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Should You Self Publish?
by Rebecca Livermore
4/06/2007 / Writing
Perhaps you've always wanted to write a book. Or perhaps you've already written one but don't quite know what to do with it. One thing you do know, however, is that you want your book to be published and read by as many people as possible. Unfortunately, competition is fierce, and you may find it difficult if not impossible to find a reputable traditional publisher willing to take you on as a new author. Many people opt to use an agent to assist in this, but it can be almost as hard for people to find an agent as it is to find a publisher. Also, agents typically take a 15% cut of all profits, which seriously cuts into your earning potential.
Because of these issues, and because of the many new options now available for self-publishing, many authors are choosing to bypass traditional publishers and go it alone. Here are some things to consider when trying to make the decision regarding whether or not to self-publish.
1. It cost money. The cost of self-publishing varies, depending on which self-publishing company you choose to go with, but regardless of which option you choose, self-publishing cost you, the author, money. In contrast, traditional publishers pay you money, typically in the form of an advance and then royalties, once the advance has been paid back through book sales.
2. All of the responsibility for marketing the book is on your shoulders. Nowadays, all authors are expected to work hard at marketing their books, regardless of whether they go with a traditional publisher or self-publish. But those who go with a traditional publisher have at least some help with marketing their book. For instance, the publisher may get the book into catalogs, arrange for radio interviews, put together press releases, etc. If you self-publish, you have to do all of that yourself, or hire others to do it for you.
3. You won't have a quality control team. Traditional publishers often have an entire team of experts in the publishing business to go over your book to make sure everything is in place. They check grammar, references, etc. If you self-publish, you won't have a team of people working with you unless you hire an editor.
4. People may not take your book as seriously if they know that it is self-published. The problem with self-publishing is that anyone with the discipline to write a book and the money to get it published can do it. Because of that, many self-published books are not the quality you would hope for and expect in a published book. Therefore, many people automatically assume that if you self-publish, your book may be of a lower quality and they may even assume that you self-published because your book isn't good enough for traditional publishers.
5. You may have a hard time getting the book into brick and mortar stores. Self-published books can definitely make their way into brick and mortar stores, but it can be a battle to get brick and mortar stores to stock your book. Again, the responsibility for getting your self-published book into the store will rest on your shoulders and it may be an uphill battle.
By this point, you may think there is no way you would want to self-publish a book. But don't lose heart! Just as there are self-publishing cons, there are also self- publishing pros that make self-publishing an attractive option for many authors. Below are just some of them.
1. You have complete control over the work. A traditional publisher may require you to add certain things to your book or remove certain paragraphs or perhaps even chapters that you really like. In traditional publishing, authors seldom have control over even simple things such as the title of the book. As a self-published author, you maintain complete control over every aspect of your book.
2. You can complete the book on your own time table. As a self-published author you will not be pressured to complete your self-published book fast, but can often complete it and get it published much quicker than if you were going with a traditional publisher. The traditional publishing route takes a very long time. You may write the book, then take a year or longer to find a publisher, only to have it take an additional year or so for it to hit the shelves. As a self-published author, you can write your book as slowly or quickly as desired, and have it published within a few months after completion.
3. You don't have to deal with rejection, at least on the publishing level. As a self-published author, your book is guaranteed to be published. You don't have to send it out and then bite your nails while you wait for a response (which often turns out to be a rejection) from a publisher.
4. You can potentially make more money. Although self-publishing cost money, it can also potentially make you more money because you keep the lion's share of the profits. For instance, through a traditional publisher you may make $1 per book, and through books you self-publish, you may make $5 per book. (Actual figures vary, based on numerous factors. But self-publishing always provides a much higher royalty rate.)
5. You can be as creative or offbeat as you want to be. As a self-published author, you don't have anyone to put down your idea or tell you how far you can or cannot go. Your creative will not be hampered in anyway.
Only you can determine whether or not self-publishing is the best option for you. At the very least, it's an option to consider if you want to see your book in print.
Copyright by Rebecca Livermore, a Christian speaker and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her passion is helping people grow spiritually. To read more of her articles, visit http://www.rebeccalivermore.com or her AC page at http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/60801/rebecca_livermore.html .
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