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Should I self-publish my book?

Dear authors, it is the dream of all of us – publishing a book and making the ideal readers read it ideally. Am I wrong? However, after all the hard work and those sleepless nights, all that many of the authors get today is rejection emails. Rejected by Penguin, by Collins, by Oxford and even by smalltime publishers who otherwise publish crap – what will an author do? Where will an author go? And then comes self-publishing – an area as large as Antarctica because it’s dubious – explored as well as unexplored. Should one self-publish? Should you go for self-publishing even after many publishers have rejected your manuscript? The answer is very much in the question. Manuscript.


Should I self-publish a book


Do you trust your manuscript?
If you believe that your manuscript has the potential, you should go ahead with your publishing venture. Be it traditional publishing after a long wait of years or quick self-publishing. All that matters is your faith in your writing. Many times, authors lose their hope after seeing their manuscript not making it to the desk of ‘well-known’ publishers. However, the truth is that 80% of manuscripts don’t even make it out of the trash box or trash folder in a mailbox! Can you trust these ‘traditional’ publishers who often choose money over talent? For traditional publishers, how well you write doesn’t matter at all! For them, all that matters is how famous or wealthy you are. So, rejection by a traditional publisher can never be a certificate to disregard your manuscript.
However, at times, your manuscript may have flaws. In such a situation, better be humble and realistic rather than being arrogant. Acceptance is the first step on the path of betterment. Working on the manuscript makes it better. Refining your work is very useful. You learn the art of a critic other than sharpening the tools of your writing. However, you can leave this job to professional editors as well. The important thing is, therefore, making the manuscript better.
Now, if the traditional publishers still deny you a chance even after making your manuscript better, you should go for self-publishing.

(Bitter truth: No publisher will give you a chance unless you are famous.)
(Paradox: How can one be famous before getting published?)

Now that you trust your manuscript, it’s the time to choose the best company to self-publish your book.

How do you choose the best self-publishing company?
Self-publishing companies are generally looking to make a profit out of your ambitions. As an aspiring author, you should be wise if you are going to self-publish your first book. In most of the cases, an author learns many things about this industry after self-publishing the first book. For the first-timers, however, it’s a tough journey. While you think you are looking for a publisher, in fact, the self-publishing companies are looking for you. In fact, if I put it bluntly, they are hunting you! How to save yourself? How to find the right doors to knock? How to find the best self-publishing companies in India? I have a few suggestions:

  1. Honesty: Is the company being honest with you? Most of the times, the companies tell you the self-publishing budget. However, they seldom tell you their charges for each of the services they provide. Ask for the price break-up for each of the services. You have the right to know. Moreover, also look for the ‘fancy services’ in the deal that might be unnecessary. You can ask them to explain those. Dealing with a polite but cunning person is difficult compared to dealing with a straightforward but honest one!

  2. Editing: Editing is the soul of a publishing project. However, if a publishing company promises you cheap self-publishing minus editing, that’ll not be a good deal. Unless you are content with your manuscript, it’s better to spend a little extra on editing rather than publishing a work without editing. Many self-publishing companies offer editing services. Inquire about it.

  3. Control over your budget: Is your self-publishing company allowing you to control your budget? As an author, you should have the freedom to decide how to spend your self-publishing budget. You should have the liberty to choose and remove the services on your list. Does your company offer that? Better find a company that does.

  4. Book Marketing: What does an ideal publishing deal mean? Publishing a book isn’t enough. A publisher should ensure that the book reaches to the target readers. How many self-publishing companies do that? They only charge for the book promotion services they never deliver. Before striking a deal, ensure that your publisher will promote your book. It’s difficult for a new author to do anything without promotions. It’s even better if your publisher allows you to decide the marketing budget!

These are my suggestions to all the aspiring authors. In today’s circumstances, self-publishing is a good option if you want to put your writing skills on the test. However, because it involves investment, you should be wise as well. Spending 100 thousand on a publisher that doesn’t bother to market your book is a pure disaster. The first-time authors, especially, should be patient. There are many greedy people out there. They will not show any mercy on your purse.

Can I give you an option?
After being in the publishing and marketing industry for more than four years, I have established my own self-publishing company – Ashvamegh Publication. At Ashvamegh, you will get all the options that authors love. You can visit the website to know more. With Ashvamegh, your self-publishing experience will be convenient. That’s my personal assurance!

Alok Mishra

First and foremost a poet, Alok Mishra is an author next. Apart from these credentials, he is founder & Editor-in-Chief of Ashvamegh, an international literary magazine and also the founder of BookBoys PR, a company which helps writers brand themselves and promote their books. On this blog, Alok mostly writes about literary topics which are helpful for literature students and their teachers. He also shares his poems; personal thoughts and book reviews.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you for the wonderful guide on self-publishing Alok. I will surely think about all these when publishing my debut book I am writing. I will also take a look at your own Ashvamegh publication. If you offer everything you said, I am in!

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