As a fairly new member of the Hillcrest team, and someone originally not that familiar with self-publishing, I have been the most surprised by the diversity of our books and our authors. We work on books with a wide assortment of subjects and genres. Our authors are people of all walks of life and they have a variety of reasons for choosing self-publishing. As a book publicist, I personally welcome this variety.
I’ve spoken with many non-fiction authors, who are experts in their fields and tell me they have chosen self-publishing because of the freedom it allows to write about the subject matter of their expertise. This could be anything ranging from business to business marketing, open ocean sailing, cooking Korean food, SEO optimization, paracord fusion ties, how to get kids involved in politics, or puppy potty training. Regardless of the subject, someone like this, with a particular adeptness at a skill, and the ability to communicate effectively (write) often feels an urge to share that knowledge, and I think rightly so. Traditional publishers, especially the large ones, would probably simply reject these books and authors, even though they have completely valid reasons to publish a book, and come with a built in audience and platform. (Two of the most important aspects of marketing a book, I might add.)
Another reason many authors have told me they chose to self-publish is that they wanted to have control over the whole process and the end result. Although we help and advise our authors extensively throughout the process, they ultimately approve the exact content of their book as well as the final appearance of the book cover. Beyond that, authors tell me they prefer self-publishing because they keep all of their royalties (with Hillcrest anyway.) This seems like a no-brainer to me! For example, a successful CEO who wants to share their wisdom about running a business, or an expert medical practitioner who has specific expertise to pass along can easily do so without sharing the profits. They worked hard in their field and hard on their book. In my mind, they deserve all of the profits when the book sales take off.
For many people I know or talk to, writing a book is a lifetime goal. Nothing can compare to holding your own professionally bound book in your hands. More and more it seems traditional publishers are only interested in books capable of extremely high volume sales by authors with best sellers already on their resume. It is left up to self-publishers to help other authors meet their goals, and get great books out in the world for readers who want them.
I have been so pleasantly surprised by this variety since joining the Hillcrest Team. Not only does it make my job marketing books so much fun, it makes the literary world a much better place overall. How boring would it be if you went to browse your favorite bookstore, either physically or online, and there were only best sellers to choose from?
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