Friday, February 22, 2013

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

© Kathy Ide, 2012

~ Self-Publishing ~

There are both benefits and disadvantages to self-publishing.

1.  You make more money per book. (Commercial publishers usually pay about 10% of the selling price to the author. With subsidy publishing, you can make 50% or more on each book sold.)
2.  You have more control over the final manuscript.
3.  You don’t have to convince an acquisitions editor plus two or three publishing committees to accept your book.
4.  You can get the book published in 3 to 6 months instead of 2 or 3 years.

1.  You have to bear the up-front costs.
2.  You don’t get the same level of editing/proofing as with a royalty house.
3.  Most magazine editors won’t review self-published books.
4.  Few bookstores will stock self-published books.
5.  You’re totally responsible for marketing and distribution. (Some houses offers these services—for a fee—but that’s never as effective as what you can do as the author.)
6.  The time you spend marketing will eat away at your time to do other things—like write, or take care of your family.

Before you self-publish ask yourself the following questions:

1. How many royalty publishers have looked at your manuscript? What was their reaction? If they said the writing was good but there’s something they didn’t like about it, consider following their suggestions. If you need to improve your writing skills, take a course or read some books or hire a professional editor. (Check out if you want some referrals to professional, established Christian editors.) If the publisher doesn’t think there’s a big enough market for the book, consider the possibility that they might be right. They’re the professionals in the industry after all.

2. Have you only approached the big publishing houses? Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide lists lots of smaller houses. They may pay smaller royalties and have a more limited showing in the marketplace, but they’re still standard publishers that won’t make you pay to get your book printed.

For more details on self-publishing options, check out Kathy's website,, under Helping Writers/Getting Published. For assistance in editing and/or proofreading your manuscript for a subsidy publisher, or for assistance with self-publishing (including typesetting, file conversion, cover design, and printing), e-mail Kathy at or go to

*Article used by permission.

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