With the advent of print-on-demand services, self-publishing has become more affordable than ever and opens the doors for many authors as an alternative to the traditional publishers as a way to get their book in print. Self-publishing has some lucrative benefits as well as some risky drawbacks. Only the author can decide what is best for their project, but I hope that I can give you some information to make a more informed decision.
Pro: Higher Royalty/Profit
When you self-publish a novel you do not have anyone other than yourself taking out a portion of your revenue. If it costs you $5 to create a book and you sell it for $20 you just made a $15 profit. When you publish with a traditional house you can expect to see 10-15% royalty for the MSRP of each novel.
Con: Financial Risk
Even though you might see a higher profit, you will take on a higher financial risk. Print-on-Demand services can mitigate this, but the price/book will often go up. Even with print-on-demand service helping cover the actual printing cost, you will still have to pay someone to edit, design cover art, and have money for marketing as well.
Pro: Creative Freedom
When you self-publish, you do not have to cut 20,000 words because your publisher wants to save money on printing costs. You will not be forced into using cover art that you hate. In fact, you will not be forced into doing anything that you do not want to do, because you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.
Con: Creative Freedom (Yes, this is also a Con)
Often times an author is so close to their work that they cannot see what parts need to go. By not having someone forcing you to kill your darlings you may not do it, and end up releasing a product that is lower quality.
Releasing a self-published book requires much more work than having a traditional publisher do so. You will have to create a business around your book in order to make it successful. You are responsible for getting it into stores, marketing, setting up signings, and so much more. You are focused on making your novel successful, where a traditional publisher may not push a book from a new author.
A traditional publisher has entire departments dedicated for the different parts of the business of writing. You will have to learn how to sell, market, and distribute your novel in order to be successful. This learning curve can sometimes be the death of an otherwise great novel, simply because the author did not have the skills needed to get their product to their readers.
This was a brief look at self-publishing. If you have anything you want to add, stories you want to share, or questions feel free to comment. Check in next week to see me bumble through the “Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing.”