Should You Self-Publish Your Book? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
You’ve penned a manuscript that you’re proud of, and now it’s time to share it with the world. The most essential question you need to ask yourself is- should I self-publish or go the traditional way? It is an established fact that authors who self-publish boast the wonders of creative control and higher royalties. As the digital space broadens its scope with each day, self-publishing has become the go-to method for aspiring writers. Yet, some would contend that the uphill climb to reach an audience can be unnerving. Hence, deciding between the two methods is a complex process. If you’re conflicted, this blog may be able to help you out. We’ve explored a few questions that will provide you with substantial answers that you can consider while making this important decision.
- How much control do I want over my book?
If you want complete control of your book and the entire publishing process, self-publishing is for you. This includes creative control over the content of your book. This means, you’re the writer, editor and publisher; in a word, an authorpreneur. However, if you feel that you’ll be better off focusing on just the writing part and wish to leave the rest to professionals, then take the traditional route. Even while self-publishing, you can take help from professionals who can aid you in editing your manuscript and designing your cover. With self-publishing, you have endless opportunities to publish your book on your own terms.
- Can I devote time and energy to marketing and promotion?
For writers, the most intimidating aspect of self-publishing is marketing and promoting your book independently. Today, even traditionally published authors are expected to promote their own books as the publishing industry continues to shift to an “it takes a village” paradigm. Thankfully, with the advent of social media, it is easier for authors to reach their audiences. If you’re looking to self-publish, be ready to devote sufficient time and effort to increasing your online presence and building your brand. Don’t fret, there are simple and efficient ways to reach readers and establish a fan base.
- How soon do I want to release my book?
Generally speaking, a traditionally published book takes at least one year to be published. That doesn’t include the writing of the manuscript or the laborious and time-intensive process of pitching agents and waiting on a publishing house to accept your book. Timelines do vary, as smaller publishing houses can move faster, but it’s a safe bet that once a publisher has accepted your manuscript, it’ll be another year before it’s on sale. In stark contrast, you could self-publish your book much quicker. If all of your essential prep work was complete — editing, cover design, formatting — and you knew how to upload the correct documents to your preferred self-publishing platform, your book could be available to the masses in no time.
- How many people do I want to reach?
It is every author’s dream that their book reaches the far corners of the world. Traditional publishing houses promise great distribution-both physically and digitally. They owe this to their relationships with distributors and bookstores. This may be their greatest benefit to authors. However, as the digital economy continues to grow, reaching an audience is no longer an ordeal for those who desire to self-publish. You can leverage the power of the internet and social media to attract a larger audience
- How much do I want to earn?
Because digital reading and distribution mediums along with print-on-demand services have levelled up the process of publishing, marketing and distributing books can be done at zero upfront cost. Hence self-publishing can be highly profitable. In contrast, traditional publishing offers increasingly lower advances. Royalties are lower than in self-publishing as well — that is, if you even earn out your advance. Up to 80 per cent of books never earn back their advance, meaning that the author never receives royalties. Here too, self-publishing emerges as the winner.
Today, bestselling authors like Rupi Kaur, E.L. James and Andy Weir can boast of their success with self-publishing. We hope that the above set of questions will help you determine which publishing route is best suited for you and your book. Research on both mediums thoroughly and engage with other writers who have had experience in publishing. We are confident that your book will be a winner, no matter which path you take!