• Jai Patel

Is Self-Publishing Right For You?

Hey guys!

Just wanted to share some thoughts with you aspiring writers out there! Come on, I've seen your stories, I've seen your posts! YOU GUYS CAN WRITE!

But is self-publishing right for you?

I'll make it very simple: if you answer YES to any of the questions below, then self-publishing might be the right way for you to progress as an indie author.

Question 1: Do you intend to write genre fiction (thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, etc) or poetry in English in Malaysia?

This was one of the reasons I decided to self-publish because most (if not all) traditional publishers in Malaysia have given up on genre fiction books in English by local authors.

Even Fixi Novo, who I believe single-handedly changed the game for genre fiction in Malaysia, is publishing only ONE (1) fiction title in English, in the whole of 2021.

Oh, this happens to be through a contest, which makes it even harder.

Anyways, kudos to Fixi Novo for doing this. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Amir and the Fixi crew.

Sigh. I wish I wrote in Malay (sadface) because the Malay genre fiction scene is so amazing right now. There's equal support from both publishers and readers, and there is a real market for novels.

Question 2: Do you want to own your work?

As a newbie fiction writer, I'm very honest about my strengths and weaknesses. But I told myself from the start that, no matter how crappy my work is, I STILL WANT TO OWN IT.

I spend WAY too much time writing, editing, proofreading, publishing, AND marketing my book(s). At the end of the day, I want to own the rights to it, so that I can do whatever I want with my stories in the future.

Work with an illustrator and turn one of them into a graphic novel or series of webcomics? Sure, why not. Print T-shirts with the cover artwork? Yeah. It can be done, if anyone wants them, that is.

When you self-publish, you retain the copyrights to your work. And I believe that counts for something.

Question 3: Do you want to learn how publishing works?

Sorry, guys. You can't avoid this. At least I think you shouldn't avoid this if you want to be a serious writer.

If you want to self-publish, you have to uphold the quality of your work. This means:

  • Checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes

  • Learning editing, proofreading, formatting (for different formats of your novel) and a lot of other boring stuff (e.g. submitting paperwork and liaising with PNM for ISBN codes)

  • Figuring out how to build your reader base

  • Marketing your book and yourself as an author

  • Making sure you don't go crazy doing all of the above

If you're not mentally prepared to cry, sweat, bleed, etc then self-publishing is NOT for you.

That's all I have for you today! Please like this post if you, uh, like it.

Oh, and find me on IG @jaipatelauthor

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