There have always been creative people, but the rapid advance of information technology and mass communications means the opportunities now exist to announce our creativity to the world like never before. Whether you are a musician or a still life artist, a songwriter or a graphic designer, there is a vehicle out there through which to share your work with your intended audience at the click of a button on a search engine.
Probably no area of creative expression has been so revolutionised by recent technology as that of the written word. Writers, even some very good ones, have long been hostages to the whim of the traditional publisher, whose instinct to discard the blood and sweat of those seeking to make a living by getting their life’s work into print so that somebody, somewhere might have the opportunity to appreciate it at times seems almost gratuitous. The list of major works, some of them even classics, which were initially rejected by publishers is long and would still be growing – were it not for the timely arrival on the scene of Print on Demand, or self-publishing.
There is No Minimum Requirement
Self-publishing is fairly much what it says on the tin. First you write a book, then you upload it, then it appears on a publishing platform such as Amazon for anybody to buy and read. Some platforms such as Amazon’s own CreateSpace provide templates to assist with the formatting process or with such things as cover design but, for better or worse, the finished product is your own. Modern print technology enables the publishing platform to make a profit on a single sale, which is printed only if and when an order comes in so there is no minimum number of orders required before the project becomes viable.
Better still, we now have the eBook. Many self-published authors record the majority of their sales from eBooks. Because no paper or physical printing is involved the royalty for the writer is greater when a buyer downloads your book to read on their laptop or Kindle.
You are the Proofreader and the Promoter
By way of managing expectations creative writing is not, for most people, the realisation of all their financial dreams. It is an income stream, rather like freelancing, bonus scalping with sportsbooks or responding to online surveys. No more. What it also is though is a unique opportunity to announce your creativity to the world, to place your talents in the shop window for others to see and to appreciate.
There is a downside, of course, as there usually is. With no publisher involved and nobody else with a financial interest in your efforts nobody is going to help or advise you unless it is somebody you know or someone you are paying. If your book contains spelling mistakes or punctuation errors then that is how it will appear to the unwitting reader. And, needless to say, it is incumbent upon the writer to promote the work, in the face of competition from literally millions of others around the world who will have followed the same path.
Nevertheless, with careful planning and faith in your creative skills you can at last realise your dream of writing a book in the full knowledge that it is going to end up in print, and then use your contacts and your social media portfolio to advertise and sell it. Working from home as a writer is now, at last, a wholly realistic option.