Self-publishing is not for those who have nothing to spend. If you can’t spend money on editing, cover design, and book formatting, self-publishing is not for you–unless you can design and format on your own. Instead the best route for you would be the traditional route because the traditional route often costs nothing.
I mention this because books are heavily judged on cover, editing, and interior design. Self-publishing nowadays is cheaper because you can go right to e-book instead of having to do print. But it costs publishers to produce a book, and so it should cost you money to produce a book as well.
There are some really horrible self-published covers out there. The one to my left is one such example. It makes me think the book is violent and that all Christians need chainsaws to prove a point. I can’t even tell if the cover is trying to be symbolic or what the author was even thinking when choosing this cover. And the colors are too bold. Bold colors paired with bold colors are often tacky. It’s not Kindergarten anymore. Primary colors worked then but they don’t work now because there are so many shades and tones and hues of colors that there is an entire class devoted to color theory at some universities. So if you want to design your own cover art, take some sort of design class or book production class.
As for editing, you can only edit so much before you need someone else to look at it. If you can’t afford an editor, please don’t self-publish. Use beta readers and go the traditional route because if you don’t even have money for a proofreader, what makes you think your book is going to be able to make it without some sort of paid marketing, like giveaways and what not? Even though my book is technically going traditional, I have some money I’m going to use for giveaways once the book is published. But it is impossible to fully edit on your own because you are the writer, not the reader, your audience. You NEED another pair of eyes, professional eyes, preferably, to whip your book into shape.
The interior design of a book can be just as important as the exterior design of a book. I’ve seen so many self-published books whose interior design has been brutally destroyed because the author did not hire a book designer. Said author likely formatted a .pdf file and put it through the Kindle converter, expecting the book to come out with publishable quality, when more often than not the paragraphs are wonky, not indented, words are missing, pages are missing, and so on and so forth. Also, a lot of readers don’t like to read .pdf. If all you can manage is a .pdf file and nothing more, don’t publish because your book is going to suffer without pre-release marketing and some reviews. You might be able to find some who will read .pdf, but if you want really good reviewers, they might end up requesting various formats, and there are just some reviewers you don’t want to pass up because you only have .pdf.
Self-publishing takes money. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that just because everything is digital now that it’s not going to take a lot because it is. If you want your book to compete with traditionally published books, you’re going to have to spend some money to make some money. Otherwise, don’t go this route and go the traditional route, be it large or small presses.
20 thoughts on “Self-Publishing and the Willingness to Spend Money”
I understand what that cover is trying to say, but it’s still not at all appealing.
Enlighten me. I can’t tell!
My best guess (with little to no value judgement attached, it is what it is…)
The multi-stranded rope is a common metaphor for a relationship with God. A single-stranded rope is weak, but when many strands are wound together, it’s strong; in this case, so strong that a big ol’ chainsaw can’t get through it, I guess. You often get this symbolism when talking about marriage, with the husband as one strand, the wife as another (or in more progressive churches, same sex partners, but that’s off-topic), and their mutual relationship with God through prayer is the third strand of the rope. Even if one or both of the human bits frays or breaks, there’s still something holding the rope (the marriage) together until they heal.
That’s the context I’m familiar with, anyway. Kind of like demonstrating how one twig is weak, but a bundle of them is hard to break. I assume that’s what the author was going for here, anyway; I don’t know what the third strand is outside of an interpersonal relationship. Community, maybe?
I love the smoke coming from the chainsaw. 🙂
I’m not really into religion (funny, considering my book is rife with religion), so the symbolism was completely lost on me. But, yeah, the image overall is just horrible. And the smoke makes me laugh, actually.
Right? I don’t have a problem with the metaphor, but that may be the worst way to present it. I tend to think of the “rope” fraying from daily or major stress, or (in my case) something like Depression, but all I think when I see this cover is “OMG CHAINSAW OF SATAN GONNA KERSPLODE!!!”
Possibly not the message or reaction they were trying for?
Oh my gosh, that’s really hilarious! What surprise me is that I can’t believe the author didn’t look at this image and think there was nothing wrong. Either that, or he did and just didn’t think anyone was going to care.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of self-publishers assume that it’s what’s inside that counts. With books, it just ain’t so.
That cover is too much. But let’s face it. evangelical literature is pretty much a slapdash, derivative affair to begin with.
It can be done well if it weren’t for the preachy nature of it to begin with.
Well, almost by the nature of the subject matter it’s bound to be preachy. But that’s just my two cents. (Of course, I used to be part of that world so maybe my two cents is more like 3.5 cents or something…)
I really never was a part of it but have met people from that world and am a bit turned away because of some of their preachy/judgmental attitudes.
Good points. Self publishing is not for me, at least not now. I need someone else to edit my work because it looks fine to me. My crit groups are good, but that expert editor is so important. And formatting, cover design, etc. are too much for me. I’ll stay with my great Indie publishers.
So far I love my small press publisher! I have the money, but I very much would like to be able to afford ballet.
Looking at things like that just scares me and makes me wonder if they can’t see how bad it looks, will I be able to? I know self-publishing isn’t for me right now.
And thanks for the reminder, Amber!
This post makes me curious to see how much the average self published author pays to get his or her book out there (and then if they manage to make it back).
Just trying to explore all options for my book 🙂
I’m all for self-publishing but I get really frustrating with the “Self Pub Is the Only True Way Rah Rah Rah” people who don’t understand that if you can’t sink money into editing or a cover, then it might actually be better to try your hand with an agent or publisher.
*frustrated (typo demons!)
I got what you meant, lol.
Exactly. I pass over self-pubbed books with crap covers. Plain and simple. Beautiful covers excite me though.