Weekly Journal

Keeping Creative Control by Self-Publishing

Kaila Krayewski

9th October 2018

Self-publishing, or publishing your work independent of a publisher, includes the entire process of printing, distribution, and marketing after the fact of writing and editing your book. With the advent of e-books and publish-on-demand services, self-publishing has become quicker and more accessible to all writers. Most authors write for the love of writing and don’t want to get involved with the publishing side of things; however, there are many advantages to bear in mind when it comes to self-publishing.

When you self-publish you are in full control of your book, its content and look. A traditional publisher will take this away from you as they have their own expert team deciding on the cover design, the title, the length of the book, and even the direction of the writing.

Why Do You Want to Keep Creative Control?

Writers are attached to their work. They’ve invested a lot of time, and have gone through blood, sweat, and tears to get to the final stop. They see the book as their baby and find it hard to let it change into anything other than what they had envisioned.

Some writers, however, are happy when their work has been accepted by a traditional publisher, which, in itself, is a difficult process. Once contracted with a publisher, the writer relinquishes control and must trust the publisher, and the publisher’s team of editors and designers to make the right decisions regarding any changes to the work. The marketing arm of a traditional publisher will focus on a cover design that will sell the book, but if the content of the book doesn’t fit with the cover design, it could deceive readers and lead to disappointment, poor reviews, and fewer recommendations. Your book may not reach the intended audience and, therefore, never gain a following or receive the feedback you feel it deserves.

Polly Courtney, a well-known writer with six novels, left her publishers after they used titles and covers that shoehorned her books into the ‘chick-lit’ genre, even though they are about broader social issues. She believes that publishers don’t listen to authors and readers, and she feels that she is writing for an audience that doesn’t want to be patronised.

Though getting published is the end goal for most writers, it should be realised that the finished product of a self-published work will remain a clear representation of the author and the author’s intent.

A Sense of Ownership

Doing everything yourself provides the greatest sense of ownership. After all, everything is all down to you. Retaining creative control keeps that ownership alive. There’s nothing wrong with getting help and support, and all good writers use professional editors, but keeping your ideas and messages the way you had intended is staying ‘true to your work.’ You wrote with a focus in mind, and not diluting or mutating it demonstrates how much value you put in your work and your brand.

Self-publishing also ensures that you own all rights to your book. This means you get a higher percentage of the royalties and maintain the rights to have it published in different languages and mediums, as well as the rights to any movie potential. You retain the right to include one or more characters of your published work in your next book, or the ability to reuse elements, such as fictional worlds, that you have created. Further, e-books and print-on-demand services make to possible to publish as many books as you like in a very short time.

Networking Opportunities

Going through all the stages of self-publishing entails a lot of research as you learn what to do. You may have to establish a publishing company or apply for an ISBN, copyright, and other book-specific information. Your full control of how the book looks, including its cover and press materials, has to be designed and developed by you or by someone you hire. You will have to discuss your book, attend events, and market your own work. However, this will also give you the added benefit of meeting people in the industry and establishing relationships that will help build your writing career.

Going down the self-publishing road is complicated and involves a lot of work outside of writing. A traditional publisher takes responsibility for this aspect leaving you to just focus on writing. They have an expert team that can produce a professional version of your book but this will cost you the rights to your work and also how it will be read and marketed.

Self-publishing is the only method to retain your creative freedom and control. It allows you to work to your own deadlines and to have your work portrayed the way you intended. You can target the audience that you have gotten to know while researching and writing your book. And your book will always remain yours.


By the author of takingchances.co.uk

Takingchances came about from the realisation that life is what you make it. That a dream will only come true if you pursue it. That time is limited and each second passed is a second that cannot be re-captured. So to have a chance at finding fulfilment in life, the author of takingchances.co.uk quit her job in the UK and is travelling the world to gain insight from different perspectives and cultures. She came to Content Castle to learn how to write better and to pursue the possibility that writing will continue to let her take chances.

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