There are many compelling reasons to self-publish rather than go through a traditional publisher. Here are nine!
1. You can enjoy the benefits of ‘published author’ status sooner rather than later
Being a publisher author rather than simply a writer with an unpublished manuscript can mean career acceleration, prestige, wealth and opportunities beyond your wildest dreams. You can literally go from ‘unknown’ to ‘expert’ over night. All of a sudden you are in demand, with people wanting you to sign their books, speak at their events, write articles on your subject and be interviewed on their shows. With this newly established credibility you can begin holding seminars, commanding consulting fees, travelling the world speaking, being interviewed by media and of course selling lots of books. All of this is very achievable with self-publishing. What’s better is that it can happen in the immediate rather than distant future.
2. Your chances of being published by a mainstream publisher are less than 0.1%
I have nothing against mainstream publishing. However, the brutal fact is, the chance of your manuscript being accepted by a mainstream publisher is less than 0.1%. Traditional publishers are only concerned with books that are going to make them a substantial profit in order to justify their investment in producing, marketing and distributing it.
Of course, some of you may have a blockbuster and be lucky enough to land a publishing contract straight away. But for the remaining 99.9% of us, if you are not prepared to have your confidence undermined by dozens of rejection letters thrown into your mail box relentlessly over months and even years, then stay away from the traditional publishing route!
3. Self-publishing keeps your self-esteem intact!
JK Rowling, Stephen King, John Grisham and Mark Victor Hansen’s manuscripts got thrown on the slush pile numerous times before their work saw the light of day. I’d rather keep my self-esteem intact and go the self-publishing route! Wouldn’t you?
4. Self-publishing is far quicker than going through a traditional publisher
A book normally takes 18 months to get onto the shelves with a mainstream publisher. If you’re keen on seeing your book published NOW rather than possibly having to wait months or years for your book to be picked up not to mention the additional 18 months for it to see it in the stores, then it’s wise not to waste your time on mainstream publishing.
5. Self-publishing equals more money
Traditional publishers pay a measly royalty figure of 6% and 10% of net receipts (a couple of dollars per book if you are lucky). It is rare for publishers to print more than 5000 of your books (5,000 books is considered a best-seller in Australia!). With those kinds of numbers, the chances of getting rich through book publishing are slim. With self-publishing on the other hand, it’s an entirely different story. You get to keep 100% of the retail price if you sell directly to the customer (through your website, at seminars and other events). That figure drops to 31.5% if you go through a distributor to get your book into bookstores, but it’s a lot better than what the traditional publisher will give you. And while you’ll be lucky to sell a few hundred or thousand books through a traditional publisher, you can keep selling hundreds and thousands of books each year – year after year.
6. More control over your books
With self-publishing you have more control over your book. If you go through a traditional publisher, they make many of the decisions including what the cover should look like and what the title should be. Wouldn’t you rather keep control of your book, get more say in what it looks like and get to keep more money from the sales? And do not be misled into thinking that publishers will pour money into marketing your book. Time and time again, I’ve heard the saying, “Publishers are simply glorified printers”. If you want to sell lots of copies, you are going to have to do lots of marketing, simple as that! And that’s easy once you learn how.
7. Self-publishing has never been so easy
Finding a professional to edit, design and type-set your book has never been cheaper and easier than with www.elance.com where professionals get to outbid each other for the job. A friend of mine recently had his children’s book designed and typeset for $200 US and it looked fantastic! With print on demand printers, you can now print low numbers of books, sometimes even one at a time at the cost of roughly $4 per book and not get stuck with thousands in your garage.
In the Internet era, never before have there existed so many opportunities for the self-publishing writer. These days, you don’t even have to spend any money on printing your book. You can simply upload it onto www.lulu.com or www.createspace.com, which makes your book available on Amazon, the biggest online bookstore in the world! Forget about little markets like just one country! You can go global, baby! Other online bookstores include Ebay and www.smashwords.com where you can upload your word document and have it published in a variety of different formats making it accessible to use on people’s laptops, Iphones and Kindles. The future of publishing is getting more and more exciting with advances in technology.
8. Self-publishing will teach you about the whole publishing world
If you intend on being involved in the publishing world as a career, then nowhere else will you learn better or faster about the mysterious world of publishing than by doing it yourself. By reading books on self-publishing or by getting a self-publishing expert to guide you in your journey and by doing what’s involved in the process, you learn step by step how it all fits together. Wouldn’t you rather be knowledgeable about publishing than give all the power to the publishers? This knowledge could save you thousands of dollars in the long run and put thousands more in your pocket over your lifetime.
9. With a self-published book, there is more likelihood you’ll get picked up by a traditional publisher
As an unpublished writer, your typed up manuscript is likely to land on the slush pile along with the manuscripts of other unpublished writers. There is little doubt, however, that if you sent them a published book especially one that demonstrates sales, you’d dramatically increase your chances of being taken seriously by them. How great to be in a position to decide whether or not to sell your book to a traditional publisher?