“Did you have to self-publish because your book was rejected?”
This is a common—and understandable—question often posed to authors who choose to self publish rather than submit to a publisher.
But in my case, and in the case of many other self-published authors, the answer is no. But why do we do it? And what do we like about self-publishing vs the traditional route?
I was going to write one post on this topic, and include a few quotes from some other self-published author friends (Con Riley, R.J. Scott and N.R. Walker). But as I started gathering their ideas and opinions on this topic, I decided there was too much to say for a single post. So, I’ve decided to make this into a series of posts where I spotlight a different self-published author each time and ask them about their decision to self-publish and why they feel it’s the right decision for them.
So in this first post, I’ll start the ball rolling with my own views and experience.
Why did you decide to self publish?
I chose to self-publish because I consider it to be an exciting opportunity and it was something that I wanted to experiment with. My first self-published title was The Dating Game back in September 2014 and I was blown away by how well it did. Since then I’ve also self-published Cold Feet and most recently, Passing Through.
My first four books are with Dreamspinner Press and my decision to self-publish had nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with them. DSP are great to work with and I’m very likely to submit to them again at some point. Many authors prefer a combination of self-publishing and traditional publishing for their books to get the best of both worlds, as there are undeniably pros and cons for each.
Here are my lists of pros and cons for self-publishing.
- Complete ownership of your work – no worries about a publisher going bust and not paying you
- Complete artistic freedom
- You earn a higher percentage of the cover price (70% royalties vs between 28% and 50% depending on your publisher and where the book is being sold)
- Flexibility over timing. You can publish on your own schedule, pick your release dates and work towards those
- Control over pricing
- Faster turnaround from completing the first draft to publication
- Faster payment of royalties and more regular income (2 months after publication if you’re publishing through Amazon instead of 4-6 months or more – and Amazon pays monthly rather than quarterly)
- Complete transparency of sales figures and royalties. You can see exactly how many books you are selling in real time
- Significant upfront costs/investment to cover editing fees and cover designs
- You have to do all the formatting yourself which takes a little time (or outsource that, which is an additional expense)
- You have to upload your book to the retail sites. This can be fiddly and time-consuming (and terrifying, especially the first time you do it!)
- Some readers may be wary of self published titles, expecting them to be poorly edited
- You don’t have the backing of a publisher for publicity. It’s all down to you to try and get your book in front of readers
- If you want to get your book into audio or translated, you’ll need to organise that for yourself too, or find a producer/translator who wants to contract the work.
If you have things to add, I’d be interested to hear your suggestions in the comments so please let me know what you think.