I’m going to say on that.
Self-Published Authors Can’t Become Traditionally Published Authors
This too is inaccurate. I was actually watching an interview a couple of days ago where a currently indie author shared how she started independent before getting signed to a publishing house, then going back independent when her contract was finished.
Wanting to be signed to a publishing company once you’ve established yourself as an indie author is not a bad thing. Keep in mind that growth is the name of the game.
So please, no more hateration, holleration, in this readery.
It’s Hard To Build A Reading/Writing Community
In the age of social media, connecting with someone is as easy as tapping a button. With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, readers and indie authors around the globe are connecting, building book clubs, hosting book festivals and so much more.
For any indie author or bookworm that has reservations about how to find their book tribe, I encourage you to put yourself out there on socials. And you can always join our virtual book club, you never know who you may connect with.
Self-Publishing Books Are Always Full of Grammatical Errors
All I can say to this myth is that authors (whether indie or traditional) are human beings. Not all books written by indie authors are filled with errors. We hire editors, proofreaders, and copywriters just like traditionally published authors.
And if Steve Harvey can call out the wrong Miss America and it is a giggle, then an author can have a grammatical error without having the reading community chop their heads off.
Self-Publishing Is Easy
Y’all remember earlier when I said that myth one was my least favorite? Yeaaaa, I changed my mind, because my least favorite myth about self-publishing is that it is easy. Sistah Girls, self-publishing is tearfully difficult.
There are days when you have to be your own hype-person, re-read your 340-page novel for errors, create and promote the upcoming piece, and push it to book reviewers hoping that they’ll check it out. As a self-published author, there are even days when I question what I have gotten myself into.
If my pen-pushing is evolving, am I marketing myself enough, and is it too late to start promoting a new book? So many questions and only me to answer them.
If self-publishing were the walk in the park I’ve heard it proclaimed to be, then publishing houses would have no clients. However, since there is an assortment of publishing houses…you see my point? Okay good.
Sistah Girls, is self-publishing hard work? Without question. Yet it is the road that a plethora of authors have chosen to take and are succeeding at in this writer-verse.
While we pay homage to the literary powerhouses that we all know and loved growing up; including the authors who were signed to them, that does not mean that the pen pushers that choose to do the indie route should be looked down upon.
There are plenty of readers to sync with the different authors out here. This means that there is enough love, support, and literature for everyone to have something to read. And for everyone to have something to write.
And that’s word to Mary J. Bilge.
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