Over the years we have received a number of questions about why someone might choose self-publishing over a more traditional method and vice-versa. I’ve outlined some of the benefits self-publishing offers authors, as well as some obstacles self-publishers face to give everyone an idea of what they can reasonably expect.
The Advantages of Self-Publishing
- Your work will be published. As you are self-publishing your work, you know it will be in print and you can hold a copy in your hands.
- You keep all of your rights. Traditional publishers will almost always require that you give up the rights to your work if you sign a contract. In contrast, self-publishing almost always allows you to retain your rights.
- You control the production aspects of your book. You decide what your book will look like, how much it will cost, what formats it will be available in, and more.
- No long-term contracts. Most self publishing options will not involve you signing any long-term contracts. As such, you have the option of taking your book or other material somewhere else. You can always decide to try traditional publishing if you aren’t happy with self-publishing or if your needs exceed what self-publishing can handle.
- Turn-around time. Typically the turn-around time for self-publishing is much shorter than traditional publishing. This can obviously vary, but with some options taking as little as a week (and in few cases even shorter!) the turn-around is often within a couple of weeks at the most.
- You get paid higher margins per book and you can often get paid more quickly.
- You can create a second edition of a book or correct errors much more easily.
The Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
- It is difficult to get shelf space in a brick-and-mortar store like Barnes & Noble if you self-publish.
- You have to handle all, or almost all, your own marketing.
- You pay any upfront costs. This could include copies of your book, editing, cover design or any number of other aspects.
- Some people still stigmatize self-publishers.
Is Self Publishing For Me?
We recommend you look over the materials we have provided, evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of self publishing, and make your own informed decision. Self-publishing isn’t the right option for everyone, so think about what you’re trying to accomplish and decide whether self-publishing fits those needs.