In my opinion, self-publishing is a great business model. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, though. If you’re a Ms./Mr. DIY-er like me, then self-publishing might work out for you just fine. Through publishing my poetrybook, I’ve found there to be some great advantages:
1. Creative/Business Control
This right here might have single-handedly won me over. My first book (backstory mentioned here) stemmed from some of the most personal and emotional times of my life. Because of the sensitive nature of the book, I wanted to have complete creative control. My vision was so strong that I couldn’t see myself compromising the look, feel, nor content if someone else handled the project.
When you have creative control, you work with and do anything you choose—afterall, it’s YOUR art. Thinking about asking your English professor cousin to edit your book? Great idea. Want to hire your old college roommate named Brette to illustrate your book cover? Go right ahead (side note: doesn’t she do UH-mazing work?!? Check out her site). The point is, you’re in the driver’s seat—not anyone else.
2. Potential for More Returns
With self-publishing, you could potentially see more returns after the book is published sooner than with traditional publishing. With traditional publishing, you get an advance $X on your royalties, but you don’t get any more money until you have sold that $X amount. Even when you pass that $X threshold, you still have to give the publisher and literary agent their cut, leaving you with less in your pocket. You can cut out the middlemen when you opt to self-publish.
3. Fewer Gatekeepers
There are fewer "Big Brothers" when you self-publish. You don’t have to put your blood, sweat, and tears into your work, only to have it rejected tens, or even hundreds of times. You can enter the market on your own terms.
4. You’re Your Own Boss
As I’ve mentioned earlier, self-publishing can make a great business model. You can be the captain of your own ship by establishing a business entity for your publications.
5. You Can Keep Your Rights
Adding on to #4: When you’re your own boss, you don’t have to sign your life away and give others the right to promote, sell, or distribute your work at their discretion. You can manage this yourself.
6. You Can Set Your Own Schedule
This is YOUR book project. You can set your own timelines. There's no pressure for you to pump out a book in [insert aggressive date], unless you’re putting that pressure on yourself. The point is, you are on your own time, and you have the choice to produce at a pace that works best for you.
7. It’s Rewarding
For me, it was gratifying to be able to say, “Yeah, I did this myself.” When I published my first book, I was beside myself when I learned that my e-book made the Amazon Bestseller list in two categories:
Now, don’t get me wrong, I would be excited if I made the list through traditional publishing, but for me, this was more meaningful because it was done through self-publishing.
8. Faster Market Entry
With traditional publishing, you may have to wait several months before your print book is available for distribution. When you self-publish, your work can enter the market a lot sooner. For example, Amazon’s print service allows authors to get their work out there within 24 hours.
9. Easier to Implement Changes
It's a little easier to make changes to your book when you're—you know—managing the project yourself. No approval channels nor walls to break through here.
10. Self-Publishing Stigma is a Thing of the Past (or close to it)
I think some people have turned their noses up at self-published books. One reason could be that some self-publishers have not taken the time to make their finished work look as polished and professional as their traditionally published counterparts. With all the different types of creative tools and software out there, however, it’s becoming more and more difficult to tell a self-published book from one printed by a traditional publisher.
But let me ask you this: How many times have you gone up to a book store rep and asked, “Where can I find the books published by [insert publishing house name]?” I’ll be bold enough to say that people don’t care who the publishing entity is—they’re more interested in the author’s brand and book title(s).
I say the self-publishing stigma is a thing of the past because we see self-publishers doing pretty well for themselves. The first two that come to mind are E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Grey and Omer Tyree of Flyy Girl. They have, as well as many others, helped to change the way we view self-publishing today.
When I was putting together my poetrybook, I couldn’t find a comprehensive list for the self-publishing process. So, I decided to create one:
If you’re interested in learning more about the process, I’ve put together a free self-publishing guide that outlines the following:
Did I mention this is free? You can grab yours by signing up here.
What other self-publishing advantages can you think of? What experiences have you had with this business model? Leave a comment down below!
Photo © Gillian van Niekerk