From Dr Alison Baverstock, author of The Naked Author: A Guide to Self-Publishing, via IndieReader:
I began my working life as a publisher, both full time and freelance, and went on to write books about writing and publishing.
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I currently lead the Masters Course in Publishing at Kingston University, UK.
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The publishing industry I joined after university was firmly against self-publishing. For my own part, I was always fascinated by the motivation of authors; why some kept pursuing a professional publishing deal and what this had to say about the individual’s determination to battle on and withstand rejection – ironically the same skill set that often makes for successful self-publishing.
My research interest in self-publishing was further fueled by the industry’s tendency to dismiss it; insisting on the need for validation by a ‘proper publisher’. It seemed to me that given the size of the traditional industry, and its rather un-diverse recruiting practices, it was unlikely that a) all work worth reading was being captured and b) those doing the capturing knew precisely what everyone else wanted to read.
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I have now spent four years researching both the process of self-publishing and those involved. What I found was in direct contrast to previously widely held assumptions: that the motivations of self-publishing authors were often more connected to completion and future discoverability than money; that they enjoyed the process, would do so again and recommend it to others – and that it had made them happy.
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I emerged from the process with many reasons for admiring self-publishers, but I will confine myself here to just five:
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3. They’re resourceful
Research shows that many of those dubbed self-publishers are in fact operating in small teams, buying in services as needed. Support has been variously obtained: from friends and colleagues; paid for support; some via the internet. 59% of my research cohort had used an editor and 21% had taken legal advice.
Being self-published does not absolve you from paying careful attention to the legal issues behind sharing content, and committing libel or infringing copyright may be very real dangers which self-publishers must manage themselves.
4. They identify new markets
It’s becoming a relatively common phenomenon these days for work to locate, and reveal, a market through self-publication – and then once the project looks less risky, for it to find more traditional investors. Self-publishers have drawn attention to previously overlooked demand (memoirs, fantasy and soft porn being particularly good examples). But a new market does not have to be vast, or public, to matter – many self-publishers have taken care of content they valued, and ensured it will be discoverable by their families and friends in the future, should they want to know. Worth doing, I say.
Link to the rest at IndieReader and thanks to William for the tip.