When you’re a new or unpublished author, you may wonder if you can find success self-publishing. Here at Izzard Ink, we can assure you that we have worked with many authors who have succeeded with self-publishing. Your first step is to set some goals.
What Is Your Idea for Self-Publishing a Book?
Every great book — and even some not-so-great ones — starts out with an idea. It might be an idea you’ve carried around in your head for many years, or you may have come up with it recently after doing some research about what types of books are popular today.
Either method for coming up with a book idea is valid. Some fiction authors want to tell a story and they include lots of real-life anecdotes, while others pull their idea straight from their imagination.
Regardless of where you get your idea, it’s good to check around to see if it’s as unique as you think. If you find another book (or books) that are similar to yours, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to scrap your idea. It just means you need to find a way to make yours different enough so that it doesn’t present itself as an imitation of another book already in print. It can be a fine line to walk, because you want a book idea that is contemporary and has a good chance at success, but at the same time, you don’t want to copy others’ ideas too closely.
For instance, West Side Story was a modern and famously successful adaptation of the storyline of Romeo and Juliet. The story of Romeo and Juliet has been told probably hundreds or thousands of times, switching out details such as the reason the families are enemies, the time period, the location, etc., and some of these retellings are more successful than others.
Do You Have an Agent?
While it’s not impossible to get a book published by a large traditional publishing house without an agent, it’s extremely difficult. There are probably thousands, if not millions, of authors who want to submit manuscripts to publishers. Even a talented author’s first manuscript is likely to be a little rough around the edges. Editors at publishing houses simply don’t have time to read all the unsolicited manuscripts they are sent. So they only work with authors who have agents.
An agent lends an author credibility. They do the work that the book editors don’t want to have to do — read raw manuscripts. Finding an agent, however, is a challenging process in its own right.
There’s no doubt that big-shot agents can get you places that a small-time one can’t. Busy, high-powered agents get a lot of submissions, and they only choose the book proposals they think have the best chance of success.
When you’re looking for an agent, it’s best to try to find one that has already sold books similar to yours. Try to match your genre to theirs. When you’ve narrowed your list down to the ones you like best, send out some query letters. This process is a little bit like looking for a job — you may not hear anything back from most of them.
If you find one you like — and they like you — this is no guarantee they’ll be able to sell your book, or that if they do, it will be successful. And in the process, the publishing house may ask for changes and rewrites that you may believe negatively impact the intent of your book. If your book flops, you can’t go back to your original version and try it somewhere else, because the publishing house will own the rights to it.
The Process of Self-Publishing a Book
When you self-publish a book with Izzard Ink, you retain control over the content as well as publishing rights. Too often with traditional publishing houses, the end result of your project is a book you hardly recognize. With statistics showing that many authors get only one book published, you would hate to see your chance ruined that way.
At Izzard Ink, the first thing we do is schedule a meeting with you to talk about your book idea. We may ask to see a chapter as well. We talk to you about your vision for your book and what types of services you may want or need. These include editing, design, illustration, marketing, distribution and more.
The difference between Izzard Ink and vanity presses is that we offer these services to our authors in an attempt to produce the best-quality, most professional book possible.
What Is Success?
When you consider whether you can be successful at self-publishing, you must consider your definition of success. Is it to be a multimillionaire, touring and appearing on Ellen and Late Night? This is uncommon for all but the top 1% of published authors even at traditional publishing houses.
Is it to earn enough to make a living as an author? This is a more realistic goal, but still challenging. Is it to see your book in print, to get your idea out the way you intended it to be? If so, then that goal is attainable when you work with Izzard Ink.
The world of self-publishing can be exciting. You’re not always sitting around on pins and needles waiting for a message from an agent or a publishing house that never comes. You can get started right away on the book you want to publish. And you can work with top professionals in the industry to ensure that it has the best chance at success possible.