The Dangers and Advantages of Self-Publishing

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With the increasing popularity of self-publishing, contemporary authors have more resources at their disposal than ever before. Indie author J. K. Bowden discusses the pro's and con's of taking this route over traditional publishing houses.

J. K. Bowden

Do your research! Don't get too excited and take the first offer you find. There is a lot out there and a lot of people who would love nothing more than to leave you broke and no closer to achieving your goals.

The road to becoming a published author is far from simple. Even with all the possibilities that the internet, e-books and self-publishing provide, most authors will tell you that writing the book is the easiest part of the journey. Often, the most creatively talented people in the world are significantly less able to promote their work than they are to create it in the first place.

In a world where publishing companies are being pushed further and further towards the fringes, authors are being expected to take on greater work-loads than ever before, acting as their own marketing agents, promoters, website-designers and event managers all at once, whilst at the same time trying to produce more books.

Imagine you have just finished your first book. Furthermore, you feel confident that it is of a high standard. In fact, it might be a best-seller! It has all the right ingredients to be, so why not? It might have taken five years, but you know that now that its out there in the world, it is bound to find its way into the right hands and eventually, onto the 'most-popular' shelf right next to your favorite authors. Right?


Jeremy Bowden is just one indie author who knows this struggle all too well. Bowden, who goes by the pen-name J. K. Bowden, has always been a keen reader and avid writer, and views a good story as a "passport to another world." After years of silently working on his action-packed series of dystopian techno-thrillers, entitled 'Bioweapon', he was keen to dive headlong into the world of self-publishing, both as a way of pushing his work out into the world as quickly as possible, and as a way of keeping creative control along the entire publishing process. He admits he may have rushed things in his excitement, and has paid the price financially as a result.

"The biggest risk is being ripped off on marketing and publishing packages. Do your research! Don't get too excited and take the first offer you find. There is a lot out there and a lot of people who would love nothing more than to leave you broke and no closer to reaching your goals."

With so many indie authors producing works of varying standards, how does one make a truly amazing story stand out from the multitude of independent works being produced each and every day? Seven months after the release of his first novel in the Bioweapon Series - 'New Beginnings' - Bowden is beginnings to realize just how difficult the road to success through self-publishing really is, and like so many struggling artists he is waiting to see the investments he has made come full circle.

"It is early days," he says, "And it is comforting to know that even mid-ranged published authors, with agents and publishing houses behind them, are still forced to do much of the same work for themselves that I am doing. Promotion, networking, arranging book launches... I even built my own website from scratch. But then, some of my favorite authors started out independent. I am just happy to have books in print and a growing base of readers craving more. And more is coming. Very soon."

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