Self-publishing is how Hocking got her early success (remember, the traditional publishing houses rejected her pitches) and grew her own fan base. Although her case is unusual, Hocking is not alone in her self-publishing success: John Locke, a 60-year-old Louisville, Ky., businessman-turned-thriller-writer, has now sold more than 1 million Kindle e-books.
It’s hard not to see the allure.
For starters, self-publishing offers an accessible way to grow a fan base and build a name for yourself. “E-books are now a viable way of building your brand and getting word out about your company and expertise,” writes bestselling author Karen Leland in The Huffington Post. Hocking grew her base of readers (up to 500,000) herself, through self-publishing and aggressive marketing using social media like Facebook and Twitter. Because self-published writers aren’t paying hefty fees to their agents and publishing houses, they own the rights to their work, as well as a greater percentage from their sales. “[I] don’t have to pay an agent 15% of everything [I] make,” Kaia Van Zandt, a self-publishing author told Forbes in an explanation titled “Congratulations, Amanda! But I’m sticking to self-publishing.” She added, “You earn more royalties. I’ll get about $6 per copy self-published. But just $1-$2 if I had a publisher.”
Perhaps most important, self-publishing gives writers control. “The self-published author has total control,” says Van Zandt, who chose to self-publish her forthcoming historical novel, “Written in the Ashes.” “I’ve chosen my own editor, my artwork, and my paper. Good luck ever getting that much choice at a publishing house.”