What Are the Advantages of Self-Publishing?
When you’re thinking about the idea of self-publishing and you want to print your own book, you naturally wonder what the advantages of it may be? There are several other directions to go towards, such as the all-eBook route, using Amazon, or seeking an agent and letting them find a publisher on your behalf. However, you’ll be giving up a considerable part of the profit potential into the bargain, even if they don’t even handle the marketing for you.
Here are a few of the advantages of self-publishing.
Full Control of Design
When a legacy publisher takes you on as an author, their marketing team puts together the eventual cover and inside flap for a book printing run in paperback and hardcover respectively. Indeed, they’ll usually opt for different covers in each country or region and may even use cheap book printing, which results in a cover style or appearance that you dislike entirely. However, you don’t have control over the design of the print books or the inside layout, fonts used, or style.
Sometimes, the lack of design choices is because of the book printers that the publishing house has chosen to use. It could be that the full-colour cover is too expensive and doesn’t suit the lower-quality paper stock that’s used with the hardcover book. In other cases, you just dislike the cover designs entirely and you’re stuck with your name (or pen name) on them, regardless. It can be very frustrating for new authors!
With self-publishing, there’s no waiting in line with other signed authors who already have their book scheduled for publication ahead of your own. Publishers can take a year or more to shepherd a book through copy editing, typesetting, and final publication. The wheels of progress seem to turn very slowly. For self-publishers, this isn’t the case.
As long as you can afford to pay for your own print run and cover design, then it can be a matter of a handful of weeks to go from a finished manuscript to a batch of books ready for sale. There is nothing like seeing your book in print as a physical thing that no one can take away from you. The sense of achievement for first-time authors is palpable.
Make the Decision; Sometimes Publishers Dislike Your Book
Whether you’ve just completed a non-fiction book covering a topic that is difficult for a disinterested person to get into or it’s a novel with unusual characters that don’t fit into a set architype, sometimes traditional publishers just don’t get it. There are stories galore about publishers turning down first-time authors because their book was misunderstood or outright disliked, who then went on to great success.
Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad was self-published because no publisher thought it had potential, as it was unlike other personal finance books at the time. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books couldn’t find a home either until self-publishing and the two tenacious authors worked tirelessly to promote their first title. Even John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill had a hard time finding a receptive publisher.
Control the Rights
Controlling your book’s rights allows you to decide in what format(s) your book will be sold. Many published authors are now stuck with publishers who won’t reissue a book that needs updating or that haven’t issued an eBook version that the market is clamouring for. Even big-name authors are finding the yoke of a publishing house beginning to chafe a little as their lack of options becomes more evident.
Potentially Earn More
Getting your books printed initially costs money out of your own pocket, however, some authors are using crowdfunding now instead of publisher’s advances to pre-sell their book. A higher percentage of the sale price is returned to the author because they’re acting as both the publisher and the author. While the printing and design costs must be recouped first, the potential upside is much higher for books that sell more copies.
As an author, with self-publishing, you’re banking on yourself. It is a good idea to build up a mailing list on your website from any previous books in the same niche that have been published in the last few years. This way, you’re able to market your self-published title early and perhaps recoup your initial costs from sales to people interested enough to have already subscribed.
There are many advantages to self-publishing if you’re brave enough to take the leap of faith. It is a good idea to consider using crowdfunding to help cover the initial costs of copy editing, cover design or the printing costs. New books always need a helping hand to find a new home. Consider the marketing side of things too, because you must get the word out to your faithful followers or consider how you’ll create some new fans who will buy your first edition.