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How is Self-Publishing Viewed in the Book Industry?

Updated: May 9, 2023

Self-publishing first became possible to the mass market back in 2007 when Amazon first launched Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The launch coincided with the launch of their very first Amazon Kindle reading device. That’s 15 years of independent author’s having the resources to publish their own work. So, how is self-publishing viewed in the book industry today?

Female writer with red head band
How is self-publishing viewed?

Did you know, that according to Publishers Weekly indie authors now account for between 30-34% of all eBook sales? Before this, self-publishing was largely thought as being inaccessible to most. The self-publishing movement actually started to become more feasible back in 1979 when Desktop Publishing was invented.

But how was self-publishing first received 15 years ago when KDP arrived with a bang?

Until then, the main route for becoming a published author would be to send your manuscript to multiple traditional publishing houses in the hope of being asked to sign a book deal. Only the best of the best would be successful, and the result? A lot of truly deflated aspiring writers.

There was initially a lot of bitterness from traditionally published authors towards these new indie writers. It’s understandable – traditionally published authors would have likely worked incredibly hard to land an opportunity with a publishing house, dealt with daily rejections and battled to get themselves heard in the industry. But suddenly, this new route provided almost instant access to anyone to enter directly into the publishing world… for free!!

Why should the guy from down the road with a D in GCSE English suddenly be able to call himself a published author? What has he done to deserve it? Turned his laptop on and pressed submit?

And this is where the element of quality becomes so important within self-publishing.

In essence, platforms like KDP are amazing because they mean that more people can be heard, more people can share their story with the world and more people with a life-long dream can have the accessibility to call themselves a published author. But if quality standards can’t be maintained, then this is when the bad work of one indie author can completely taint the reputation of self-publishing.

This is why if you are truly committed to self-publishing your own book, you must do everything in your power to produce a book which can hold its own amongst traditionally published books.

I recently did some market research to establish what the general current view of self-publishing was amongst a group of women writers, authors, editors and publishers. The majority of the reactions were surprisingly very positive and the overwhelming message received from the group was that self-publishing is a great tool to have providing it is not misused and treated as a free entry to the “published author” club.

Here are some notable comments about how self-publishing is viewed, from the research group:

“As long as they invest in professional editing, formatting & custom cover design so that it’s a high-quality book”.

“My honest reaction is that the author was unable to go down the traditional route”.

“Don’t cut corners, get a good cover, a good editor and advertise!”

“I hope [the writer] realises that a lot of work and money goes into publishing anything and that selling a book isn’t going to make a lot of money, especially if the author is just starting out”.

“As long as they don’t skimp on the editing, [self-publishing] is a great option. Marketing is tough”.

“I figure they must have a lot of spare money for all the indie author expenses!”

“I hope they’ve done the editing and taken the time to find a good graphic designer to create their cover – a lot of good stories are never discovered because of these two things”.

Alongside these comments, the overwhelming consensus of choosing to self-publish your book is that the choice should be applauded and encouraged, so long as the writer is able to maintain industry level high standards, in keeping with traditionally published works.

It must also be noted that whilst a badly published book could potentially lower the accolade of being a published author, remember that if a book is badly written, badly edited, badly published and badly marketed then it won’t get read.

Don’t let this be you!!

To view other methods of publishing, click here to read our article "What is a hybrid publisher?".

In the name of publishing quality books, we have created a step-by-step self-publishing eBook that you can currently access for FREE. Turn your completed manuscript into a published book with this thorough guide for self-publishers. Click here to download.

Book cover for the guide "Step by step guide to self-publishing"
The step by step guide to Self-Publishing

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