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The Millenial: Tamsyn Bester Reveals the Secrets of Self-Publishing

Don’t be fooled by her young age – Tamsyn Bester, at 25, is a powerhouse of self-publishing. Having self-published nearly a dozen books, Tamsyn knows her way around the often quagmire of self-publishing. Knowing that in such a competitive industry it takes hard work and a passion for writing to get her novels out there, Tamsyn – like many self-published authors – feels that it’s personal when pirates illegally download her books. MUSO had a chance to chat with Tamsyn about what her dos and don’ts are of the publishing world and what more could be done to stop piracy.Tamsyn Bester, at 25, is a powerhouse of self-publishing. Having self-published nearly a dozen books, Tamsyn knows her way around the often quagmire of self-publishing. Knowing that in such a competitive industry it takes hard work and a passion for writing to get her novels out there, Tamsyn – like many self-published authors – feels that it’s personal when pirates illegally download her books. MUSO had a chance to chat with Tamsyn about what her dos and don’ts are of the publishing world and what more could be done to stop piracy.

What is your preferred online distributor (Amazon, Smashwords etc) and how has your experience been with them?

Definitely Amazon. Aside from a few minor issues, which is to be expected, my experience with them have been the most pleasant of the online retailers I make use of.

What inspired you to get into self-publishing?

I love reading, and after I started my book blog, someone suggested I write my own novel. I had no idea what to expect, least of all finding my passion. I haven’t looked back since then.

What do you see to be the pros and cons of self-publishing?

The biggest con would be that people are under the impression it’s a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. It’s not. Getting your own book published, from start to finish, can be a costly exercise, especially if you have the right people. Another con is that the responsibility to market yourself, and your book(s) is yours, and yours alone. It’s a competitive industry to be in, and unless you can set yourself apart from everyone else, you’ll be just another indie author. The biggest pro would be having complete control over the publishing process, and access to your royalties. You determine your success, as well as your failure.

What has your experience been with online piracy?

Like most authors, it hasn’t been pleasant to have your work copied, and distributed online for free. I have lost a significant amount of my income, and it has left me disheartened to know we can never be rid of piracy entirely.

Do you think online piracy is a major problem in the self-publishing industry and will continue to be in the future?

Yes. Because of the advancement of technology, and the increase in usage of eBooks/eReaders, it has become easier than ever to illegally copy books/documents. With few ways of prevention, it is difficult to control. The use of online social media as a way to distribute and share illegal files also makes it harder to detect the source of the problem.

In your opinion, is there more than could be done to prevent online piracy?

In all honesty, I feel that the online distributors should do more to prevent the ease of access individuals have to eBooks who do not purchase them. Until people stop the illegal distribution, piracy will continue to be a problem.

Any tips for on aspiring writers who wish to get into the self-publishing market?

Write your book. Have it edited. Rewrite it. And then publish. Be prepared to put the work in, lay out the capital, and keep your expectations realistic. This industry is competitive, and as long as you’re venturing into self-publishing for the right reasons you will succeed.

In your opinion, how do see you the self-publishing market developing in the next couple of years?

As of right now the industry is oversaturated, and the more it develops, the harder it will become to enter. Big industry players like Amazon, and your Big 5 Traditional publishers will start implementing their own strategies to gain monopoly over the market, which in turn will affect the people (like me) who do this for a living. Each year, when the business cycle essentially starts over, it will become more challenging to enter the self-publishing industry, and make it big the same way authors like Abbi Glines and Colleen Hoover have.

What book inspired you to become a writer?

Beautifully Broken by Amanda Bennett. It was the first self-published book I read, and I had no idea how it would change my life.

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