Recent years have seen a huge spike in the number of self-publishing authors. As with anything, this new method has some major benefits, but it also has some drawbacks too.
Let’s begin with the good things self-publishing has to offer.
The market is very full right now for authors trying to become published the traditional way. Not only that, but there’s a lot of red tape set up which can make it extremely time-consuming and energy-consuming to get published. With self-publishing, you can publish as soon as you’re done writing.
Publishers will often force authors to make changes to the look or presentation of the book or will make adjustments without even consulting the author, taking away a lot of creative control. Self-publishing gives the author all creative control, allowing them to make changes and decisions without consulting anybody else.
This one is both a positive and a negative (keep reading to find out how). Traditional publishers often put hard deadlines on authors, pushing them to finish their book by a certain date. Self-publishing allows you to publish when you’re ready, no sooner, and also no later.
Publishers need to make their cut on your book too, so your royalties are often a fraction of the book’s actual selling price. With self-publishing, the author receives almost all of their book’s sale price, minus a small amount for the company through which the book was published. The company (for example, Amazon) will tell you how much their commission is for the book, and the author sets the price, essentially deciding how much they want to get from the sale of each book.
With the good comes the bad. Consider these things before choosing self-publishing.
There are a lot of things that publishers actually cover up-front when they agree to publish your book. This can include things like editors, cover designers, proofreaders, and other professionals who will bring your book to professional quality. Without the publisher, the author is responsible for paying these people upfront, and it isn’t always cheap. You can end up paying upwards of $5,000 before you’ve even sold a copy of your book. Depending on a lot of factors, it could take some time to make that money back.
I told you I would come back to this. While it might feel nice to have the pressure taken off, you could also be shooting yourself in the foot. Without pressure, you might just as easily be able to put off publishing indefinitely. Authors are notorious perfectionists, and having a strict deadline forces you to put down the pen and let it go. When the deadline is in your hands, you can end up on an endless loop of “just one more run through”.
Marketing is all on you
Publishers have a lot of say in where your book is displayed and other marketing decisions. Without them, it’s up to you to make sure your book is marketed efficiently. This puts a lot of extra work on your shoulders, as the author, and can sometimes be more difficult than expected.
Ready to publish?
Let’s get it done.