Why should I self-publish my book?
By Preflight Books

Should you self-publish? There are a number of reasons why self-publishing might be the perfect fit for your book.

What is self-publishing?

Let’s start off with defining self-publishing. Self-publishing is when the author uses a number of service providers to assist in the production of their book. The author is in control of the entire production process, the printing, the marketing and the selling of their books. This allows you as the author to retain all of the publishing rights. In short, all of this means that you own your book after it has been published and not, like in traditional publishing, the publishing house.  

After the intense experience of writing your manuscript, it can be daunting leaving it in the hands of someone else. Every author wants to get their book out into the world, and even see it showcased in bookshops or on the list of top 10 best literary works of the year. Unfortunately, this can’t happen for each new author. Traditional publishing houses only take in a couple of hundred new titles a year. So, for a new author it can be very difficult to get their manuscript accepted. This is where self-publishing comes in!

Will self-publishing work for me?  

To answer your question, yes, self-publishing can work for you if you understand what the process entails. It is important for you as a self-published author to have a clear vision for your book, because you will be the driving force behind the marketing and sales of your book. A clear idea of who your audience is, who will buy your book, where will they see/hear/read about your book and where will they find your book, will give you a good starting point in your self-publishing journey. According to Shaunta Grimes, author of A Guide to Traditional vs. Self-publishing, a self-published author needs to have a grasp on every part of the publishing cycle. As the publisher and the author of your book, you need to be able to communicate and execute your unique brand and for this to work you need to have a clear idea of what you want.   

6 Reasons to self-publish your book 

There are multiple pros and cons that you need to consider when self-publishing your book. In the article ‘Why should I self-publish?’, author Thejendra Sreenivas highlights a number of pros when self-publishing your book. Here are six reasons why you should self-publish: 

1. Control  

As the author you are in control of your book. You can decide what you want on the cover, what the layout of the book should look like and what type of book you want to print.  

2. Costs 

You as the author can decide which services you want. There are a multitude of services that can be provided within the publishing process, from editing and proofreading to layout, illustrations and cover design. It is your choice which services you want to make use of. Just bear in mind that the publisher handling your project will advise you about your need for certain services. It is good to listen carefully to the advice as they are industry experts themselves and may see something that you are not aware of.  

3. Speed  

Self-publishing your book allows you to get your book ready for print in as much or as little time as you like. Because you make use of different service providers, you can negotiate with them on an acceptable production schedule. As the paying client, you will have more authority when it comes to setting up a deadline. In the traditional publishing industry, an author can sometimes wait years for their book to be published due to the internal production cycle of the publishing house.  

4. Profits  

In the traditional publishing industry, authors will receive royalties on each copy of the book that is sold. This may limit the amount of money that an author can make but, when you self-publish your book, you will retain 100% of the profit. Because you keep the rights to your book, you can set the price of your book to not only cover the production and printing expenses but to bring in a profit as well.  

5. Gather information  

If you are a first-time author, you might want to test the waters first to see if you can build a platform on which to sell your books. You might want to start off with a small book about your preferred topic to see if you can sell not only your book but yourself and your ideas as well. Producing a small book will allow you to get to know the publishing process, the costs of each service and to see if your marketing ideas work.  

6. Promotion  

Contrary to belief, bookstores are not the only way for an author to sell their books. Self-publishing your book will allow you to try out different ways of selling your book that a traditional publishing house may not allow you to do. You can explore avenues like creating your own website, selling your eBook online, organising events and interviews and even contacting bookstores to stock your book on their shelves.  

Its about you  

In the end, deciding to self-publish is up to you. You need to decide if you are going to invest the time into submitting your manuscript, possibly getting rejected multiple times and then waiting for months or even years to get your book published through a traditional publishing house. If you would rather get your book published and out into the hands of your readers, then self-publishing may be the best option for you. Before you decide, think about the following: the famous author Beatrix Potter’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected so many times that she decided to self-publish the book in order to get it into the hands of her readers. If she received so much acclaim after a traditional publisher rejected her book, just imagine what you could do by self-publishing with Preflight Books! 

Resources used in this article

Why should I self-publish? by Thejendra Sreenivas  

Should you self-publish your book? 5 Essential questions to help you decide by Blake Atwood  

A guide to Traditional vs. Self-publishing by Shaunta Grimes

Additional Reading

Which is better: Self-publishing or Traditional Publishing? by Nick Morgan  

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