In 2015, I celebrated my 18th birthday in quite an unconventional way: by debuting my first authored book on Amazon. Although writing the book was a process that challenged me to my core and kept me on my toes, the book publishing world was an entire new industry that my 18-year old self felt vastly unprepared for. Thus, I decided to take the road more traveled by self-publishing my work, 20 Seconds of Insane Courage instead of seeking a publisher and pursuing printed copies.
Looking back, it is a decision I still stand behind, and am proud of. Here's why I decided to self-publish my book instead of going through a traditional publisher:
Self-publishing my book made it more accessible to the people who I wrote the book for. Although 20 Seconds is a book meant to encourage all people, it has a special emphasis on young people, especially coming from a youth that desperately wants to see the millennial generation succeed. As much as I love printed pages and the undeniable feel-good smell of books, the majority of people from my generation tend to get their reading through e-books on Kindles, iPads and their smartphone. What's more, most students do not have fifteen to twenty dollars conveniently lying around for a new book, but would be more willing to spend a dollar on an e-book they could read on their way to class or before their morning shifts. I wanted to make my book as widely accessible as possible, regardless of what amount of profit would result.
Self-publishing my book made me in control of what message I wanted to send to the world. 20 Seconds is an honest account of how a girl from a sleepy small town was able to accomplish some extraordinary things, while providing narratives of other individuals who found the courage to do the same thing. Like so many authors, my book became an extension of myself, exposing my weaknesses, fears, failures and future dreams in ways that I cringed at the thought of a publisher trying to eliminate. I wanted my book to be real, authentic, and a reflection of what I valued and who I was becoming. To me, self-publishing then seemed like the best option.
Self-publishing my book made the book process faster. The information revolution has transformed the traditional ways we communicate, and this in turn has affected the book industry. Instead of spending months trying to find a publisher, negotiate contracts, draft manuscripts, and perfect the process to their interpretation, I was able to publish it within hours. It became available to people all around the world in a matter of minutes, thus amplifying the message I so desperately wanted to send out to the world. Many students feel like their voice is silenced because of the costly process of trying to get a book published, but through the Internet, this is no longer so.
While I'm open to the idea of one day pursuing a publisher for a different book projects throughout my lifespan, I am proud with my decision to publish my first book through the self-publishing process.
Authors, what made you decide between self-publishing and seeking a publisher? Let us know in the comments below!