There are many different reasons authors choose to self-publish. One of the most prominent is the idea of creative control. Many self-published authors are invested in retaining a greater amount of control over their published works than a traditional publisher might allow. 

But what does creative control really mean, and what does it consist of? While self-publishing is right for many authors, there are many misconceptions surrounding what it means to be in control. Let’s deconstruct this idea and clear some of the fog, shall we?

Creative control requires: 

  • Exceptional instincts for storytelling
  • A strong publishing team that understands your genre and the industry at large
  • The ability to delegate editing and marketing tasks 
  • Willingness to learn the ins and outs of your market 
  • Tenacity and perseverance 

If you’re considering self-publishing and want to know more about what’s involved in a successful indie author career, let’s dive in deeper.

Exceptional Storytelling Instincts 

Because you’re taking the reins of your own author life, you want to be confident in your storytelling abilities. A self-published author assumes all the responsibilities of a publishing house. That means you need to not only have a good story up your sleeve–you also need a keen instinct on what readers are buying in your genre. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be the expert on your story or your market. But, you need to have your finger on the pulse of things enough that you can build a team around you who can help you run with your ideas.

A Team of Experts 

Creative control doesn’t mean calling all the shots with zero input from other professionals. While you have the final call on every decision you make for your author career, you need a team that can help you take your stories to the next level, then get them in front of the right readers. 

No one wants to go it alone. And in an indie author’s case, you don’t need to.

Spending too much time alone with your stories can cause major tunnel vision. It’s way too easy to self-sabotage, lose sight of the big picture, or even just get so close to your work that you can’t view it objectively. 

Instead of trying to build your author career in a vacuum, build a team around yourself. Choose trustworthy experts who have deep industry knowledge. Editors who will help you make your stories the best they can be. Experienced graphic designers who know your genre. Marketers who know what sells and how to get it in front of the right people. Coaches who can guide you through each step of the process and cheer you on along the way. 

Every team looks different. You might bring an editor onboard who can coach you a bit on marketing. Or, you might bring a handful of people into your author world.

The only hard, fast rule is to get the support you need to execute successful creative control, whatever that looks like. 

The beauty of choosing your team is that you get to take your time choosing individuals who you trust. You get to pick the marketers you mesh well with, the designer whose work you love, or the editor you trust to help you develop the best stories possible. And, you have the power to let go of those professional relationships that don’t serve you or your books. The power goes both ways. 

The Last Word on the Last Word

Taking on the responsibilities of a publishing house is a weight of responsibility. But for so many self-published authors, it’s also exciting to take the reins. Just remember that getting the last word on your work means intentionally setting yourself up for success 

You’re the architect of your author life. You get to build your dream team around your books then put them out into the world. That’s what creative control is all about, and that’s pretty amazing

Need help plotting out your author life? Hit us up. We’re a team of experienced editors, coaches, designers, and marketing experts who are passionate about helping authors build their dream publishing careers. Get in touch here.  

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