So, these were the top three reasons I chose to self-publish over sending my patterns and book proposals to magazines and publishers. I’m sure you have your own reasons and they may overlap with mine or be totally different, but we can all agree that self-publishing is a big choice that leads to lots of work. I have also included an honorable mention that plays a big part in why I self-publish.
1. I like money.
Self-publishing kept my profits where they belonged — with me. Depending on the outlet where I sell my work, I can net anywhere from 35 to 100% of my retail price, something totally undoable with a publisher.
I also get to keep the rights to my work. Which in copyright law means I own it for 70 years beyond my death. That means my kids and their kids can collect off of work I make today. Some magazines and publishers want “all rights” to patterns which means they pay you anywhere from $50 to $500 (the industry norm for most patterns) up front to own your pattern forever. Compare that with the amount you could collect for the rest of your life plus 70 years and I think you get an idea of what a rip off that is.
Of course if you were planning on getting rich quick off of self-publishing, don’t quit your day job just yet. It takes time to build your library and get a following.
2. I had a specific vision in mind.
Whether it’s a pattern or a complete book, I had a distinct story I wanted to tell and dreaded having to alter it on a publisher’s whim.
3. I had a specific design in mind.
This goes hand in hand with reason number two. I knew what my book should look like. I didn’t want to compromise on layout, font, or length of the finished project.
Honorable Mention: Time and dislike for deadlines.
One of the major reasons I never send my work to publishers is that I don’t think I could work well with deadline. I know I would always make the deadline because I have excellent time management skills (it’s one of the rare things I can brag about myself), I just don’t think I would be happy doing it. Even when I set soft deadlines for putting out my self-published patterns I get antsy and feel deflated when I procrastinate. Having others dependent on what I’m putting out and when I produce it would have me spending too much time on my work and not enough time with my family (did I mention I’m a stay-at-home mom first and everything else second). So self-publishing gives me the freedom of time and the ability to put my family before everything else.
Of course, wanting what’s in your head to appear on paper (or screen) can be much more work that you were expecting if you’ve never published a book before. Depending on your format (print vs. epub) it can get even more labor intensive. In my next installment I’ll be talking about the basics of print vs. epub publishing so you can figure out if you want to take the leap to produce both.
Previous topic: Just a little intro…
Next topic: Print Books vs. ePubs