Bill Thompson Advocates For Self-Publishing

Author discusses how to be your own boss

March 31, 2023

When authors are done writing a book, many struggle to find a publisher and can spend months being turned away. This is why lots of authors, such as Bill Thompson, are self-publishing to avoid the drain on resources and energy.

Thompson, a self-published author, has experienced the difficulties of finding a publisher, until he started working with Amazon to release his own books.

In his LitFest presentation, he spoke in-depth about the ups and downs of self-publishing and why it may not be the path for everyone. 

Thompson first spoke on how the introduction of publishing directly through Amazon in 2009 was revolutionary for authors. 

Before self-publishing was introduced, there were few ways to be published and they generally required much more work, but with Amazon, authors can make lots of money with little difficulty. He explained that, since then, there have been many new options for self-publishing, but many still choose to work with Amazon.

One thing that enhanced the workshop was Thomspon’s clear expertise. He spoke without a written presentation, making it seem more like a discussion rather than a lecture. I learned a lot in a very short time because of this method. 

Eventually, Thompson transitioned to speaking about the negative aspects of self publishing. 

He explained that it is significantly more difficult to self-publish books as opposed to traditionally publishing books because you are running your own business. Having to keep track of the money you owe the government through taxes, setting your own deadlines, getting cover art and calculating sales tax can be incredibly time consuming and difficult if the authors have no experience with business management. 

Furthermore, these authors have to provide their own legal protection.

In addition to this, self-published authors have to get the resources publishing firms already have. They have to hire editors, beta readers and cover artists. 

Despite this, self-published authors are able to make a higher percentage of income from their book sales. Traditional authors tend to only get 20-30% royalties on their books, which is how they make money, but Thompson has gotten 70% of royalties because he is self-published.

At one point in the presentation, Thomspon passed around a sheet of paper for us to put our email on so we could get a free audiobook version of his self-published novel, which was quite generous and a strategic marketing method.

After he spent a good amount of time discussing these topics, he moved to the riveting topic of questions. He got in depth questions from the teachers and students alike. 

Overall, Thompson’s presentation was well-prepared and left me extremely knowledgeable in the world of self-publishing.

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