Some Observations and Tips on Self-Publishing

Self publishing or “indie publishing” has reached new levels of popularity. As reported in 2015, for example, 40% of all dollars earned by authors from eBooks on are earned by self-published eBooks. As mainstream or traditional publishers struggle with outdated business models, limit acquisitions and layoff staff, it can be harder than ever to have a major house publish your book. The stigma of self-publishing not being taken seriously by the media has changed, meaning indie authors have the ability to successfully implement book publicity campaigns.

The advantages of self-publishing, as compared to traditional publishing, are clear. Here are a few to consider.

  • Timing -- Generally speaking, you can have a self-published book in print and available for purchase online within months or even weeks.
  • Cost -- It's possible to have a professionally printed and designed book for as little as $1000 or less, allowing authors to allocate more money to book marketing.
  • Ease of publishing -- An independent publisher will generally handle everything, from securing an ISBN to layout, printing, etc.
  • Control -- The book you self-publish will be exactly what you want; no changes made by editors or cover designs forced upon you.
  • Rights -- The vast majority of self-publishers allow you to retain all rights to your book.
  • Quality -- If you're assertive and exercise quality control during the process, a self-published book can be indistinguishable from a traditionally published book in terms of cover design, layout and overall appearance, so when book promotion efforts are taken, media see no difference in quality, and this can equate to book reviews and other media coverage.

Authors should treat self-publishing a book as they would launching a business. Just as you wouldn't go into a new business with no plan, self-published authors should think about things such as book marketing well before the launch of the book in order to be successful. Key points include identifying target markets and planning for ways to reach these markets. Also, it’s important for an author who chooses self-publishing to determine their profit margin, so going into a book promotion campaign you can have realistic expectation as it relates to recouping expenses.

In short, self-publishing is poised to become even more popular, and authors will have more and more opportunities to bring their book to market independently. No longer do the “gatekeepers” at a handful of major publishers determine what books will be released. Publishing has indeed been democratized.


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