Self-Published Books: Perspective from Smith Publicity
The Pros of Self-Publishing a Book
• Timing – Self-published books move faster and can be more timely. Often, they can be printed and available for purchase online within months, sometimes weeks
• Control — The book you self-publish will be precisely what you want; no changes made by editors or cover designs forced upon you
• Rights — The majority of self-publishers allow you to retain all rights to your book
• Costs are Becoming More Accessible – You can have a professionally printed and designed book for as little as $1,000 in some cases
• Bundled Services — An independent publisher, if an author wants them to, can generally handle everything, from securing an ISBN to layout, printing, etc.
• Quality – If you do it right, a self-published book can be indistinguishable from a traditionally published book in terms of cover design, layout, and overall appearance
The Cons of Self Publishing a Book
• Distribution — It can be challenging for a self-published book to get shelf space in book stores
• Quality — If you put too much trust in some self-publishers and allow them to handle cover design, back cover copy, etc., you may end up with an unprofessional looking book
• Cost — As mentioned above, prices are coming down, but there is an expense you incur as the author of a self-published book
Other Things to Think About
The stigma that all self-published books are low-class and inferior is also gone. Today, it’s about content and quality more than how a book was published. Also, a self-published book can benefit just as much from book marketing and publicity as a traditionally published title. However, some self-publishers are aggressive at upselling additional services. Many authors sign on for book marketing and book promotion services that can cost more than $10,000, and unqualified book publicists sometimes fulfill these services.
If you do decide to self-publish, shop around and do your homework. Don’t take the first offer you receive before hearing about any other options. Also, even if you love the topic of your book, be realistic before making final decisions. No matter what publishing method, only quality, interesting books do well in the marketplace.