Say “Self-Published Author” to any literary snob and que the groans. In the book critique industry, a self-published book gets a poor reputation for being sub-par or even seen as “giving up” on your dream of being a published author. But in today’s ever evolving publishing world, that’s far from the truth.
So what is the truth? Believe it or not, but self-publishing your own manuscript can actually be a vital step toward landing a traditional contract with a literary agent and major publishing house. IngramSparks explains the process in Chapter 2 of their free online course How to Self-Publish:
“Traditional publishers and literary agents are going to take notice if you can prove you have a large following already, as they know there’s potential for those people to buy your book. This might be having a top YouTube channel (funny how most top YouTubers have books now), a TV show (especially for non-fiction, such as cooking), or even a popular blog. This is why it’s worth putting yourself out there and connecting with your audience before you even finish writing your book.”
This all makes sense once you think from the perspective of a business owner: If someone wanted you to stock your shelves with a new product that has little accessibility or even popularity, you’d be wary to order it, too. But if you see that the kid across the street has a line around the block for her thirst-quenching lemonade, then you’d be inclined to ask her to partner with you.
How can self-publishing grab the right attention, you might ask? IngramSparks continues to explain how with a few easy steps.
“Self-publishing and traditional publishing don’t have to be an either/or decision. For many authors, getting traditionally published is their dream, and like many things, the path to success in book publishing can be made of stepping stones.
As mentioned previously, the first big stepping stone to becoming traditionally published for many is finding a literary agent. This task can seem extremely daunting, but many have landed a literary agent or book deal by self-publishing first with the following tips:
- Hone Your Craft
First things first: you’ve got to be a good writer. Good writing is what grabs the attention of a literary agent. Write every day, write when you don’t want to, and write a lot. Even if you think what you’ve put on paper is bad, you’re actually refining your writing skills the more you exercise your writing abilities.
- Invite Yourself to the Party
When you’re just starting out, looking at publishing a book with a major publisher is like standing at the summit of Mount Everest. If you’re not in a position to make that quantum leap just yet (few are), then don’t worry about it! Platforms like IngramSpark allow writers to publish their own work, get it out into the world, and start making a name for themselves.
- Make Connections
At the end of the day, so much of your success in landing an agent is going to be who you know. Go to events, attend readings, and engage with people in the industry on social media.
- Use Self-Publishing as Your Launching Point
Your self-published book can help you build up your author platform and acquire sales to gain momentum behind your name. Once you’ve achieved this, it’s time to start thinking about your next project.”
So if you’re tired of emailing numerous literary agents and sick of seeing yet anotherrejection letter, you can have the best of both worlds by self-publishing that great story of yours. Or, another approach is that you could write a nonfiction (which typically does better self-published) and get enough popularity to bait a contract, then save your epic for the big fish. Either route will lead to creating a name for yourself as a successful author.
Luckily, here at Elite Online Publishing, we specialize in self-publishing manuscripts in a variety of genres, including fiction. Give us a call if you want any help promoting your book.