Only a couple of decades ago, book publishing used to be a long and challenging process. But the situation has changed drastically thanks to the rise of digital technologies, so now almost anyone can choose to publish a book on his/her own.
Self-publishing has become a major trend in the literary universe. The latest studies show that the number of self-published titles grew from 786 thousand in 2016 to over a million in 2017, surpassing the million mark for the first time. This is a critical and an encouraging milestone given the fact that over 80% of Americans want to write a book.
But is self-publishing really such a good thing? Should you try to follow the new road? Years of experience in traditional publishing have taught us a lot about it, so keep reading to learn the pros and cons of self-publishing.
The Benefits of Self-Publishing
We should begin with the positive effects of self-publishing and discuss the features that make it valuable for all of you rising stars out there. There are five major aspects to consider here:
- Self-publishing works quickly
If you are in a hurry to make your book public, then there is no faster way to do it than self-publishing. Traditional channels simply cannot compete with the new method because they could even take years before giving your novel a chance to reach the audience. Self-publishing works pretty much like the best assignment service agencies – prompt delivery is guaranteed. It does come with a few shortcomings of its own, but we will talk about that later.
- It’s easy to approach smaller audience groups
Another advantage of self-publishing comes from the fact that it’s easy to approach smaller audience groups. If you are a well-known author in a given niche with enough loyal followers, it shouldn’t be a problem to publish a book independently and achieve success. This is the case with most bloggers and industry thought leaders who have a small group of passionate fans.
- It’s perfect for certain genres
This benefit goes hand in hand with the previous one. Although it is hard to establish a general rule here, it seems like self-publishing shows a lot of potential in some areas. For instance, self-published authors are reportedly dominating traditionally published authors in sci-fi/fantasy, mystery, thriller, and romance genres. However, the self-publishing system is growing steadily and you can even expect it to penetrate other genres as well.
- Use it to attract publishers’ attention
Sometimes it is simply impossible to grab the attention of agents and publishers, but you can release a book independently and hope to raise their eyebrows this way. Of course, the point is to make an amazing piece of work that really inspires the audience and earns public appraisals. In case you are able to do it, rest assured traditional publishers will show interest in your second book.
- It’s great for all-around players
Self-publishing is difficult mainly because the writer has to take care of many things simultaneously. From design to marketing, there are all sorts of duties self-published authors have to keep an eye on. But if you are an extrovert with a fair share of passion and energy, it won’t be an issue. You can do most of the things single-handedly, but there are also freelancers to help you if needed. For example, you can find many high-quality editors or marketers on Upwork and other freelance networks, so don’t hesitate to consult with them prior to self-publishing.
- Full creative control
Writers who cooperate with traditional publishers usually complain about the lack of creative control. They can almost never influence the decisions related to cover design, marketing, the way their books are promoted, etc. But as a self-publisher, you are in charge of everything and you are free to act as you wish.
The Cons of Self-Publishing
You’ve seen the pros of self-publishing, but the story is not so lopsided after all. As a matter of fact, there are more than enough cons to consider in this field:
- You’ll hardly get to the bookstores
Self-publishing is not likely to get you to many physical bookstores. This is the basic disadvantage that you have to be aware of right from the beginning. You may reach a few local outlets, but anything more than that demands a much bigger network. On the other hand, traditional publishers guarantee nation-wide distribution, which means your works can get to brick and mortar retailers and bookstores all over the country.
- Self-publishing is the alternative option
As we already described above, self-publishing really takes a lot of time, planning, and efforts. In such circumstances, it usually works better as the alternative to the traditional publishing industry. We believe that young authors should first give a try to big industry players and focus on what matters the most – their writing. If you notice it’s not working as expected, you can always switch to self-publishing.
- No one can do it all at once
Some pros of self-publishing can also turn out to be huge disadvantages. For instance, most writers are not exactly extroverts who enjoy administration and management. This means that all the things surrounding self-publishing can become a big burden. If you are not sure that you can handle details such as editing, design, and promotion, you better leave it to professionals.
- It’s difficult to earn traditional media coverage
One problem leads to another and this is how we get to the fourth shortcoming of self-publishing. Since traditional publishers control pretty much every aspect of promotion, PR, and marketing, you will hardly ever earn serious media coverage. This is a big issue because consumers love to read professional analyses before buying a book.
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Joe McLean is a dedicated, full-time freelance writer and he has the busiest schedule you can imagine due to the popularity he enjoys online. Even so, he still manages to work at his own pace and have an amazing social life. Now he works with www.aussiessay.com and essayedge as the subject matter expert, sometimes he helps with the blog content to uk essays.