Why choose self-publishing?

As the release date for SARAH & KATY AND THE IMAGINATION BLANKETS draws closer, the question has sprung from family and friends, “What made you decide to self-publish?”

The decision to pursue traditional versus self-publishing ultimately depends on the mission of the book. Each author has a different goal for a book, such as:

  • Spreading and sharing an idea.
  • Entertaining others with a story.
  • Imparting information (especially in non-fiction).
  • Catharsis (memoir).

For SKIB, the intention of the book was to be a Christmas gift for my nieces. When others read excerpts and heard the premise, they encouraged a wider release of the book. However, the original mission remained intact: to tell an imaginative tale targeted toward 7- to 10-year-olds with a special twist for my family.

For that mission, self-publishing was the best fit, particularly when it comes to controlling the deadlines.

If I had pitched SKIB via the traditional publishing route, I would first have to secure an agent to pitch the book to a publisher. The process of finding an agent could have lasted more than a year. From there, the hunt for a publisher could be lengthy, after which the publishing process could be another one to two years.

Needless to say, my nieces would be preteens by the time a traditionally published book hit the shelves.

Independent publishing platforms also offer more control over creative process. By day, I am a magazine and news designer. Self-publishing allows me to put those design skills to work and take control over the production process. Every cover design and interior layout decision belongs to me.

This gives the added bonus of choosing my own illustrator, which allows me to introduce the endlessly talented Hannah (Jackson) Jones to the world of children’s literature. Her artistic vision brings stories to life in a platform beyond words.

Both forms of publishing — traditional and independent — fulfill various missions. Traditional publishing has the advantage of marketing and public relations teams, but for SKIB, a small-scale release without the power of a publishing house promotions team is OK.

As long as Sarah and Katy smile, I’ll stamp the book as “mission accomplished.”

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