As I write this article I’m listening to Punk Rock, specifically the band Agent Orange. I thoroughly enjoy this genre because of its themes of defying authority and being true to oneself. Yet, the spirit of DIY in Punk speaks to me more and more these days, especially when it comes to content creation. Many of the major music label gatekeepers didn’t see much monetary value in Punk which made those musicians seek independent means to publish and distribute their music. Some even created their own music labels to assist other musicians. When I view the publishing landscape today, the gatekeepers are still there but their hold on content distribution is tenuous due to self-publishing. You can own your content through this avenue in several ways. Here’s how:
There Is A Service To Self-Publish Your Content, No Matter Your Industry
If you are’t sure if there is a service to self-publish your content then all it takes is a quick search. There is a company offering various ways to get your music, comic book, art, poems, and more to the public.
Many of these companies offer digital means to do so, meaning you can publish your art or book in a digital format (like PDF or ePUB) or distribute your music through MP3 files or stream it online. Whatever what you choose, you own your content by keeping control over the copyright and the distribution rights. (Yet, you should always read the fine print of any service to verify that is true. You can never be too careful. And if you’re not sure you can always pay a lawyer to review the company’s terms and service.)
Now, yes, these companies will charge a fee for these services because they invested time and money into their platform. If you rather not pay them and completely do everything yourself to not only own your content but also own all of the profits then that is still possible. You can buy website hosting and sell your work through ecommerce solutions like Shopify or WooCommerce. However, you will still have to pay a fee for processing payments and/or using their software. There’s really no way to get around this completely.
How To Own Your Content Through Self-Publishing
There are many popular services you can use to self-publish your book, album, art, and more.
I know musicians who use SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and even Spotifiy to upload, share, and sell their music. Many sites like these even help musicians promote their events or tours.
If you’re an artist you can use services like DeviantArt or Redbubble to sell your art digitally. You can even sell your physical prints through websites like Etsy or by creating your own website.
For all my writers out there, you can upload and sell your ebooks through popular services like Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. In addition, you can build a following by using sites like Wattpad to share your writing.
These are just a few ways to own your content through self-publishing. Again, use your favorite search engine to find additional services.
Why I Choose To Own My Content Through Self-Publishing
For me, I love having the ability to put my books onto the market for the public to read and/or buy without a middleman. I don’t like someone telling me this book won’t sell or the public doesn’t like this genre because they can be wrong. And sometimes the middlemen don’t know the public like they think they do.
Now this path is difficult, I won’t fool you into thinking otherwise. The DIY path requires the artist to become their own manager and promoter and marketer and salesman while creating their art. Yet, I find that part fun and inspiring at times. I even surprise myself till this day when I put myself out there and get a person interested in my book. The satisfaction I get from seeing that I not only own my content but sold it to the public by myself pushing me to continue on this journey.
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