Self-publishing has increased in popularity in recent years. Like most things, it has positive and negative aspects. How is an aspiring author to decide which route to take – self-publishing or traditional publishing?
Self-publishing is defined as publishing without the aid of a publisher and at the author’s expense. This term includes both print publications and many eBooks.
Traditional publishing is defined as a publisher purchasing the rights to publish an author’s book. Generally, the author uses a literary agent to find a publisher. This term includes most print books as well as eBook versions of those books.
The following is a list of self-publishing pros and cons for authors to consider.
Pros of Self-Publishing
- You can put out a book in an afternoon compared to nearly two years with traditional publishing.
- Pay is sent once the author reaches a certain dollar amount, not a certain calendar date.
- Changes can be made quickly.
- Control over cover art and title.
- Author maintains all rights.
- It’s perfect for books that only will have a short run like family histories or church group cookbooks.
- EBook distribution using online resources like Amazon.
Cons of Self-Publishing
- Pay is much lower than traditional publishing, if you sell enough copies to be paid at all.
- You need to do all marketing and administrative tasks yourself, and it’s extremely time consuming.
- Most self-published books are poorly written and rarely professionally edited.
- The market is very small.
- There are a lot of self-publishing scams.
- There is no guarantee you will make back any money invested in starting your publishing company.
- Agents and publishers look down on self-publishing so this route won’t help you get into traditional publishing in the future.
- Difficult to get a self-published book in bookstores.
Have you ever self-published? Were you happy with your decision?