Jane Green is not someone you would think of as a self-publisher. She’s the author of New York Times best-selling novels The Beach House and Second Chance and is generally considered, along with Helen Fielding, one of the founders of the Chick Lit genre. But when Green, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, wrote Good Food, drawing on stories from her life and the food that runs through them. filled with recipes and photos, she decided to publish it herself.
Green told Galley Cat’s Vicki Salemi in a recent interview that, even with her status as a best-selling author, “I had absolutely no idea if anyone would be interested in a cookbook. So I started to think about self-publishing.”
Green acknowledged her awareness of the stigma sometimes attached to self-publishing, but added, “I think that the entire model of the publishing world has changed and doing what you’ve always done and expecting to get what you’ve always got no longer works.”
In the process of self-publishing Good Taste, she had to find out how the new model works.
“It’s been a fascinating learning curve,” said Green. “ What I’ve come to learn with self-publishing is that if you want to provide readers with something of equal quality, it requires the same amount of time and expense. I could have self-published and thrown something together and turned it up online but I didn’t want to do that; I wanted to create something that looked really beautiful and had lasting value.”
Green’s experience illustrates an important lesson for authors who want to self-publish. Producing a self-published book of quality equal to that of a traditionally published book requires the same professional skills any big publishing would bring to the job.
Self-publishing does not equal do it yourself!
A recent study by the digital strategy, training and content firm, Taleist, reported by Forbes demonstrated why self-publishing authors should seek professional editing, book design, and publishing assistance. The survey found that:
Authors getting help with editing, copyediting and proofreading earned 13% more than average.
Authors who also added design services could expect to earn 34% more than average.
Authors who did their own story editing, copy editing, proofreading, and cover design did slightly worse, making only 38% of the average.
So, as Jane Green’s decision to publish Good Taste herself illustrates, self-publishing offers an increasingly valid option for any author. Success with that option depends on making sure you have access to the professional skills it takes to produce a bookstore quality book.