Aspiring authors often ask if they should self-publish or try going with a traditional publisher. Of course, it’s a decision they’ll make based on their specific situation and goals, but here are 10 points that may tip the scales in favor of self-publishing.
When you self-publish:
1. You have creative control. When you self-publish, you have complete control over all the creative elements of your book—the title, manuscript, cover, interior design, and so on. Traditional publishers might consider your input, but they have the final say.
2. You get all the profits. You keep all the money your book earns, rather than the 10-15 percent royalty traditional publishers pay.
3. You set the price. How much to charge for your book is entirely your decision.
4. You’ll get paid more frequently. With most print-on-demand services, you’ll get paid monthly; traditional publishers only pay royalties twice a year.
5. You decide when to publish. Publish your book when it’s ready, not on someone else’s schedule. It typically takes 18-24 months after contract signing for a traditionally published book to be released; self-publishers get their books to market much faster.
6. You get the benefit of a quicker publishing process. If your book is time-sensitive—for example, if it’s pegged to current events or you need it as a marketing tool—your book can be published the moment it’s finished.
7. You set—and can change—the work schedule. Life happens and manuscripts don’t always get finished when we planned. Self-publishing gives you flexibility and lets you work at your own pace.
8. You pick your publishing team. When you self-publish, you decide who to use for editing, design, marketing—everyone who is involved in your project. If you don’t like someone for whatever reason, you can fire them.
9. You maintain your rights. A traditional publishing contract requires you to sign the rights to your book over to the publisher. When you self-publish, you keep the rights for your current work and all future creative work that may come from it.
10. You can actually get your book published. It’s more difficult than ever for an unknown author to get a contract with a traditional publisher. You can spend years chasing literary agents and pitching your book to publishers. Self-publishing lets you realize your dream of being a published author without that frustration and heartache.
Here’s a bonus reason to self-publish: It gives you a springboard to traditional publishing. If you write a quality book that sells well, you increase your chances of negotiating a strong contract with a traditional publisher later on if that’s what you want.
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