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The Pros and Cons of Self Publishing



The publishing landscape has changed significantly in recent years and there are now many options open to new authors when it comes to getting their books out into the world. Whatever route you choose whether it be traditional, hybrid or self-publishing, it is still important to consider any challenges that you may encounter and to make sure that the book you produce is worthy of your name.


There are several advantages to be had from choosing self-publishing some of which are as follows:


Creative Control: One of the most significant advantages of self-publishing is the creative freedom it can offer. Authors have full control over every aspect of their book, from the cover design to the content itself.


Speed to Market: Unlike traditional publishing, which can involve lengthy submission processes and waiting periods, self-publishing enables authors to get their work into the hands of readers within a shorter time frame. The rise of digital platforms and print-on-demand services, has definitely made things speedier although it can still take time to complete every part of the process properly.


Higher Royalties: Self-published authors typically earn higher royalties per book sale compared to traditionally published authors because there is effectively no ‘middle-man’. Whilst all the royalties from sales will come to the author it is important to note that there will still be printing and distribution costs to pay.


Flexibility and Adaptability: Self-publishing allows authors to adapt to market trends and reader feedback more rapidly. Whether it's updating the content of a book, experimenting with different pricing strategies, or exploring new marketing avenues, self-published authors have the option to adapt and change to meet demand or to fulfil strategic plans.


Primarily time, and control are the main benefits of self-publishing but that doesn’t mean that there are no disadvantages to consider:


Lack of Resources and Support: Unlike traditional or hybrid publishing houses, many of which can provide authors with a team of editors, designers, and technical support, self-published authors must shoulder these responsibilities themselves or hire professionals independently. This can be overwhelming for new authors. There are also lots of technical hoops to jump through when it comes to formatting and uploading your book to your chosen platform (let alone understanding and choosing from the variety of different platforms on offer). This can be a very steep learning curve and for some and may warrant experienced support.


Marketing: Getting your book out into the world, creating a fan base, and raising your profile as an author will be your responsibility as a self-published author, but here’s the sting in the tail…even if you are traditionally published, as an unknown author, the marketing will still be primarily down to you! Marketing takes time, dedication, and commitment – it is a long game – and whilst traditional publishers may well have access to certain marketing platforms or retailers, they will only invest a certain amount of time in your book, and sometimes barely at all. In fact, if you choose a more traditional route, the chances of you even getting accepted will hinge on the following you already have or your track record for sales.


Stigma and Perception: Despite the growing acceptance of self-publishing, there is still some snobbery attached to this option. Partly, this is due to poor quality books that have been self-published without proper editing or attention to detail, and this does of course de-value the higher quality books out there.


When it comes to costs, I have deliberately left this issue until last because it is both a pro and a con in itself. Many ‘experts’ will tell you that self-publishing is free and maybe it can be, but the chances of producing a professional book at no cost are slim to…none! A book that is poorly written, poorly edited, or that has an amateur cover will end your author journey before it even begins. You have to be prepared to invest in your book, whether that means employing the services of professionals, or taking considerable time to do your research and learn some of the skills you need. Accepting that there will be some things that you may be able to do yourself and some things that you will need help with is the first step in your publishing journey.


If you need help to decide which publishing path is right for you or you have any further questions then do please get in touch at mabelandstanley@outlook.com and I would love to help you!

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