Should I self-publish on Amazon or this other site where I have a contract and can rank top 10?Answered
Hi, I'm a rising junior! So I am deciding on whether I should self-publish on Amazon or this Chinese site (turned to the international market) where I can get a contract and can rank pretty high for the international market (top 1 is known to earn up to $10k per month). I will also get a personal editor once I sign on this contract of this site. The site itself is pretty unknown for America, but very well-known in China. But Amazon is really well-known in America, but I have no guaranteed success since I pretty much have no money for marketing and it is very unlikely I can sign up with a publisher. However, it might be a small fish, big pond vs big fish, small pond thing when looking at it. Would it look better for colleges for me to self-publish on Amazon without success or an unknown site with more success?
There are a few perspectives at work here, and I want to go beyond just college admissions, because if you’re aiming to write more in the future choices you make right now can have a much more impactful effect on that than they will on what college you get into.
But first, with college, the thing most schools will care about is 1) the amount of time and effort you put into an activity, 2) the level of recognition you received, and 3) the prestige of an activity. So publishing whatever it is you’ve written (stories? a novel? nonfiction?) on the Chinese site you’re mentioning would likely outstrip Amazon in #2, but colleges may view Amazon as a bit more prestigious due to its familiarity. That’s not a hard and fast thing, but most admissions officers will be American with the typical biases you’d expect, and I think it’s fairly likely you’d get a stronger reaction from them with Amazon vs. a site they’ve never heard of. Whereas, for #1, the calculus is likely the same in both cases—having a personal editor would be a nice touch and a good experience to have as a writer, so if everything is equal, I’d probably lean towards the Chinese site.
The more important question here though is what publishing on either site means for the rights to your work. As far as I know (I’ve looked into it in the past), you retain the rights to your work when you publish on Amazon—that means you can withdraw it at any point if you wish, that you can resell it later on, that if at some point someone wanted to adapt it in some way you’d be able to make money off that, and that generally you can control what happens with your work moving forward. I have no idea what that’s like for the Chinese site you’re mentioning, and you should look into that before making this decision. If publishing on the Chinese site involves giving up any of those rights to your work (or future work, which would be particularly sneaky), I would go with Amazon. If they’re the same, then my points above stand.
Based on the information you've given it seems like you'll sell more copies on the Chinese site which is why you should choose it. Anyone can self-publish, but not everyone can sell copies.