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Five Reasons You Should Self Publish Your Book
So you’ve written your book; congratulations! You took the time to do all the research, all the hours upon hours of writing. It’s been edited, proofread, revised, proofread, edited again, and so on. So now that you’re all done, what’s the next step? Should you submit it to various publishers and wait to hear if they’re interested in your book?
That can be a long process with a lot of rejection, requests for even more revisions, and more waiting; once a publisher is done with your book, it’s likely to end up being a completely different piece of work than it was when you began.
Hold on a minute, don’t close out of the article just yet – I know all of that probably sounded very discouraging, but keep on reading, because there’s another way to get your book on the shelves: self-publishing.
Self-publishing has been rising in popularity in the last few years; in fact, many best-selling authors can attribute their success entirely to their decision to self-publish their books.
“You do so well self-published, it’s hard for publishers to compete with what you can do on your own.” – Hugh Howey, author of the best-selling sci-fi novel, Wool6
If you aren’t convinced to self-publish your writing yet, keep on reading. Here are five more reasons that should help you realize that self-publishing may be the key to your success!
1. Retain Control Of Your Work
One of the most important reasons you should self-publish your book is that it allows you to retain total control over the finished product.
This is almost never the case when it comes to traditional publishing. Tiana Warners, a best-selling self-published author, states:
“When you get picked up by a publishing house, you’re signing over the rights to your book. It’s quite possible that their editor will make you change stuff you don’t want to change—including the title.”1
Just think about that for a moment; Using a traditional publisher means it’s possible that not only will your book’s title be changed, but also whole swaths of the content changed as well – all due to the whims and opinions of someone other than yourself.
Some writers have stated that they can spend days, if not weeks, agonizing over the perfect title for their book. Often a writer will even base the title of a book off of a specific reference from the book’s contents that they really want the reader to pay attention to while they are reading. Do you really want some outsider to come in and force you to change that?
There’s still more control you can get from self publishing. Tiana Warners makes another great point:
“Personally, I like being able to choose the cover of my book, and the price, and where it’s distributed. What if the publishing house gives me a horrendous cover or a $34.00 hardcover copy? What if they want to price my eBook at $15.00? Unfortunately this happens all the time.”1
Just imagine that, you get to decide exactly what your book should cost. If, for example, you were writing a book about budgeting, one thing that you might want to do is keep your book priced below $9.99, so that your readers, who are likely strapped for cash, can easily afford your book. Because you don’t have nearly the same amount of overhead that the big publishers have, you can afford to price your book at a low price for your targeted demographic.
2. Release Your Book When You Want To
Self-publishing your book also lets you control exactly when your book is going to be released. According to Jessica Wiener, author and motivational speaker:
“Self-published books can be brought to market in several months or less, whereas print books can take as long as two years to reach their market. E-books are fastest of all, with the complete process sometimes taking as little as a few weeks. The Internet has significantly sped up the book-publishing process.”2
Some publishers can have your book on hold for months if not years waiting until they think it is the right time for your book to be published. However, when you decide to self publish you have the final say over when your book debuts on the market. You don’t have to wait for the big name publishing companies to decide when, if ever, your book is released.
This point is also crucial from a financial point of view; if a publisher delays the release of your book, they’re also delaying the income that book will give you.
3. Allow Time For Growth
“Books have a shelf life of 30 to 60 days in the brick and mortar store…The great thing about a digital book is the shelf is forever. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have much longer to establish yourself there than you do in a brick and mortar book store.”3 – Lee Goldberg, author, screenwriter, and producer
What Lee Goldberg says here is extremely true. By being your own publisher you have the option of putting more focus on your book for a longer period of time. When a book comes out, the prime selling time is the first one to two months of its release; this is especially true of ebooks.
You can market your book heavily for half a year if you want to, mainly because you hold the reigns. By taking control of the marketing of your book, you have the power to control the momentum and consistency of your book sales.
4. Have Complete Ownership of Your Work
All other points aside, working with a traditional publishing agency also means that you are essentially handing over the rights to your book. This is probably the most important factor authors should consider when deciding how to publish their work.
Self Publish Australia, an organization established to help authors self-publish their writing, emphasizes this point:
“A traditional publishing contract will sign over most, if not all, rights to the publisher.”4
If you’re anything like me, your book is almost like your child; you’ve poured countless hours and long nights and energy and love into writing it. Handing over the rights to a publisher is like giving away half custody of your child!
Emotional investment aside, this also has a huge impact on your profit: “…you will receive something like 7.5% – 10% of sales every 6 months perhaps.”4
Think for a second, just how little that is.
Yes, that’s right, for every $10 of profit off a book that you sell, you’ll get something like $0.75 to $1.00.
5. Control Your Branding
When people buy a book, electronically or physically, everything about the book is important to them. Yes, the essence of the book is in its words, but that’s not what the customer sees.
The customer, no matter how many times they’ve been told not to, WILL judge your book by it’s cover. And by the font it uses. And the advertisements. And the personality of the author.
C.S.Lakin, author and writing coach, lets aspiring writers know the gritty details of the industry:
“As a legacy author, you can’t pick the cover, set the price, or select the interior design and fonts. You won’t have any say over the dust-jacket copy, ads, marketing pitch, or overall budget. You’ll have zero influence over where your book is distributed, or for how long.” 5
When you control the branding of your book, you can target the kind of readers that you want. If your book is about how to eat healthy, you can choose to market your book to people at the local Whole Foods. You can decide to advertise on health blogs and websites, targeting the kind of customers that you want – and best of all, showing those customers who you are, and letting them know your name.
By self-publishing your book, you have control over all of these things. You get to establish yourself as the excellent writer you are, the expert you are, the real person you are. There won’t be anyone pulling the strings behind the curtain and puppeting you around however they see fit.
As you can see, self-publishing has a whole slew of benefits. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that self-publishing is the best way to publish in the world we live in today. Changes in technology, the way people read, the way people find books to read – it’s all drastically different than it was even five years ago. While traditional publishing used to control what kind of content made it out to the public and how, it isn’t like that today. The ability to self-publish has changed everything.
To wrap things up, as the saying goes: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”