the pitfalls of self-publishing


I know it is difficult to get published. I myself went through the classic edition, in other words, for an elephant, through a mouse hole. As I have often said, large publishing houses can be compared to stud farms which already own their racing horses. They only produce very few foals. One or two per year. When we print three hundred thousand copies, we try to measure the risks of a return to the pestle. I know that the times are no longer for patience. But imagine the number of years and rejected manuscripts that Balzac and Zola had to endure before achieving notoriety. Already at the time, they had managed to find an intermediate solution by publishing their works serially in daily newspapers. They were paid by the word.

Today, electronic publishing allows us to save time. The choice is attractive, between self-publishing and self-publishing. In the first case, among the multitude of platforms which promise you mountains and wonders, there are also real scammers hiding with a single objective, to extract as much money as possible from you. But writing is work. Whether volunteer, amateur or professional, it's still work. Under no circumstances should you pay to complete a task. Not a cent. At worst, we can offer it for free and at best, we must be paid.

Obviously, self-publishing and self-publishing are different. But the rules that govern them are the same.

In the second case, you are the publisher. In this capacity, you must commit a sum of money to create your publishing house, at best a EURL one-person company with limited liability, (around 500 euros investment). This does not relieve you of other tasks to protect your work nationally or internationally. Simply sending a registered letter will not protect you from illegal reproduction. There are several levels of protection. ISBN, IIDREF etc.... The compulsory declaration of income may cause you management problems, especially if you sell your works without an intermediary. You may find yourself facing a tax audit.

In addition, as an independent publisher, you will struggle to get indexed on bookseller platforms. So, if you embark on self-publishing, you must keep in mind that the investment is not negligible. No less than the work to be done in addition to writing. Try to find out if you are a writer or a business owner who sells your books like soap. How will you design your book? Even if you managed to get around the problems related to proofreading, correction and layout? By having it printed or saved for new media outlets? At your expense? How will you distribute it? At your expense ? How will you protect it? At your expense ? How will you communicate with your readership? At your expense ?

Hence the warning that I issue at the start of this column. No one should pay for an author's work.