To Self-Publish or to Not Self-Publish?

to publish or not to self-publishTo self-publish or to not self-publish? That is the question. And it’s a great one. There are so many pieces that go in to the self-publishing process that can be expensive, confusing and a minefield for costly mistakes. (See our article on the true costs of self-publishing.) However, the long process to traditional publishing can also be overwhelming – often taking several months to several years until your book finally comes to market.


Coming to the decision to self-publish should never be taken lightly. While there are a myriad of different things to consider, today we’d like to look at some of the basic challenges – and advantages – that come with taking the self-publishing road.


Challenges of Self-Publishing

  • You are responsible for your own success or failures
  • You may not fully understand what you’re getting in to
  • It can be expensive
  • If your book fails, you will lose your money
  • If your book is a success, it may still take months (or years) to recoup your investment
  • It can be difficult to get in to bookstores
  • The producers at major media outlets won’t take your call
  • It’s easy to get lost in the millions of books available on Amazon
  • It can be a full-time job (and a full-time education)

Advantages to Self-Publishing

  • You are responsible for your own success or failures
  • The title, cover, trim size and price are set by you
  • You earn more money per copy sold
  • You want your book out there and traditional publishers aren’t interested
  • Traditional publishing is very slow—it can take up to three years to see a finished book
  • If you’re willing to take the risk—and make the investment—you get to keep most of the return
  • You are both the Author and the Publisher
  • You understand that the future of publishing is moving online and out of brick and mortar stores and may not be as concerned with brick and mortar retail sales
  • It has become far more cost-effective


Whether you choose to self-publish or try to get a traditional publishing deal, the most important thing to remember is to educate yourself fully. There are a ton of costly mistakes that can be made in the self-publishing process. However, there are also a ton of mistakes that can be made when seeking a traditional publishing deal. Researching, reading, and taking advantage of free author resources  to ensure you’re making smart – and educated – decisions will be the ultimate key to your success.


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