There are issues that come with any form of innovation. Self-publishing is no exception to this rule. While it has afforded millions of would-be authors an opportunity to have the world examine their work, and has employed an easy, and inexpensive way to publish print material, there are also many cautions that an aspiring self-publisher should consider.
Not all publishers are created equal. Even and especially when just considering self-publishing agencies. Snopes.com is a beneficial resource for evaluating which method one wishes to bring their piece to the masses. It is important to weigh each option carefully and to have a specific plan of action for each novel, or article of print media. Services like Amazon’s CreateSpace, allow the author to retain all of the rights to their work, something unheard of in the traditional model. This can be a great testing ground for a work, and success in this format can mean exposure and perhaps recognition from an independent or mainstream publisher. But to avoid a “vanity press” situation, be sure to research the company before choosing a publisher.
The freedom of the self-publishing model, has, as with all forms of free speech caused controversy regarding inappropriate content. Many “subsidy press or author services companies” have had to screen and remove easily searched materials that boasted illicit content. Some, like Kobo, have had to shut down services completely during the process. If a proper filtering system cannot be put in place, this medium will most likely, like all other forms of media fall prey to the scrutiny of a regulatory agency. Be careful when publishing content, to appropriately categorize and specify the nature of the material, so as to be a part of each individual’s responsibility to protect this form of content distribution.
There is a great deal of advice out there for the myriad of authors seeking to employ the self-publishing model. Whether the author purchases their own ISBN and retains the responsibility of being their own publisher, as well as whether retaining the rights to a novel or other work is important, is unique to each author and each work. Perhaps starting with an e-book, and then creating a print edition based on its success is the best method. The advice that seems to be consistent is, first and foremost, the content itself. Without solid content, all the marketing in the world is a waste. In fact, one of the best ways to market your materials can be to write another novel!
The author must plan and decide a course of action for each piece, and then put that plan into action. How will you publish your next work?