Deciding between the path of traditional publishing or the way of selfpublishing is one important decision. Therefore I’ll try to shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of selfpublishing. If you want to know more about traditional publishing, you can go here.

Selfpublishing

If you choose to publish your novel on your own, you need motivation, endurance and good marketing. Even though you’ll have to take care of everything yourself, you do have a solid, but underestimated chance.

Pros

Full control

It’s up to you to get a clear and marketable title, a visually appealing cover, an interesting blurb and to set an appropriate price. I’m indecisive about this being an advantage or a disadvantage. You do have full control, but it’s a huge responsibility and you’ll have to be aware of the market and its demands. On the other hand it’s your choice to get professional assistance to get something great and I highly encourage that.

Rights of use

Of course you own all the rights and you can do whatever you feel like doing. An eBook? A print book? Or an audio book? Go for it!

Quality

You have full control over the level of quality of your book. It’s your choice to have someone edit and correct your work and you can polish your novel as much as you like. Remember: Quality is everything. It is the most important factor when selling your book, because readers can be quite unforgiving and great content alone doesn’t cut it.

Quick time to market

Your flexibility and speed is unparalleled to a publishing house and you can publish your book much quicker. Just don’t forget editing, designing and layout, because those kind of things do take time. More than a few days.

High royalty

You won’t get an advance payment, who would have thought. Instead you’ll earn much more with each sale. You get up to 75% of net sales from platforms like Amazon, if you distribute through them. You still have to sell quite a lot to make a living, but each sale is much more worthwhile.

Direct market

You don’t need a publishing house if you do it yourself. Therefore you don’t need to spend months trying to be accepted by one. You can aim directly at the market.

Marketing

One of your most powerful possibilities to enhance visibility and create a fanbase is the glorious internet. Viral marketing over social media is a form of advertisement that established businesses come to appreciate more and more. As an added bonus you don’t even have to spend money for this. Setup a blog or a youtube channel and communicate with interested readers, keep them updated and turn them into fans.

Cons

Full control

As I’ve mentioned above, you do have full control over everything, from editing, designing and distributing and that’s as much an advantage as it is a disadvantage. It is your responsibility to provide the best results possible.

Quality

You do have to realize that a reputation once ruined is almost impossible to restore. You don’t want to go there, trust me. Yes, you do need to invest good money to polish your work, but it will be worth it. You still have to satisfy your readers with amazing content, but with a splendid cover, excellent grammar and of course no typos, you actually have the chance to do that.

Cost

You’ve already guessed it, but having a great book to publish requires money. An editor wants to make a living as well as the professional designer. So make sure that you have the means to invest in your work. Having to spend money is the reason many self publishers forgo getting their book edited, which is a huge mistake. Would you go to a job interview with greasy hair, bad breath and in your sweat pants? I don’t think so. Why would you do that to your work?

Full risk

As much as I’d like to say it, but there is no guarantee that your book will sell. There never is. You do have to make quite a number of sales if you want to cover your expenses alone and then you still haven’t earned a dime yet.

No store presence

Usually you’ll distribute your self published book as an electronic version – an ebook or an audiobook. This is the least expensive and the least complex. There are platforms like Amazon who enable self publishers to do just that. If you want your book in a printed form you’ll probably have to use some kind of print on demand like CreateSpace from Amazon. Even though, your book will probably never be in the book shelf of a store.

Reputation of self publishing

Though it’s been improving over the last few years, there is still a lot of prejudice towards self publishing, because many people think it’s low quality. On one hand there is the notion that the book must have been too bad for traditional publishers and on the other hand there were quite a lot of self published books thrown on the market without the necessary quality. It’s all the more important to have a splendid and shiny book and to establish a reputation for yourself.

As you see the world is definitely not black and white. Both traditional publishing as well as self publishing have their pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide which way is the best for you. There is no wrong or right way to do it, as long as you know what to expect.

Do you have questions? Additional information? Share your thoughts, we love to hear about them.

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