Self-Publishing provides these benefits for readers and authors:
- Niche publishing: Since the advent of self-publishing, biographies and memoirs no longer have to be by celebrities or people with big or exotic stories to tell. A cousin of my husband self-published a biography of his grandfather, my husband's uncle. I read a self-published biography of an old woman who taught everyone who knew her to be joyful and spread joy. Neither of those would have been published traditionally, but they were well worth reading. Quirky fiction can find -- indeed, can create -- a niche.
- Responsiveness: If the formatting in a self-published eBook, which looked perfect in Preview, is wonky on a buyer's eReader, the author can be personally contacted, the book can be corrected, and the updated version can be online within days at the longest. The relationship between a self-published author and readers is, on the whole, much closer than that between most traditionally published authors and readers.
- Control: The self-published author can choose whether or not to have professional help. If the author chooses to publish without being critiqued or edited, to make their own covers, to publish but not promote, and then let buying happen or not happen, the author can choose to do so. If the author chooses to only publish digitally, only publish in print, or do both, if the author chooses to be exclusive to one platform (Amazon, Kobo, iTunes) or to distribute as widely as possible or to have the book only available as a PDF download from a website, so be it. If the author wants to price the book at $100 or free, so be it.
- Readers can, on the whole, expect a certain level of technical quality from traditionally published books. The story may be less than stellar or may be superb, but the spelling, grammar, and punctuation will most likely be correct. If poor proofreading puts you off (it does me), you want to buy from a traditional publisher (or good small and/or indie press). If you feel you need help in those regards as a writer, and you can sell your work to a traditional publisher, you can have those things done for you. Traditional publishers will handle the covers, too, with no input from the author.
- Variety of formats: While many self-published authors and small presses publish only electronically, most traditional publishers publish mainly in print, with electronic offerings. Bigger-ticket books may be published in more than one paperback format and in hardback, and may be issued as audiobooks. As a reader, I like these choices. I'll sometimes buy or download free an eBook and, if I really like it, buy it in paperback; if I LOVE it, I'll buy it in hardback.
- As an author, I concede that The Big Six (or however many of them there are at the moment) have a lot of clout. Movie deals and international publishing deals are more likely through major publishers, as of this writing, anyway. As a reader, I'm more likely to find a book if it comes from a house with advertising dollars to get it in front of my eyeballs. It's more likely that people I meet will have read it so we can talk about it.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes