We got the opportunity attend a panel with some of the best in self-publishing. This kind of intimate environment with this much insight is what makes CCR Ontario such a jewel.
If you look at the image caption above, the name of the panel should have been Self-Publish, Don’t Go Independent. One of their biggest points to publishing on your own is saving your intellectual property. But with that comes all the responsibility of making and marketing your book.
You get to control when your book comes out. When with an independent publisher you might be at the mercy of their queue of other books that already have priority over yours. So your book might have to wait longer than you expected. Or you might not be as quick to writing, or drawing, your book as the schedule dictates by the independent publisher. With self-publishing you can control the timing but you can’t keep your fans waiting too long.
With independent publishers, you still have to do a decent amount of marketing for your own book. But the label is doing some of it and the trusted legitimacy that publisher helps. With self-publishing you have to do all the marketing, yourself. From social, to organic, to hyping it to comic book stores, anything to do with making its presence known to the right demographic and showing them how to get your book. That is all your responsibility.
With independent publishers, they take care of the printing, storage, and distribution. But that comes with them keeping a portion, which makes sense. Some feel they keep too much, some feel it’s worth it. With self-publishing you have to do all of that yourself. One of the biggest laughs was when each talked about where they stored their books, from garages to corners of their houses. But they love that they get to keep 100% of the profits.
Own in it all
Owning their books and their stories is what drives them to continue to self-publish. The thing they say you own for sure are the wins and especially the loses. The reward is very much worth the risk for these folks.
One last thing
When asked for one piece of final advice, they all laughed but agreed, “collect sales tax because that’ll get you.”
I’m in the middle of creating my own story and am more than halfway complete writing the series, the insight from this group is important for me. Whether I agree with them or not is one thing but knowing where they came from and hearing why they choose this direction helps me feel that much more informed.