There is a war going on, and it involves clashing publishing forms: self-publishing versus publishers. I have published books both ways, and in my experience, there is a clear winner. Before revealing that winner, let me break down each process.
I self-published my first book in high school. All expenses were my own, but all profits (often not the case) were also my own. I hired someone to format the book on a freelancing website and worked many hours perfecting that book. Once it was time to publish, that was on me too. I published through CreateSpace, and the process was tough navigating through all the parameters to successfully publish a book, from figuring out proper formatting for book size to eBook conversion. After that, I had to promote and market my book. I was so excited that I was finally a published author, only….it felt like no one else saw it that way. Being self-published gave me no notoriety. I remember how embarrassed I was when I called a bookstore hoping to do a reading and they said that self-published authors were not allowed to do readings at their shop. Every other bookstore I contacted said the same thing. But it wasn’t just the shops who did not take my self-published work seriously. People had the attitude that it was “cute” that I published my own book at such a young age, but none went “wow.” Not to mention my profits or lack thereof. Being my own publisher meant that I had few resources to promote my book, which meant fewer sales for me. That is why when I wrote my next book, I knew it needed to be published with a publisher.
Finding a publisher is not an easy task, but I was fortunate enough to be signed by VIP Ink Publishing, a mid-sized publisher out of Louisiana. The week after I was signed, I was asked what I wanted my cover to look like, and then VIP created that cover. A short while after later, I was sent my files after they were carefully edited and formatted. Following that, I received my proof in the mail. The process was already better than self-publishing. I did not have to worry about how to hire someone to format my book or how to edit it properly. VIP did that for me. The best part was when I told people that my book was being published by VIP, I got the ‘wow.’ Bookshops approached me about having signings there. While of course there are profits to share with VIP and expenses that had to be recouped, I and my book are in much better shape than they were when I self-published. I have less worries and more notoriety.
That is why I started GenZ Publishing. I was fortunate to have VIP publish my book, but there are too few companies out there that publish authors like myself.
You pave the way for the future with the pride of having someone else believe enough in your work to publish it.
The main criticism that GenZ gets is that we recoup a portion of expenses from authors’ royalties. Those writers would have to pay every cent out of pocket if they were self-publishing while not getting the recognition or having the reach that we have. Another criticism we get is that we require our authors to purchase author copies of their books, but this is for the simple fact that we want them to do those bookstore readings that I didn’t get to do when I was self-published. I want them to walk into a university or bookshop with their book copies in hand and sign them for readers, so that they can get the amazing pride that comes with being a published author. So to answer the above question: publishing wins out over self-publishing in every way possible. Nothing beats a reader approaching you after a reading and stating how much you inspire them.
Being published by a publisher, even if there are not great profits for the author, paves the way for future opportunities. Young people and new writers do not seem to command the respect that many deserve for their writing unless they are published by someone other than themselves. Anyone can self-publish anything, no matter how grammatically incorrect, poorly formatted, or weak their content is. A first grader can self-publish their spelling test, but a publishing company wants to be successful and makes sure that each book is something that the world would like to read.
And that is why I write.
GenZ Publishing Founder