By Gina Fickett
Nowadays, anyone can publish their own work. The question is, should you? Let’s consider some of the benefits versus the obstacles of self-publishing.
1. The answer is “Yes!”– Rather than wait for months on end only to be rejected by a large publishing house, the only person who needs to decide “yay” or “nay” to publishing your own work, is you.
2. Control– You get to keep the rights to your work, enabling you to make creative decisions on the title, cover design, and make any changes you like.
3. Quick and easy– self-publishing can be done on a very short timeline, and quite easily with the assistance of online websites such as Lulu, Create Space, and Abbott Press, to name a few. Working with a publishing house typically takes at least a year, and that’s not counting the time it takes to shop your manuscript around.
4. E-book and POD– You can choose to only publish an e-book version, but if you wish to sell hardcopies as well, you now have the option to print on demand- saving you from having to invest a large amount of money initially to print thousands of copies that may never sell.
5. Royalties– Though self-publishing websites will take a cut of the profits, the royalties you receive will be a significantly higher percentage than from a traditional publisher. (Please note, however, that self-published books don’t typically sell as many copies as a publishing house would.)
1. Lack of Quality– The level of design, packaging and appearance will often pale in comparison to books produced through a major publishing company. Also, because anyone can do it, there is no filter to keep poor writing from being published.
2. One of many– Because it is so accessible, the sheer volume of books being self-published can make it very hard to distinguish yourself from the masses. As mentioned before, you will probably sell fewer copies than a publishing house would be able to.
3. Cost– Self-publishing requires some financial investment, which could be up to thousands of dollars depending on if you want to hire professional editors, graphic designers, and invest in the tools necessary to promote your book.
4. Hustling required– As much as we would like to believe that our work will magically sell itself, that is unfortunately not the case. Because there is so much competition vying for readers’ attention, it is imperative that a huge emphasis be put on marketing and promotion.
There are definitely challenges that come along with self-publishing, but many will agree that the pros outweigh the cons. Some have used it as a step to earn recognition to then get picked up by a major publishing company. Other published authors have chosen to go the self-published route to retain control of their work and receive higher royalties.
The key to gaining recognition and selling books is marketing. Marketing requires time, strategy and at least a small financial investment. Many artists find it difficult to promote themselves, and few actually have the time for it. Why not hire a professional to be an advocate on your behalf? If you could use some assistance creating and/or managing an online marketing strategy to promote your work, contact us!
What are some other pros and cons that you’ve discovered through self-publishing your work?