fiction

The Benefits of Self-Publishing

There are plenty of articles out there already about the benefits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. The main points are that it’s faster and you get all control. That’s great for people who need the control. Self-publishing has also become relatively free these days as opposed to years ago when you had to print all your own copies and pay for them in advance.

With the invention of the internet, it has become much more manageable to the average person. Some would argue this also means that the quality of writing goes down, but when you look at some of those traditionally published novels, you can beg to differ.

So what are these benefits exactly? And why should you bother putting your book out into a sea of others just like it?

  •  Time

Self-publishing is generally much quicker than traditional publishing, or it can be. It can also be longer depending on how much work you put into it. With a few clicks of a button, your book can be out there for people to see and buy. You can have a copy in your hands within a few days of it being out there.

  • Cost

Though self-publishing can still cost a small amount (for proof copies and the like), it is significantly cheaper than it was ten years ago. It also enables you to retain more of the royalties, especially if you only sell a few copies.

  • Control

With self-publishing, you are the puppetmaster. You control what gets put in or taken out. You control where you market your book. You control the formatting and everything in between. This can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. Some people prefer not to deal with this stage of things, but that is where other professionals come in. You can hire editors and formatters to do all those things for you.

  • Distribution

With most self-publishing companies these days, the distribution of books, especially printed books, is not your responsibility. When someone orders a book, the distributer prints it up and ships it out. You don’t have to deal with any of that messy, books piled up in your living room for years, stuff.

The important thing with self-publishing is to take your time and make sure that your manuscript is as good as it can get before you put it out there for public consumption. My current novel that I’m working on self-publishing, Chasing the Sunrise, has been through six edits and four reads by other people so far. And even after I get it back from this last read-through, I still have to format it for publishing. There are platforms out there to make it easier such as Magic Book Project which creates all publishable formats in one click.

Finding the right place to publish your book is also important. There are many different websites that can help such as Lulu, Createspace, kindle direct publishing, smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks, among others.

And just because you self-publish does not mean that you can’t also try traditional publishing. Some books can actually be picked up from self-publishing to traditional publishing and go on to be very successful. Don’t be afraid of self-publishing. The stigma is disappearing and more and more people are realizing the advantages that it presents for them and their writing. I self-published The Cereal Song in 2009, and the process helped me a lot to learn about publishing. When I put up Chasing the Sunrise, everything went a lot smoother this time.

Of course, there are downsides as well, but that’s another topic for another day!

How do you feel about self-publishing? Worth it or a waste of time?

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7 thoughts on “The Benefits of Self-Publishing

  1. I’m planning to self-publish, mostly because I have the formatting and design skills to make my book look professional, and I want the control to make it look the way I want it to look. I do worry about being lumped in with all the people who self-publish without taking the time to edit and format… but all we can do is make sure the quality of our book is sufficient to rise above the rest! (I discussed my motivation for self-publishing more thouroughly here: http://gracemakley.com/2012/08/02/why-im-choosing-to-self-publish/) This post is a nice elucidation of the benefits of Self Publishing; good job!

    1. Very true. I work on mine for a long time before they’re published so that I won’t get lumped in with the people who just slap things up on the internet. Of course I still have dreams of getting a publisher and all that, but that will come in time (hopefully!).

  2. Great point Elyce. I was recently offered a contract with a publisher, but after some really hard decision making I decided to stick with self publishing. I really think it is incredible and it will help me achieve my specific goals for my books.

    1. I still have hopes of getting a traditional deal, but I really think it has to be the “right” book. In today’s market, it seems especially hard to break in without the perfect opener.

  3. Great ideas and points, made me think of another positive aspect is for the writer whom is planning on cranking out 3, 4, 5 or a dozen books, this is definitely the way to go. Just thinking about trying to do it otherwise and all the extra time needed for each could give one a headache. Versus for self-publishing, yeah, it may be hard at first learning all these new tools, but as you’ve pointed out that once done, going forward should be mostly writing, with relatively much smaller amounts of time updating what you already have in place.

    Maybe that’s intuitive but for some reason didn’t think of how efficient it could be going forward, ie after that first book. After all, a painter doesn’t just paint one painting, or a musician play one song, etc, but as books can take much longer to write, you don’t usually think of it long term from that perspective.

    1. That’s very true. Even getting one book published traditionally can take years. A whole series or more could take decades. The learning curve is also a lot less steep after the first book. Publishing my second took significantly less time when it came to formatting.

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