This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com
Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part I of our series addresses why this is a great time to self-publish and the importance of professional editing.
“There’s never been a better time to self-publish than right now.”
It’s a statement I often repeat when speaking at writing conferences. The good news is that this message is being received loud and clear by thousands of aspiring writers around the world, just like you. They’ve completed the journey of taking their manuscript directly to the marketplace. From romance novels to religious books, from children’s titles to nonfiction, every author can succeed with a self-published book.
Why self-publish? There are lots of compelling reasons, but you only need four:
1. You can and will make more money. A lot more. Self-published eBooks can earn between 60% and 70% in royalties. Your printed books can earn you up to 50% in royalties when you sell direct-to-reader through BookBaby. Now, compare this with the 12% to 20% royalties earned by traditionally-published writers. You may ask, “Are self-published authors actually making money?” Yes. In fact according to recent reports from authorearnings.com, as a group, they are making MORE than traditionally-published writers.
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2. Self-publishing is fast. It takes weeks, not months or years. Your edited manuscript will be available on major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the rest within a few weeks. Meanwhile, it can take 18 to 24 months for your finished manuscript to reach the marketplace at the end of the traditional publishing process. And that doesn’t even count the time-consuming task of finding both the agent and publisher who are willing to take you on as a new author. That alone could take months or even years!
3. You retain control of your book. No contracts or signing away your publishing rights. Self-published authors are the CEOs, making the call on every aspect of their books, from edits to cover design, book reviews to promo. And finally, one reason that may be obvious and yet still very important:
4. You’re guaranteed to be published. Self-publishing is a sure thing. You WILL be published if you go this route. For many that’s a dream in and of itself. For others it’s a start to a literary career. In today’s low-risk traditional publishing environment, it’s the longest of long shots for an unpublished, unknown new author to get that dream publishing deal.
And if you are holding out in hopes of finding an agent and a traditional publishing deal, let me give you one more reason why you should self-publish.
5. The very best way to be discovered by a traditional publisher is to succeed at self-publishing. Authors can make their best first impression on agents and publishers with quality books, a strong work ethic, and practiced promotional skills. I’ve seen hundreds of examples of self-published authors from either BookBaby or elsewhere being signed by huge international publishing houses.
Professional editing is a must for your book
Once you finish your manuscript, you’re not really finished. Here are five reasons why a professional editor will improve your book.
1. Editing can turn a good book into a great book. Like housework, editing goes unnoticed unless it’s not done. Professional editing is an indispensable part of a novel’s journey to publication. Editing can transform your writing, get readers talking, reach the ears of professional publishers, and catch the eye of movie producers. An editor will make sure that the reader remembers the dazzling plot and characterization – not the problems with grammar.
2. Editors give honest, objective feedback. Lots of authors ask friends and beta readers to take a look at their novel. Most people are flattered by the request and are happy to help. While any feedback is welcome and can help improve the manuscript, friends tend to give a lot of positive encouragement. They can gloss over some of the novel’s shortcomings to avoid causing offense. However, professional editors are experienced at giving criticism. They are systematic and thorough, covering not only familiar issues of grammar and punctuation, but also matters of style, pacing, dialogue, plot twists, and fact checking (to name but a few). Above all, the feedback they give is honest and objective. It takes teamwork to craft a polished and captivating novel that could become tomorrow’s bestseller. In short, authors need professional editors.
3. Editors work together with authors. It’s the editor’s job to be honest with the author when suggesting improvements (such as rewriting, restructuring, or cutting sections) while respecting the author’s message, meaning, tone, and style. Both the author and the editor have a shared interest in producing a work that gets – and keeps – the reader’s attention. What’s more, if an author so wishes, an editor with experience and knowledge of the book-selling market can also suggest ways to take the novel in a direction that might better attract the eye of a publisher or an agent.
4. An editor is a sounding board. Authors often pour their deepest feelings, and even their secrets, into their novels. For that reason, they are often cautious about who reads their early drafts. In such cases, authors can benefit from the impartial opinion of an editor. An editor takes a bird’s eye view of a novel, identifies the elements that work and those that don’t, and suggests the necessary changes. While editors often get to know authors well throughout the editing process, especially in the case of full, substantive editing, they are not concerned with your private life. They won’t be flattered or annoyed if they appear or not in the final version (although a credit is always nice).
5. Editing is a professional skill. It can be tempting to ask a friend to edit your book. Someone who is not an editor but who is good with language and is prepared to do the job for little or no cost.
The issue here is that you often get what you pay for. Editing is a profession like any other. It is their job to help the author produce a work that will keep the reader engaged and cause that magical, lasting effect the author has set out to achieve.
This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.
Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.
Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.
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