Self-publishing is a completely different animal from the traditional publishing process. With traditional publishing, authors submit their work to Literary Agents who critique and sometimes edit the work before sending it along to a publishing house. Once accepted, the book will then be edited some more, artwork for the cover will be created, and some sort of marketing will happen as the book is printed and distributed to a bookstore near you. The publisher is the one taking the risk and eating the up-front costs in the hopes that the book will sell. They can do this because they (Literary Agents and Publishers) reject 99% of the works submitted to them banking on only those that have a higher likelihood of wide appeal and continued generation of money.
The self-publishing author works in a similar environment, but all the costs, all the leg-work, all the work beyond writing the book rest solely on their shoulders. The self-publishing author must pay for all their editing, must buy all their artwork, buy their own ISBN number and do their own marketing, pedaling their wares hoping to cast a wide net of customers. Their success or failure depends on all they, and they alone, do to make their work successful. They are the true starving artists of the book world.
Why do we do this? Control over the machine that is the traditional publishing industry. I control my cover art, I have final say. I find my own editor, someone I trust and have faith in the job they will do. I run my social media and websites and I put out the messages I want out there. No one tells me what I should or should not do, write, publish or conceive. It is freeing but has the benefit of having the same result as traditional publishing. My books stand shoulder to shoulder on the electronic shelves of online bookstores and in the occasional library and physical bookstore. I’m happy with this because my books are exactly what I wanted them to be and online distribution accounts for a vast majority of book sales today.
So why is donating so important? Well, as unshackled as self-publishers may be, most are not independently wealthy. Book covers, editing, even promotion can be expensive and sometimes cost-prohibitive. Without the muscle and connections of traditional publishing, getting exposure for your books can be very difficult at times. Amazon does its best, I suppose, with promotions and free book offers, but the revenue of a self-publisher is likely going to be less than traditionally-published authors. Couple that with the up-front costs of preparing the book for sale, the self-published author may never emerge from the red into the black.
That is why donations are so important to the self-publishing author. There are brilliant people out there writing books and self-publishing, many with skills and stories rivaling or surpassing traditionally published authors! If you like an author, help him or her continue providing you with humor, joy, heartbreak, love, fear…the entertainment you have come to enjoy. Please donate today. If I am that author, please visit my website and help me out.