THE MYTHS OF SELF-PUBLISHING by Janelle RileyLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Janelle T. Riley as she shares with us “THE MYTHS OF SELF-PUBLISHING.” Enjoy!


There seems to be a misconception when it comes to self-publishing.

The hatred indie writers face on a daily basis is a bit disheartening, and yet we’re treated as if we were unwanted stepchildren in the world of writing. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that everything you ever heard about self-publishing is not at all true.

Here are a few myths I’ve heard so often as an indie author:

Myth #1: Self-Publishing Is for Authors Who Can’t Get an Agent or Land a Deal with a Publishing Company 

©HbrH @Stock Photos MYTH #1The first time I self-published my novel, I received the following question: “Why did you self-publish your novel? Was it because you received too many rejections?” 

On the contrary. I self-published to have my stories out and to have full control over my brand. Not to mention I’m able to keep all monies that come my way rather than shell out to an agent or procure a cut from a publishing company. 

I don’t worry about stressful deadlines and I’m also able to write how I like without having my voice changed for the better of any company.

This is in no way a failure on my part.

I’m still considered a published author, and there’s no shame whatsoever in being an indie author.

Here’s another fun fact: An ever-increasing number of traditional authors, with agents and publishers, have switched to the self-published route due to the reasoning like I’ve stated above.

Myth #2: Self-Published Novels Are Poorly Written and Formatted Incorrectly. 

©Nicky Larson-Stock Vector MYTH #2This couldn’t be further from the truth.

I admit that, in the past, there have been some novels that came off as amateurish, and there were a handful where the formatting wasn’t done in the best way.

This doesn’t mean that all indie novels are like this. 

There are countless self-published authors who took the time to research and properly put their novel together.

It isn’t fair to lump these authors along with the wretched apples—there are great novels out there self-published by extraordinary authors, and their work is outstanding.

Myth #3: Self-Publishing Can Make You Rich Quickly. 

©Thinkstock MYTH #3I laughed at this one for the reason that it is totally false.

You can build a substantial amount from selling your novels, but it’s definitely not going to produce you millions. Yes, you do keep all the money you make from self-publishing, but it’s not going to be your ticket out of poverty or clean up any debts you have. 

The reality is you can take a loved one out to dinner and possibly pay some minor bills, but that is about it. Unless you have a bestseller and your stories are in high demand, or possibly you keep the stories going by producing ten novels a year, then maybe—and that is a genuinely enormous maybe at that—you could be rolling in the dough.

Myth #4: Self-Publishing Is Only for Erotic Writers 

©Photosvit MYTH #4I was amazed at this last one since it was the uncanniest question ever asked of me. The notion is that if you are into naughty novels or books, your best bet is to self-publish your “trashy” novel.

But it’s not true. Tons of agents and publishing houses represent authors of erotic genres. 

Granted, it has become known that those who dabble in erotica are seen to take it to a much darker area. Therefore, some agents won’t bother to take a gander at these with the heavy subject matter, hence why some of these authors take the self-publishing route. Nevertheless, it isn’t always the case.

Don’t Be Scared of Self-Publishing

These myths are only the tip of the iceberg, and they shouldn’t, by all means, hinder you from taking this route if you’re thinking about self-publishing.

You’re not a loser, and you’re definitely no different from any author who chose the traditional route.

Keep the following in mind when it comes to self-authoring:

  1. Write the story
  2. Research all platforms that will fit you as an author
  3. Obtain all resources when it comes to self-publishing (cover art, editors or self-editing, typesetting, etc.)
  4. Take a deep breath, and publish your novel

You got this and I believe in you. Happy writing!


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Janelle RileyJanelle lives in Louisiana with her husband, their three children, and Hamilton their half lab half Rottweiler. Along with writing, she’s a professional photographer and enjoys being outdoors photographing people and nature. When not writing or photographing, she enjoys traveling, drawing, listening to music, and cooking. 

Janelle’s on Twitter @janelletriley1 and Instagram @tejay_riley5

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