Updated: Oct 5
Writing the book was the easy part, but now it's time to go beyond the manuscript. Being a first time self publisher is like becoming a first time parent: you think you know what to expect, but you have no idea. It is a steep learning curve and a very scary journey. But when it is all said and done and you press click on publishing, it will be one of the most fulfilling things you'll ever do.
You have likely heard very little about self publishing or maybe you never considered it an option for you. It's true. Self publishing is frowned upon in the book industry. It is similar to the plight of lawyers who "set up a shingle." The thought is the same: Unless you have a big company and big bucks backing you, it is perceived that you are not that great or good, you couldn't make the cut (ouch!).
But I choose to look at self publishing like an indie musician, think Chance the Rapper. There are many articles about the myths and truths of self publishing vs. traditional publishing, about the pros and cons of the two. Really search Google, there's plenty content! And while I will not bore you with details or summaries of that data, I would just add that you do not have to wait! If you believe in yourself, you bet on yourself! Why wait for a big publisher to notice you?
If you find a publishing company, by all means, go for it. But just remember big publishing is not the end all. Do as Chance the Rapper and other indie artists did/do, put out the work and "they" will come. For us, "they" being big publishing and other related opportunities.
I never considered self publishing or knew about self publishing until my searches for publishing companies yielded the same results as a hamster on a wheel. I was going nowhere. And the small publishing company that my author-friend went through and told me about had closed submissions, and then the pandemic!
But then the door to self publishing burst open and with Google, I was able to find just about anything I needed to know about the subject. And while I agree not everyone should have this access nor publish a book, that doesn't mean that YOU'RE less than worthy.
Self publishing is scary, but join Facebook groups and find author-mentors who can join you for the ride or even be your driver. A very good Facebook group is Six Figure Self Publishing Secrets with Crystal Swain-Bates, and this Facebook group, Children's Books by African American Authors and Illustrators, has mentors. As mentioned above, I also have a friend who published through a small publishing company who served as my mentor throughout various phases of my journey.
Oh yeah, and self publishing is costly. But again Google searches and social media groups have tips for curbing costs such as Kickstarter. The bottom line is, if you have a good product that you are trying to get out to the world, do not let the rejections or silence from big publishing companies stop you because in the end, you are really stopping yourself.
As Kyla Sylvers (not an author, but an actor-writer-producer) said as a guest on my podcast (Spoiler Alert! with Tiff O and Riki 😉), she was tired of hearing "no" and "not being seen." So Kyla created her OWN production company! Yes, a whole production company!
So, do your research and pick the route or accept the route that is best for you!