Borders (in Self-Publishing): What’s Up With That?

Self-publishing: it’s the ultimate liberator, they say. It cuts out the middle-man and allows authors direct access to their own profits. It gives writers complete creative control. It’s faster, and more rewarding.

Assuming you’re American.

To be clear, I live in the States. I’ve been nodding along merrily, preaching the good self-publishing news…and then I saw this excellent piece on Derek Haines blog, Is Self-Publishing Only For Americans?

The post is absolutely worth reading and I strongly recommend you do so. My goal isn’t to rehash it, but to consider what it means for those of us who are involved in the writer’s process but are not, ourselves, writers–editors, promoters, designers, etc.

If you don’t have time to read the post now, suffice it to say, there is a literal (and considerable) price-tag attached to publishing outside the US, not to mention that some services (things like Nook Press and Kindle Publishing for Blogs) aren’t even available outside the US.

As an editor, my job is to help my clients revise their work, taking it from rough draft to finished product. But my job is also to give informed answers to questions like “should I self publish?” Previously, I would have said “YES!” almost 90% of the time. Now, I know I need to put an asterisk after that.

All authors face unique challenges, and we tend to talk only about those which seem universal to us: it’s hard to write a complete draft. It’s tough to find an affordable editor / cover designer. Social media can be complicated (and time consuming). But–and I’m not ashamed to admit that this is only just now occurring to me–those aren’t the ONLY challenges writers face. Depending on where an author lives, what their economic circumstances are, and a hundred other factors…the process of publishing and marketing a book may be quite different, and in some cases, simply not viable.

It’s up to us, the professionals, to be as informed as we possibly can, because writers need our support. Their books need our support. And if anything should exist without boundaries–without borders–it’s books.

Photo by Eric Didier on Unsplash

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