Years ago, writing a book and getting published were two different worlds, and even Harry Potter didn’t make the cut of several publishers. Today, writers can skip the publishers and get their work out to the masses, and there are several ways of doing so.
Online Writing Platforms
Sites that host amateur authors have bloomed in the past few years. The trend started in Asia, particularly Japan and China. Countless authors gained fame and fortune for writing eastern fantasy fiction in serialized form. Readers can support authors through site membership and donations or even directly through membership platforms like Patreon or SubscribeStar.
Most online writing platforms typically target young adult audiences, making works a little bit unpolished. Writing for an online platform requires no fees. Sites will host your work for the traffic, and you can provide a link to your Patreon account. The biggest online platform writers are earning close to $20,000 a month.
Of course, you’ll need to convince readers to follow your work. Most writers will hoard 20 or more chapters (usually 2,000 words or more words per chapter) before releasing, and then continue writing 4-5 additional chapters per week. Your audience will be young and forgiving, and you’ll only need a fun and light-hearted story to succeed. Start by browsing the works on Scribblehub, RoyalRoad, or a popular author’s website. Reading successful works can give you an inkling, or you can do your own thing and see if it works.
Before, publishers took risks when printing a book. There was no way to gauge interest, and printing more books than buyers can leave them gathering dust in a bookstore. Today, publishers can get a copy of your book in PDF form, printing copies only when there is a demand. Most publishers with print-on-demand systems will cover publishing, storing, sales, and shipping, leaving you with very little to do aside from submitting your final work.
Of course, the convenience will cut into your profit margins. Printing at lower volume coupled with individual shipping can be expensive. Print-on-demand is best for authors who write for the pleasure of it and want their work to be published, either for name recognition or a little prestige.
Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer readers a chance to fund unpublished (sometimes unwritten) works. Crowdfunding sites are popular with comic book authors, drawing names like Ethan Van Scriver (X-Men and Green Lantern), Brian Pulido (Lady Death, Purgatori), and many others. Even actor Keanu Reeves published his comics BRZRKR, raking in close to$1.5 million, making it the most successful comic project of 2020.
While competing with professionals may seem daunting, first-time author and publisher Richard Meyer held one of the earliest and most successful comic book campaigns without prior experience. Frustrated by how comic books were losing their edge, Meyer launched his own project. His comic book project Jawbreakers garnered more than $400,000 in support, proving comic book fans will support a comic with a good story and accompanying art regardless of the publisher.
Launch Your Book on Your Own
If you have the confidence (or the followers/fanbase), you can choose to go self-publish your book. Of course, self-publishing doesn’t mean you handle every aspect of launching your book (although you can do that with a bit of effort). Most writers will work with a self-publishing company, and the publisher can provide their field of experts for editing, layouts, and illustrations. They will also provide you with several books commensurate to your investment.
Once you have your books from the publisher, it’s up to you to sell or distribute them. Publishers will have minimal to no control over your content, so you can self-publish anything, from poetry books to recipes for apple pie. Popular books like Eragon (Inheritance Cycle) and Fifty Shades of Grey — which both received a movie adaptation — started as self-published novels. Both authors earned fame and fortune without relying on established publishing companies with stricter guidelines on publishing.
Anyone with a computer, inspiration, and due diligence can get their work out into the open for everyone to see. The hardest steps are the first one, so start writing and take a leap of faith.