Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Self-publishing

Hi all :-)

Now here is a big topic if debate: Self-publishing vs. Publishing House

Let's look at the "pros" and "cons" of each.



1. Control: Self-publishing assures you that you have control over the entire process and every decision regarding your book will be made by you.  You hold all the "rights" to you work.

2. Time to Market: If you self-publish you can get your book out into the market place faster.

3. Higher Earnings: You get to enjoy higher earnings when you self-publish.

4. Time: You aren't committed to any one's schedule except your own and will  have nobody pushing you to develop the next novel.

5. Attention: Self-publishers devote all their attention to each project they work on. They work hard to promote it at every turn. This kind of one-on-one attention will not be given at a publishing house.

6. Branding / Image: Self-publishers control their branding and image, which in turn equates to having more control over the "market" that they want to entice.

7. Business Tax Deductions: Yes, in case you were not aware, you can deduct certain expenses when you self-publish your book.

THE BAD (Cons)

1. Wear Many Hats: Self-publishers have to be their own accountant, editor, packager, distributor, and sales person.

2. Marketing/Branding: Self-publishers have to become very good at getting people to want to purchase their book over someone elses book. It can be difficult with all the choices out there to convince a reader to buy your book instead of another one.

3. Time: Chances are if you are a new author, you still have a full time job and other responsibilities to tend to in any given day. You will need to find a way to fit in all the work to writing, publishing and promoting your work, which can be very taxing.

4. Money: You have to spend money to make money and you will have to put all costs out up-front, which can pull on anyone's budget strings these days.

5. Prestige: There can be a prejudice against self-publishing and many buyers will believe that unless you were able to "sell" your ides to someone else, there must be something wrong with it.

If you chose to self-publish there are some tools available to help you succeed. For example, the book entitled " Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do" can help you learn how to edit your work like a professional editor would or "The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing" can guide you through the process of self-publishing if you've never published a novel before. Another great tool for self-publishers is "Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers", which can help you get familiar with what you need to track for income tax purposes for your business.



1. Having a Team: You won't have to wear a lot of hats and the publishing house will have people that will edit, work on layout, get your book printed and packaged, have their salespeople promote your book, distribute your book and of course they have accountants and lawyers that will assist you.

2. Marketing: They have a team of professional marketers that know how to promote a book to increase sales.

3. Money: The amount you will earn as opposed to self-publishing will be less but you won't have to put any money out to see your book to market. Instead, you will usually be paid an advance and of course receives royalties.

4. Prestige: Some readers may believe that your book has more value since it was obviously "good enough" to be picked up by a publishing house.

5. Time: You won't have to worry about devoting a lot of time once your book has been finalized and is ready for print. At that point the majority of your work is done and the team begins their work.

THE BAD (Cons)

1. Loss of Control: The publishing house will own the "rights" to your work. They will decide how to package it, market it and promote it.

2. Money: You will make less money once everyone gets their cut of the pie.

3. Attention: The sales people that work for the publishing houses will not devote the same kind of time and attention to your work as you would. They have numerous books they need to promote at once.

4. Time to Market: Even once you get your book accepted, it can take up to two years before you will see your book on the shelves.

Overall, I think the decision to pursue self-publishing or to try and get a publishing house to publish your work will depend on your lifestyle, ability to part with your work, and finances.

What do you think? Have a missed anything? Add a comment and feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.


1 comment:

Kate Burns said...

As someone who is going through the process right now, I can tell you the work for me divided up into three large parts: the creative flow, where all of my ideas could live and be nurtured; the ruthless cutting and gutting phase of editing, where I had to cast a very critical eye on my work; and the promotion/publication phase, where I have decided the work is as tight as I can get it, and I have to fall in love with it all over again to generate the enthusiasm required to sell it.