In recent years, self-publishing has begun emerging as an alternative way to get one’s creative works out into the world. Traditional publishing can be expensive and many other hands have made their edits to the manuscript before it reaches the public eye. The publishing industry is not always as wonderful and exciting as an author hopes it will be. As a writer and also an intern at a publishing group, self-publishing has been on my radar and I became motivated to explore what it was made of; what I encountered and, eventually, came to realize has steered me away from self-publishing for the foreseeable future.

When self-publishing, one will inevitably comes across numerous obstacles and questions that they were unaware even existed. Questions concerning distribution, printing options, proofing and editing possibilities, whether the book be written in MLA or APA format, and what BISAC codes to use are just the beginning. This list of decisions to be made is longer than many people know and, because these answers require a professional’s insight, the product of a self-publisher is almost always lacking in something. Those in the publishing industry have the necessary information, education, training, and connections to turn a manuscript into a bestseller. As someone who has had the opportunity to intern at a publishing group for the last few months, I have seen firsthand what it takes to go into the publication of a wonderful book. There are numerous details, all needing to be accounted for.

In November of 2015, Tahlia Newland wrote “The problem is that not every book written is worthy of publication and, in general, the author is the least qualified person to make the decision as to its worthiness”. (Newland) All writers desperately and blindly want to believe that their work is the best a reader has ever held and this is the exact reason that an objective opinion is so necessary. These “gatekeepers”, as Newland refers to publishers, exist “to protect readers from books that aren’t that great, and to protect authors form the career-killing repercussions of ill-advised publication.” (Newland)

While some authors have been successful when self-publishing, I would say it is certainly not for all. In order to provide the world with a beautiful book, one with high quality both inside the cover and out, taking in advice, criticisms, and opinions from those with an expertise in the subject will help immensely.

References:

Newland, T. (2015, November 9). Opinion: The Core Problem with Self-Publishing is Quality Assurance. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from http://selfpublishingadvice.org/quality-problem-in-self-publishing/

All graphics/photos were created by the author.