Gatekeeepers in Self-Publishing A Book

In the world of human beings concentrating on picking problems around them and turning their solutions into successful and innovative start-ups, writers aren’t left behind. A field of publishing that has long been considered an exclusive and invite-only entry for writers is now open to all the creative minds who want their ideas to see the light of the day and the warmth of the reader’s hands. Self-publishing is that last hammer into the nail on the wall of fame for writers that has changed how publishing has been perceived until now. Though the struggles of being a traditionally published author make for a highly inspirational story of success post their myriad manuscript rejections, the reverse of it has also broken the hearts and dreams of writers who could have been successful if not judged prematurely by a few people. One can Google to read such hopeless tales, but the point is, wouldn’t it be fair to first allow the work to be out and then fail than not let it out at all? Traditional publishing can’t be expected to be a philanthropic service, and hence, self-publishing is the best alternative to consider. The most fortunate thing about this decade is that it is not just an alternative but quite a fruitful and hopeful one.

According to a January 30, 2023 article by Nicholas Rizzo on (a non-commercial, international research data and analytics group), the number of self-published books has increased by 264% in the last five years, making $1.25 billion a year, out of which Amazon alone pays $520 million in royalties to self-published authors each year. It is not as much about the 300 million self-published books sold each year as it is about the number of dreams being fulfilled. As the pandemic shifted readers to digital reading mode, self-publishing on KDP became an upward trend, because of which 30–34% of all e-books sold were self-published. As a woman self-published author, it gives me immense pleasure to share that, according to the above-mentioned survey, 67% of top-rated, self-published books are written by women, compared to just 39% of traditionally published books.

As the one who has self-published a book after becoming four decades old, I can tell that the only muscle that a writer needs to work on more than anything else is resilience. You need to keep writing, keep believing in yourself, and hit that self-publish button when you're ready. Reaching the last stage involves a lot of hard work: researching your topic, developing characters, ruthless editing, finding alpha and beta readers for feedback, and on-the-brink-of-madness level marketing. But then, who ever said that anything worth achieving would be easy?

In reality, it appears that the effort has paid off. A survey commissioned by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) (published on found that the average income from self-published authors increased 53% in 2022 compared to 2021, revealing the surprising revelation that independent authors earn on average more than authors published by traditional houses. While it is true that this trend wasn't anticipated a few years ago, it is not difficult to foresee that it will continue. Orna Ross, Director of ALLi, expressed her hope that the survey's findings would demonstrate that self-publishing is a practical choice for authors and that authors are aware that they can succeed if they put in the necessary effort.

If I were to choose five lessons, I've learned from being an independently published author for the previous five months, they would be as follows:

  1. A wicked temptress beckoning you to binge-watch a series and take showers by the name of procrastination is the biggest witch to fight for an author. Each day, an author mindset tells the want-to-be author, "Sorry, not today; today I write."
  2. There is no better platform than Amazon KDP, but if you are an Indian author, you need to go through some other platform to self-publish paperbacks in India. Thus, as an Indian author, you can self-publish an e-book through KDP but need to find another platform for paperbacks.
  3. Marketing your book is your sole responsibility, and as a writer, you must learn to take pride in it. You wanted to be a writer. You are one today. The next thing you would ever want is for people to read and appreciate it. Take that next step.
  4. If there is anything more difficult than expert-level Sudoku, then it is the process of editing. While editing is a gruelling and time-consuming process, it is really worth it as it makes your writing crisp and palatable, as you would expect a good book to be. Perhaps George Bernard Shaw said it best when, upon sending a letter to a close friend, he wrote, "I’m sorry this letter is so long; I didn’t have time to make it shorter."
  5. Read as much as you can. If you want to be a writer, you can learn the craft by imbibing it from its source. I have often found most of my mistakes in writing by reading other authors' writings. It is unnecessary to just read in the field where you write. That sometimes kills originality, but it does help to read a lot of variety from unrelated themes and resources. The muse of inspiration for a writer isn’t on one page; it is on whatever he read and made of it in the years of his reading.

To conclude, I would say that a self-published writer’s brain is full of little gifts and many demons. The truth is, it’s demons that keep a tortured writer’s spirit alive, and the gifts that keep the story stirring the soul. So, treat your demons of fear, anxiety, and writer’s block with the respect they deserve and with enough prescriptions of reading more, writing more, and thinking more to keep you on the path of becoming an author.

About the Author

Dr Suman Siwach is an author, Director (ELT) Training & Development at Youniversity Prep, Cambridge Learning Partner, Hyderabad. Suman is a Ph.D & university Gold Medallist in Englsih Literature. She is a Quora Top writer (2018), a certified IELTS & Soft Skills trainer with a vast experience. Her book “Gazala: A Hopeful Tale from a War-Torn World” has been featured on international book recommendation websites such as bookskibo travelfiction, and has won ‘Bharat Vibhushan’ award from Editorial board of ‘National Book of Records’.

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  • Your article is so inspiring for budding writers. Going through established publishing houses is daunting experience. To a non writer like me who has myriads of wool gathering ideas in mind, your write up has kindled a hope. Dr Suman don't be surprised if I send a draft to you for editing and making it readable. Loved your article. Nimmi Dhillon
  • Inspiring, interesting and informative. Commendable job Suman. More power to your pen Keep writing
  • This article really helps aspiring writers to take the next step and also give them kind of roadmap which can help them get started with their journey. It is one of the strength of Dr. Suman to articulate and convey things in a way that is best suited for the target audience. Her deep knowledge and understanding on human phycology and absolute command on her subject is truly impressive and inspiring at the same time. Looking forward to read more such articles and books from her !
  • Author Dr. Suman siwach has surely great understanding of the human psychology and ofcourse putting all that in writing in this modern era. The way she styles her words with emotions and fine writing, that is commendable.. apart from writing, understanding author's setbacks and siting out the common problem and coming up with solutions is another level of understanding.. m sure, these encouraging words will benefit the other authors to go ahead with self publishing of their original work