Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing
Bypass the challenges of finding an agent/publisher
Get published faster
Have more control over content/design
Control over price and profit margin
No middle-man cutting into profits
Ease of implementing changes
Requires investment capital
All expenses absorbed by you
Responsible for editing / formatting / design / marketing / distribution
Many reviewers won't review self published books
Many awards programs won't consider self published books
Many bookstores will not carry self published books
Quality of self published books are often inferior (see article to learn why)
Fewer sales (self published book sales account for only 10% of the current share of sales in the book market)
These days more and more authors are choosing to self publish. You may be wondering if self publishing is a good option for you. Perhaps, but then again, it may not be in your best interest to go it alone. In this article we will address the pros and cons of self publishing.
All too often authors are so eager to get their book into print, they fail to consider the pitfalls of self publishing before diving in head first. We've all seen the self published book which is so poorly done it's absolutely appalling. In fact, the general consensus on self published books is that they are all crap. While we know this is not entirely true, the reality is that there's a reason so many people feel this way. Generally speaking, it's safe to say that truly well done self published books are the exception rather than the rule.
One of the great things about self publishing is just how easy it is to do. - Anyone can self publish. But not just anyone can do it well. There's no safety net for self publishers. Typically no-one is going to step in and say "Whoa, are you sure you want to do that?" And let's be honest, there are a lot of self published books out there where someone should have said just that. In order to self publish well an author must, first and foremost, have an exceptional manuscript. Next they must rely on beta readers as well as a competent copy-editor. No self published book should ever go to print until it has been professionally edited. Typos run rampant in self published books. This is one area that is totally avoidable, and yet somehow it is consistently overlooked. The self published author must have a critical eye. If one cannot look objectively at their work and see its failings, they will most likely let things slide that simply should not.
Why is it that self published authors are notorious for letting a child, sibling, or other non-professional design their cover? The cover of your book should never be an outlet for a budding young artist to make their debut. Unless you work with a professional, chances are your book will look unprofessional. Are you hoping to save money on the cost of designing your cover? If you have to cut corners by spending less then, honestly, you may not be able to afford to self publish. If you're not willing to spend the money to get it right now, you're more than likely not up for all the other expenses you're sure to incur when self publishing.
It's best you know up front that you're going to need to invest lots of time and money to promote your own book when you avoid the traditional publishing route. It takes money to make money. Marketing a book is a much bigger project than most authors can begin to imagine. If you have a platform, (say you're a public speaker and you can pitch your book at all your speaking engagements on a regular basis) that can help.
More often than not, authors are left scratching their heads wondering how on earth they're going to get the word out about their book. - One such way is through reviews and awards. But many review and award programs won't even look at your book if it's self published. Chances are if you self publish, you're going to end up throwing a lot of money at your book to help promote it. When you do your best to make sure your self published book looks and reads like a traditionally published book, it will be much easier for you to promote.
It seems one of the biggest problems with self publishing today is the fact that authors are in such a hurry. They rush through writing a book which, in all honesty, may not be ready. When they can't find a publisher, they jump the gun and publish themselves. Then, when no-one will review their book, they find a paid service to guarantee a review. Back when authors were obliged to jump through all the hoops required to get from point A to point B, the process managed to eliminate a lot of would-be titles which were quite simply not good enough. But if self published authors ever expect to be taken seriously, they are going to have to start by picking up their game.
So exactly who is the ideal person to self publish their own book?
Typically that person must have:
Sufficient investment capital
A critical eye
Some experience with marketing
Sufficient free time to market and promote their book
Willingness to hire professionals to get things done right (for areas including, but not limited to: editing, formatting, design, cover design, marketing)
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