Do You Want to Self-Publish Your Book?

There are so many pros and cons when deciding to self-publish. Perhaps you are sick of querying publishers and getting rejections only.  Or you think why share the money with a publisher when I can have it all? Maybe you just want to publish something for your family and friends. If you have a niche market, you may have an audience who will buy your books.

Here is what I have learned:

If you want to self-publish fiction, I would suggest you exhaust all the list of publishers before making this decision. First be sure  your query letter is perfect! No spelling errors, punctuation problems, grammar goofs. Read the letter out loud to help determine if your sentence structure is awkward or lengthy. Target the correct publisher. If you have a sweet, romantic story, you do not want to query a publisher of dark horror.

Then when or if the rejection arrives, go over the letter and the story (you probably sent in the first three chapters) and work on improving every word and structure. If the rejection note makes suggestions, and most of them are impersonal, then re-write and re-send the story. The rejections can truly make you write a much better book.  BTW there are a ton of small presses now, not self-publishing companies, but ones that do not charge you a dime to publish your novel. Query the ones in your genre.

The reasons for going with a traditional publisher are many–no cost to the author, work with professional editors experienced in publlishing, support and help with promotion  from fellow authors, promotion/marketing to some degree, and distribution to so many more outlets than you can do on your own.

I understand how satisfying it would be to keep all the money from the sales of the book for yourself. But there are upfront costs for editing (which is mandatory), cover art (the real sales tool), ISBN number, formatting, etc. If you contract each one of these out to a professional, you will spend a lot of time working with the contractor, but even more time if you try and do it yourself.  You can sign up with a company that will do this for you, but you will definitely pay for the services. The author will have to sell a whole lotta books before being in the black. Sit down and study to get an idea of how much it will cost you.

If you spend $3000 to publish a book and it sells for $10.00 each, you will need to sell at least 300 just to pay for the services, not to mention the cost of the printing which should be between $2.00-$4.00 for black and white plus shipping and warehouse storage if you do not go with the more expensive print-on-demand (POD) book.

If you want to publish your book for family and friends, bless you for your generosity.

If you speak with groups or schools or attract readers with an online presence, you already have an audience for sales. This makes the most sense for deciding to self -publish. In fact many bloggers are turning their informative blogs focused on one topic into books.

The best advice is to do your homework. Check many, many self-publishing companies and compare their services. Take time to read a contract thoroughly. Know what you are signing.  Get out the pencil and paper (calculator) and scratch out the actual final total cost including everything. Self-publishing costs do add up.

Once you colect the information, make your decision to self-publish or go traditional. Best wishes for success!

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