Authors often wonder if there are advantages to self-publishing other than the obvious agent/publisher issues. You’ve probably heard that publishers don’t accept books directly from an author, and the agents necessary to make connections with publishers are taking fewer authors unless they have a proven track record.
But there are many advantages to self-publishing and building your own success story. Here are ten reasons you may want to consider publishing your own works.
- Control. The foremost reason people choose to self-publish is control of content. Writing is subjective, and everyone has his view of what good writing is. Sometimes the viewpoint comes down to word choices. Other times, it is a total plot change. To Kill a Mockingbird is a good example of the original story (Go Set a Watchman) given a total refocus under the direction of an editor.
- Design. As your own publisher, you will be able to control the look of your cover design, even if you hire a graphic designer. You know what image represents the story or topic better than a third party. Traditionally published authors have little input into their cover and are often surprised when they learn someone will be creating the cover and they’ll won’t see it until after it’s done.
- Contracts. With self-publishing, you don’t need to sign lengthy contracts that restrict who can print or sell your books.You also are not held to a time frame where you cannot change your content, printer, or the distribution.
- Inventory. As your own publisher, you are able to choose the quantity of books you want to keep on hand, and there is no lengthy wait to get more copies. If you use print-on-demand, there is no longer any need to maintain a large inventory, either. You (or your customers) may order just one book or as many as desired. The individual cost is typically the same although the cost of shipping may be less per book when ordering more than one.
- Sales. Where you offer your book for sale is your choice. You may offer the book on a website of your own, list it with Amazon, have specialty stores in your area carry it, or offer book signings of your choosing. The profits are greater if you eliminate a middle layer of fingers in the pot, so to speak.
- Marketing. You may choose any number of marketing ideas or specialty items you like. Local newspapers are often interested in local authors and may agree to write an article about your book or your writing adventures. Bookmarks, book cards, and sales flyers are other inexpensive ways to promote your book.
- Costs. Compared to some publishing services, your can expect your costs to be minimal. In fact, if you use Amazon’s CreateSpace for print copies or Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for your e-book, it is possible to publish at no cost.
- Time. Your time will be greatly reduced if you choose to self-publish. Major publishers can take up to two years from the time they receive your book until it is available for sale. If you self-publish, it is available almost instantaneously once you click the submit button.
- Profit. You will likely make more money if you self-publish. Major publishers generally offer 10-25% royalties, even for experienced authors. Depending upon the printer and distribution method you use, your profit as a self-publisher can range from 30% all the way up to 80%. You get to keep more profit since no fees are going to an agent or sales representative.
- Quicker Profit Returns. With printers such as CreateSpace or IngramSparks or e-book provider KDP, your royalties will generally be transferred directly to your bank account within 60 days of sales. With major publishing houses, it may take 6-12 months to receive your royalties.
Self-publishing is not for everyone, but these ten reasons may help you think through how you want to publish your book.