Self publishing is relatively new on the scene, which is why many bloggers tend to gravitate toward hoping for a traditional publishing contract. In their eyes, working with a traditional publisher seems more legitimate and prestigious. But, self publishing has a lot of advantages, which is why even some New York Times best sellers have been self published. So, what are the pros and cons of self publishing?
If you self publish, you don’t have to answer to any editors or make changes to your book that you don’t want to make. You’ll have complete control over the look of your book: the cover, the layout, and even the size. You can also make your book whatever length you’d like, as long as it’s long enough to be printed into a book. (Publishers do have a minimum number of pages they need to physically print and assemble the book.) If you don’t like giving up control, self publishing might be the right way to go for you.
Working with a traditional publisher means working on their timeline. I was surprised when I was negotiating with a publisher that they expected to take at least 18 months to get the book out. There’s a lot of back and forth with editors and others at the publishing company, which pushes back your book’s launch date. If you want to get your book out into the world quickly, self publishing is likely the way to go.
A huge factor in my decision was the money that I’d be making from the book. I sell my first book on Amazon for $8.99, and I make a few dollars off of every book sale, which gets direct deposited to my checking account monthly. Publishers were vary, but the offer I received was 5-10% of the book’s cost, after my advance was paid back. I decided that financially, it was a better decision for me to continue to sell my book as is because I keep a larger chunk of the profits.
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Self publishing doesn’t keep you from publishing your book traditionally. I personally was contacted by a small publisher looking to publish an updated version of my first book. Ultimately I decided not to work with them for several of the reasons listed above, but if my ultimate goal was to work with a publisher, self publishing can still be a great route to get there. You could shop your self published book to publishing companies, and if it’s already selling well, it likely has a good chance of getting picked up by one, if that’s your ultimate goal.
When weighing the pros and cons of self publishing, the biggest con of self publishing is the sheer amount of work you have to put in. If you self publish, you have to do all of the leg work of editing and formatting your book, as well as designing the cover, and you’ll have to promote the book yourself too. This all adds up to hours of work that you many not think that you have.
However, I do want to remind you that you can outsource a LOT of this work if you prefer not to do it. You can find inexpensive freelance copy editors, you can hire a social media manager to do your marketing for you, and you can design your cover yourself using a service like Canva. You can even pay someone (like me!) to help with the copy writing of your book. If you have more time than money, do everything yourself. If you have more money than time, pay someone else to do the tasks that you don’t want to or can’t do.