Guest Post: When is Self-Publishing Right for you? by Angelita Williams

More books are now self-published than are published the old-fashioned way. However, most of these fall into the “long tail” category, and the marketing muscle of the traditional houses is still the best guarantee of a top seller. Traditional publishing still may be a realistic or desirable option for your books, or it may not. Some types of titles are naturally better for self-publishing. Others fit well enough into well-established market niches that a company might be glad to take them on. Whatever the case, let’s take a look at a handful of the genres and situations that are most conducive to the self-publishing approach:

1. Niche nonfiction

Is your book strictly for snail collectors? War of 1812 buffs? Gay albinos? Then self-publishing is almost certainly the way to go. Reaching micro-targeted constituencies will require a different type of marketing, largely internet-based, one that the gigantic dinosaurs of the industry haven’t figure out how to do particularly well anyway. But if you can reach the other 2,000 people who are interested in your topic, you’re golden.

2. Romance

Romance readers are the most voracious readers alive, in terms of volume. I’ve known some who read two books a day. They’re willing to try new writers, new publishers, or no publisher at all, as long as you deliver on the conventions of the genre. Obviously, this sector has taken a big leap lately, exemplifying the future of publishing with 50 Shades. While the crossover appeal that all the publishers are cashing in on may fade, this audience will always be there.

3. Regional titles

Let’s face it: Big Publishing has an insular New York attitude. If your book’s primary appeal is going to be to people in your own area anyway, there’s not really much reason to focus on landing that national publishing deal. This will be on you — to get the community’s attention and spread awareness of what you have to offer — but as with the niche hobby subjects, that crowd is there for you, if you can reach it (but in this case, more in-person and through local media).

4. Poetry

Many great poets have self-published over the centuries. Poetry often appeals to a niche crowd of literati who have no use for mass opinion or marketing, but know the good stuff when they read it, and its reputation spreads by word of mouth. Because there’s little commercial potential to begin with, there isn’t as much stigma attached to self-publishing among poets the way there is in literary fiction.

Those are just a few of the most promising scenarios for self-publishing, but there are many more, from paranormal thrillers to technical textbooks. Ultimately, it comes down to making a strategic choice regarding what’s best for your work and how you want it to be distributed. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous rejection letters, or to take arms against a sea of traditional publishers and by opposing, end them…that, as the man said, is the question.

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Angelita Williams is a freelance writer and education enthusiast who frequently contributes to onlinecollegecourses.com. She strives to instruct her readers and enrich their lives and welcomes you to contact her at angelita.williams7@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Excellent post, Angelita.

    For me, the reason for self publishing is overwhelmingly the creative freedom and control.

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