Self-Publishing – Own your writing business

Self-publishing is emerging as a lucrative as well as puzzling option for all wannabe authors. While it has created a space where all aspiring writers can cut through the maze of selecting and chasing a publishing house for final book publishing, it is still, a largely unexplored option within India. This gap is primarily due to lack of awareness of Indian authors about self-publishing and its potential market.

Team Youthopia gets in conversation with Rasana Atreya, who is an award winning, self-published author. Rasana has self-published 4 novels so far and is currently working on her 5th and 6th novel. Prior to this Rasana worked for around 10 years in a high paying, coveted job within Silicon Valley. When she decided to shift her base to India and begin with self-publishing her books, she was hailed crazy by her friends! As of today, Rasana states that ‘sometimes listening to your inner voice pays’. She claims that it’s possible to make a living out of book writing, however it should be ensured self-publishing is treated as a full-time profession and should be undertaken with utmost sincerity and diligence. Rasana has answered several questions, which cleared quite a bit of fog surrounding self-publishing.

A book comes under the category of “self-published” when a writer creates an account on Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords etc, publishes a book, and sells it. An author can self-publish for online reading mediums like Kindle, or for hard copy reading through mediums like Createspace – which work on model of minimizing the warehouse cost through on-request publishing. The biggest advantage of self-publishing is complete control of author on the book sales and revenues. While traditionally published author ends up getting around 17% of the royalties, a self-published author gets a strong 70% of the total royalties.

While self-publishing sounds a pretty simple two-step process, a lot of work goes behind the scenes. Rasana warns that self-publishing doesn’t simply requires creative skills of a writer but also a strong business acumen and professionalism. She states that writers should ensure that they take services of professional editors and book cover designers before launching their final product. In case new writers are facing a money-crunch situation, they should try tapping into their network and using their business relationships to get the manuscripts proof read by professionals. Variety of tools, like Fiberr, are available online for book-cover designing etc. Self-publishing a book requires diligent and meticulous editing, proof reading and a good cover.

Self-publishing is democratic towards genres and types. You can write suspense, thriller, and romance, etc in short or long form. However pricing any book is tricky. Rasana, a novel writer, prices her books somewhere in between $3 to $15, and her reader base usually comes from geographies of UK, and US. Since the self-publishing dashboard gives a total control to the writer on the price of the book, therefore one can change the price of the book to find what works best for him or her.

Assisted self-publishing is also a category of self-publishing, where a writer, when not very tech savvy, can use assistance from several agencies to publish the book. It should be kept in mind that such services also eat a lot into the royalties and profit margins.

While self-publishing opens many doors, it still faces the big challenge of marketing the book, and ensuring that the end product reaches the target audience. Rasana advises usage of social media and networking for marketing the product. Discoverability is still a major issue for self-published authors. When going through the traditional publishing medium, marketing of the product is responsibility of publication house. Traditional publishing ensures that the book reaches all relevant bookstores and is promoted to reach out to all possible readers. A self-published author lacks this facility, and therefore should try and utilize all available marketing mediums to promote the book.

Team Youthopia welcomes all self-published talented authors to showcase their work on Youthopia!

Note:- All self publishing mediums/agents/tools mentioned in the article are a suggestion purely by the interviewee. None of the mediums are promoted by Youthopia.