6 Things to Consider Before You Self-Publish Your First Romance Novel
The romance genre has moved firmly into the self-publishing market, and this is how the majority of romance novels are published today. Despite this, self-publishing is a big decision to make, and that’s why I want to share with you these six things you should consider before self-publishing your romance novel.
1. You will have to coordinate all the processes yourself.
You don’t necessarily have to do all the work yourself, but you will have to coordinate everyone and everything who needs to play a part in the production of your novel. When you self-publish, you basically take on the role of publisher; you’ll be the one guiding your novel through editing, formatting, design, proofreading, website creation, publication, and promotion. You spearhead every step of the publishing process. It can be a lot to coordinate as you find the people you want to work with and make sure you’re following your own schedule.
2. While writing is an art, self-publishing is a business.
In self-publishing, you are taking on the role of publisher and publishing house. That means when you self-publish your book, you have your own small business. You’re self-employed and the boss of your own little publishing empire. This means you’ll have to treat your book like a small business. You will need to put the work in to make it grow, and you will have to invest in that small business. The self-published romance novels that do well are those the author was willing to invest in. Your writing is an art, so be crafty and be a writer during that process. But, the next step is a business, and you’ll have to treat it like one to do well.
3. You will have to do lots of work for your book to take off.
Self-publishing is a before, during, and after type thing. You aren’t ever done with the work that will go into the self-publishing you do. The process is an involved one. You make a publishing plan before, coordinate putting your book together, publish your book, then you work on promotion and talking to your readers. You work on finding more readers. You work on keeping your book sales up and keeping your craft going. It will be a never-ending process, but if you put that work in, it will pay off.
4. You can make more money through self-publishing, but it can take time to get there.
With traditional publishing, you receive an advance based on the number of copies the publisher believes will be sold in the process. Only if the book sales make it past the point of the publisher's projection do you begin to get paid royalties. But, with self-publishing, you have the opportunity to make more overall. It most likely won’t happen right away, and it will take work, but those authors who have been successful see a higher income through self-publishing than if they would if they had chosen traditional publishing.
5. You can publish faster and more often with self-publishing.
Because you control your novels and your own schedule, you can publish more often and more quickly than a traditional publisher can. After your romance novel is written, you can publish in only a few months if that is your goal. With a traditional publisher, in most cases, you would be lucky to have about one novel published a year. With self-publishing, you control your own publication schedule, so you can publish as many novels as you can write, coordinate, and afford in a year. As long as you share your schedule with your editor, formatter, designer, and whomever else you work with, you can publish as many romance novels as you’d like.
6. You can do what you want, within reason, or not.
The selling point of self-publishing for many authors is that you can kind of do whatever you want. While I say this (and it is technically true), I do want to add a word of caution. Yes, you can do what you want, but there are still genre standards that readers expect, so you should try your best to follow them. If you completely break genre standards, readers may be jarred by your novel, and your novel may have trouble finding its hold in the romance genre. But, when you choose to go with self-publishing, you do have more freedom to make creative choices and make changes only as you see fit. That’s something you won’t get with a traditional publisher. You get creative control over your novel, your formatting, your cover, your book launch, and the promotion of your romance novel. It’s truly amazing the freedom you get with every aspect of your novel by choosing self-publishing.
I fully support choosing to self-publish. I think there are so many amazing authors we get to discover because of this option. But, I do caution that to do well in self-publishing, you have to put in the necessary work.
Most of the authors I’ve spoken with who have chosen to put in the work for their self-published romance novels feel they made the right choice. They don’t regret the track they’ve chosen, and they love how their novels have turned out. They’re growing and becoming more successful all the time on their own terms. And that is the real beauty of self-publishing your romance novel.