Here are some advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing...
by Jon Waterman on 25-05-2021
This is Sally (ignore that 'by Jon Waterman' above!) and I'm writing about how to self-publish a book in Ireland. Read on to hear about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, plus I’ll give some real life examples of where self-publishing is a better route for you to take than traditional publishing. Lastly I will be doing more videos and blog posts on how to self-publish a book step by step; covering areas like preparing to self-publish, how hard is it to self publish a book, how long does it take to self publish a book, how much does it cost to self publish a book and how to self publish a book and make money. If you prefer to watch a video about this you are in luck because I made one!
#1: Creative Control
Although this isn't the case for everyone, many traditionally published authors don’t get any say in big decisions about their book. When you publish the traditional route it's quite possible that you might have no say about your book’s final cover design, title, blurb, and even where your book will be stocked. Whereas when you self-publish, you are always in full control of every aspect of your book.
#2: Higher Royalty Rates
Unfortunately I've some bad news to break to you, if you get a traditional book deal that doesn't mean you get to keep every cent your book makes. In fact, you might take home as little as 10% of the royalties your book makes. This is because your agent and publishing house will take their cut of the royalties from book sales first. However if you self-publish you keep 100% of your book’s profits (which means you can channel a vibe like below)
#3: A quicker publishing process
The traditional publishing process is quite slow, it can take anywhere from one to two and a half years to go from signing your book deal to actually releasing your book. Whereas if you decide to self-publish you decide in what timeframe you want to publish.
#4: No barriers to entry
Breaking into the traditional publishing industry is extremely difficult. You could face tens, dozens, maybe even hundreds of rejections from both agents and publishing houses before getting a book deal. An example of this is JK Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter series was rejected 12 times by different publishing houses. This luckily isn't the case if you self-publish, you can publish what you want, when you want, without any of those worries.
#5: Greater opportunity for niche publishing
Traditional publishing follows standards and trends and if your book does not fit a genre standard or is a sub-genre that maybe isn’t selling well in the market place it will reduce your chances of getting a book deal. If you self-publish you don't have to compromise on your idea and write something ‘trendy’ just because that’s what’s selling in the marketplace now.
If you self-publish you’ll have to pay upfront for different services in order to produce your book, which can make producing on your own expensive. However there is a silver lining here, if your book is relevant to an organisation like a charity, foundation or community association they often are willing to fund book production costs which means less of a financial burden for you.
#2: Having the right team behind you
You are responsible for picking your team that will help you bring your book to life. You pick if you want an editor, a cover designer, who will print it etc. all those decisions are left up to you which can be a blessing and a curse. Trying to find reputable companies and freelancers whose work you can trust and afford can be hard without prior research or connections in the industry.
#3: Self-publishing stigma
There was some stigma about self-publishing in the past. I believe that’s changed a lot especially in recent years after some really big successes by self-published authors. Some examples are Christopher Paolini who wrote the Inheritance Cycle, Andy Weir who wrote The Martian and possibly the most well-known self-publishing success story is E.L. James who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey. I now think it’s a much more credible route for writers and that stigma isn’t really there anymore.
#4: Operating as a business
When you are a self-published author you, the person, are the brand and your book that you’ve written is considered your product and you are responsible for coordinating your team, making the book happen, building your reputation, making sales and handling the financial matters behind the project and while that can actually be really enjoyable for some people, it’s not for everyone. It means that authors can’t just view themselves as purely an artist rather more on an entrepreneur.
In summary self-publishing can be really really great if you know what you’re getting into and you decide it’s for you but it is a lot of hard work.
Finally here are some examples of situations where self-publishing is a better route for you:
If any of these apply to you, then self-publishing is for you!
And that’s where we are able to help. At printmybook.com we can help you with printing, self-publishing, selling your book onlin, managing orders and payments for you, as well as distributing your book. And if you would like to talk about book email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our quote page to get a quote.