What is Self-Publishing?
Self-Publishing is the act of an author taking on the process of writing, editing, formatting, printing, and marketing your fiction or non-fiction book. Following are five important aspects of self-publishing.
- The author publishes their work independent of any publishing houses.
- The author takes on all the costs and expenses of the process.
- The author does receive all the sale profits: He or She retains control and ownership of his or her content.
- The author registers ISBNs and Copyright Licenses in person. He or she is responsible for fulfilling any legal requirements needed in the process of publication.
- Marketing and promotion falls to the author. The author needs to work at discovering and cultivating readership in order to make sales. It helps if you have a large network of supporters online and offline. If you don’t, then it is a great idea to get started on cultivating readership of your work.
Self-Publishing is different from Traditional Publishing.
In Traditional Publishing, a publishing house accepts an author’s work, edits and formats according to house standards, prepares the work for printing and takes on the marketing of the work. In this day and age, the author is no longer exempt from the marketing efforts and may have to complete tasks as assigned by the publishers to promote the work.
In Kenya, publishing houses do not need you to have a literary agent. However, they do need you to send work that has content centered on the publishing houses’ preferred publishing genres. Check out these four traditional publishing houses submission guidelines: East African Publishers / Moran Publishers / Storymoja Publishers / Mystery Publishers
Of course, there are more than these four publishing houses in East Africa, but I have highlighted companies who have clear submission guidelines on what they are looking for on their websites and the process of submission.
Now you know what Self-publishing is, and what to expect from the process. Here is a tip on what you need to do to see profits from your hard work. Approach self-publishing as you would a startup business. Your books are a product. A product that requires smart marketing and constant refining to attract your readers and keep them.
It is no longer about just uploading your book on Amazon’s KDP or Smashwords and keeping quiet, waiting for a reader to stumble upon your work. The industry has grown and changed. There are a lot more authors who are publishing on the same platforms, in the same way. You now need to market your work and be outgoing about it, online and offline.
Self- Publishing will give you results depending on the amount of effort (time + money) you choose to pour into it. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.