If you look around, there is no doubt that art and media change a little more every day. Styles change, techniques become more advanced, and floods of content from artists and designers fill out feeds. And in just over a few years, self-publication of work has gained immense momentum, with new ways to push out your own projects all on your own.
So how has self-publication changed the media landscape?
No More Dealing With Content and Media Gatekeepers
If you’re an artist, designer, or anyone who needs content pushed out—there is nothing more ideal than to be able to do it on your own, with no gatekeepers in the industry.
Just like any other field, content creation can be incredibly difficult to get into, especially if there is an added hurdle of convincing someone to publish your work. Whether it’s a website, article, design, or photograph, it can feel like you’re creating for others more than yourself. However, with today’s many ways of self-publication, it has finally put the power back into the artist’s hands—and minds.
Artists and Designers Are Earning More Money
With self-publication also comes another great benefit—money.
If you’re looking to get your work out with a publisher, especially a well-known publisher, be prepared to fork over a lot of money. And I mean a lot. So much so, that you’ll likely end up owing potentially thousands in production costs if you’re producing something physical – no joke.
If your medium is something digital, you won’t have to worry about print costs, but be ready to face exceedingly high fees and low royalties. However, if you self-publish, even on Amazon for print, these will be negated, and your work will be more lucrative than a traditional gatekeeper.
New Ideas, Techniques, and Styles Are Emerging
If you’re a true artist, you’ll appreciate the next benefit of self-publication—the introduction of designs and works that normally wouldn’t see the light of day.
One of the biggest pitfalls of traditional publishers is the gatekeeping of works, styles, or techniques that are not in the norm, or are considered “out of fashion.” And while trends come and go, publishers are there to make money, and they’re not going to release, or put capital so something they won’t see a return potential on.
This is when self-publishing comes in.
Going this route gives you the incredible ability to literally post anything you want to get out into the public, including styles and works that some companies see as irrelevant. All of this leading to a wave of new art styles based on experimental techniques, and untraditional writing styles.
Putting the Rights Back in the Artist’s Hands
Finally, and most importantly, let’s talk about the rights to your work.
More than anything else, this is something you should seriously consider if you plan on going with a publisher—ensure that everything is crossed and you know exactly what is happening to the rights of your works, and what the owner can do with them. Often, contracts can be aggressive, requiring the artist to surrender all rights to the work, including derivatives. This can seriously cause some issues later on, and all your hard work will no longer be yours.
And while companies are starting to write and agree to lighter contracts, allowing the artist to keep their rights, it’s still something that needs to be carefully thought out.
If you don’t want to deal with any of this, self-publish, and feel safe knowing what’s yours is yours—forever.
The age of the internet has created some amazing things, and if you’re a designer, writer, photographer, or anyone who needs something published, you’re in luck. Self-publishing has completely changed the media landscape, creating a level playing field for anyone looking to release their work.
Do your research, and determine if self-publishing is right for you. It may be a stiffer and harder way to get started, but it can pay dividends in the end, and give you legal piece of mind knowing your work is your own.
You never know what you can create, maybe even a website like this one!