7 Myths About Self-Published Books

#1 They’re Only Self-publishing Because No Publisher Accepted Their Story. Many indie authors skip the agent querying step, preferring to publish on their own time and terms. You have some indie authors who queried agents to no avail and they had no other choice but to self-publish. That does not mean that their future books won’t be accepted by publishers. Some agents could personally love a story, but they won’t take a chance on something that isn’t “marketable” at the time. Being rejected often isn’t because the story lacked quality. Some authors do a bit of querying to see what happens and if no agent or publisher bites, they self-publish when they are ready.

A lot of people view their writing as art, so the idea of having other people controlling how their work gets published turns them off. Never assume someone self-published because they “had” to. Many people choose to. Which brings us to another wrong assumption many people make about indies.

#2 Self-published Books Have Bad Story Telling & Too Many Errors. This is another common myth. I’m not saying there aren’t poorly edited indie books out there, because it does happen. That said, there is a greater number of quality indie books out there are with amazing stories. I’d go so far as saying I prefer reading indie books over traditionally published books. My favourite books of all time are written by indie authors – you’re getting the authentic voice of the writer in the original version they wrote the story in. I can’t think of a better book to read than that! Modern storytelling in the main stream world has become more about fitting a mold and following rules that are created by trends.

In regards to errors, traditionally published books also contain typos in the final product – and publishers are constantly editing and re-submitting books as these errors are brought to light by readers. Indie authors, on the other hand, need to fix the error themselves often through noticing it themselves in the final product or after a reader alerted them of the error.

My thought is this: If you’re sitting there counting every typo or error in a book, you’re either not engaged in the story or you have a bias against the author so you’re seeing everything through a critical eye. That’s no fun. I’d rather read a book with 25 errors in it that I highly enjoy than a perfectly edited story that doesn’t excite me.

#3 If An Indie Author Has Published 10+ Books, They’re Rich. I don’t blame people for making this assumption, but it isn’t correct. Having many published books on Amazon, even if some are best sellers, doesn’t mean the author is making a high income. All the marketing and promotion work is on the indie author – and they work darn hard for often very little financial gain. One person recently told me that I was in the rich & famous crowd (It might have been a bit tongue in cheek, to be fair), but it freaked me out a little to think that some people might believe I’m in the rich author category. That is certainly not the case. I’m representative of the working class person. I do try to have a competent, artsy, professional vibe on my social media platforms, but I don’t make much money off my books at this point.

Never assume that someone who *looks* successful is successful. Instagram and Twitter is only a small snapshot of someone’s real life. Many indie authors work full-time jobs alongside their writing. Of course, the more books you write, the greater your chances to attract repeat readers and get discovered.

#4 Self-publishing Hurts Your Chances At Getting Represented By A Publisher One Day. Your goal may be to never get published by a big company and that’s totally fine, though some authors do have that dream. Every new book you write is a clean slate, so to speak, and if you already have a platform with interested readers from your self-published books, it can actually put you in a great light as many literary agents and publishers want someone who already has a decent following. So, never think that because you self-published your books that an agent or publisher won’t take on your future books.

#5 Self-publishing Is Taking The Easy Way Out. I find this one is more of a troll-ish type of comment, but it’s worth debunking. My goal is to ensure every indie author is proud of what they’ve written and published. Self-publishing is not easy. Sure, it’s faster, probably smoother, than traditional publishing, but the work it takes to edit, format, design a cover (or find a good cover designer), market, promote, etc. is no joke. Not to mention – you just wrote a whole story! That is no small feat in itself, so no matter which publishing path you’ve taken, writing is never easy, and you’re a bad ass for self-publishing. All that work is on you as an indie author – if someone hates your work or wants to troll you, there isn’t a team there to help you absorb the blow. It’s all on you. Indie authors are a tough brand of writer and they are brave for taking this path.

#6 Paid Self-Publishing Services Make It Easier. Avoid! I’m sorry to say, but if a small press or indie publisher requires you to pay up front, they are a vanity publisher in disguise. Please do not blow all your hard-earned money on a service that you can do on your own – or with a little help. You can find affordable editors and cover designers to work with you if you need it. It definitely does not need to cost you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to publish your book. With a little extra effort, you can publish your own book regardless of your budget. I’d like to add that many indies publish their story 100% free. Keep that in mind.

#7 Low Book Sales Mean A Book Is Bad. This is totally wrong. Indie authors don’t have a marketing and distribution team to promote them. You could have the best story in the world, but if no one knows it exists, there’s no way they can read it. All of the marketing and promotion is on the indie author – and they’re competing against a market flooded with other indie books *and* well-marketed mainstream books. If you’re not getting a lot of sales, it could simply mean it’s because you’re not investing enough in marketing or perhaps your book’s description isn’t interesting enough, or the cover makes people bounce rather than peek inside

One of the great things about most indies is that they’re totally happy to have a small, but loyal readership – they don’t sweat the sales so much. So, never associate your worth or your book’s worth by its popularity. The readers will come eventually if you’re patient. If you invest some time in promoting, it can help your book reach more people.

Keep in mind: Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s good quality.

I hope you enjoyed this blogging episode! Thanks for reading. 🙂

16 comments

  1. Very true points you’ve highlighted here, especially choosing to opt out of a publisher / literary agent if you feel they’re not the right fit for your personal goals. Worth revisiting these reminders in future whenever my self-confidence flags – great advice! ❤

  2. Spot on Sara. What an entertaining blog post and I really did comprehend these myths. Self publishing is the best and free way to start writing a book because when it comes to selling the book, that will require a lot of investments not only in getting customers s but marketing and promoting the book across multiple platforms as you said publishers are most likely to publish an indie author’s book📕 when that author has a decent following.

    Interesting myths and a myth can either be right or wrong so yeah…🙌🙌

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