All terms

What is self-publishing?

The act of publishing one's own work without the involvement of a traditional publisher.

All by Myself: A Comprehensive Guide to Self-Publishing

Aspiring writers may be intimidated by the traditional publishing process, afflicted by long wait times for responses from agents and publishers alike. Self-publishing offers a viable alternative for authors who wish to take control of their careers and create compelling work that speaks to their personal vision. This approach can range from publishing e-books on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, to publishing print-on-demand works through services such as IngramSpark and Lulu.

While self-publishing presents its own set of challenges and considerations, the creative freedom that it offers is unparalleled. As a self-published author, you have the final say over your book's design, price, and promotional strategies. Additionally, self-publishing allows writers to retain complete creative control over their intellectual property, an essential consideration in the ever-changing landscape of publishing.

Some common issues that self-publishing authors face include marketing and publicity for their work, navigating distribution and pricing strategies, and maintaining professionalism and quality standards in all aspects of the writing, editing, and publishing process. However, with ample resources available online and in writing communities, self-publishing can be a rewarding and empowering undertaking for writers of all backgrounds and genres.

Self-Publishing in Action: Two Examples from Literature

While self-publishing has only risen to popularity in recent years, it has nonetheless made its presence felt in multiple areas of writing and publishing.

Fifty Shades of Grey

The first in a trilogy of novels, Fifty Shades of Grey is a sensation that needs little introduction. What may surprise some readers is that the book began life as fan fiction before being published by the author, E.L. James, via Australian self-publishing firm The Writers' Coffee Shop. Though initially panned by critics, the book's success soon led to a major publishing deal and the start of a media and merchandising empire.

The Martian

Andy Weir began writing his novel The Martian as a web serial, enjoying modest success with a loyal online following. When the book became a breakout hit on Kindle, Weir began to explore his options for self-publishing in print. Though he did initially receive interest from a major publisher, Weir ultimately decided to stick with his plans for self-publishing. This decision paid off in spades, and the book has since become a critically acclaimed bestseller, as well as a hit Hollywood film.