Your book is written and you don’t have an agent or a publishing deal … so what is your plan? If your plan is to hire an agent to market your book to one or more, traditional publishing companies, that is an admirable choice but a subject for a different blog post. Today’s post is about why I and many other authors have chosen to self-publish and the top five perks of doing so.
1) Maintaining more control over your book
Whether you’ve written a children’s book, a college textbook, a romance novel or your own version of War and Peace, you’ve put your heart and soul into your creation and you may feel a tinge of possessiveness. You may feel a little (or a lot) protective of your masterpiece. You may want to maintain some control over what happens to it; and quite possibly, you may want to start selling it on the retail market sooner rather than later. When you want to have these options, it’s a good time to consider self-publishing.
2) Financial benefits of self-publishing
When you self-publish, it’s important to look at the financial aspects. No matter how your book gets published you should receive royalties from its sales. Unless you’re someone famous with a large following of fans already in place those sales usually start slowly when self-publishing. We’ll talk marketing later, but for now just know that there are marketing avenues for the self-published that guarantee ways to build momentum for sales. When you sign a publishing deal with a traditional publishing company, they will most likely set the retail price for your book and assign a royalty for you to split with your agent and who knows who else. One of the super-sweet perks of self-publishing is that you get to choose your retail price and, relatively, the amount of royalty you’ll receive from each sale. Companies like Amazon’s CreateSpace (one of my favorites so far) offer self-publishers print-on-demand services at extremely reasonable rates that give self-published authors a lot more room to make a decent profit.
3) Worldwide distribution opportunities
Most self-publishing companies offer a wide variety of distribution outlet choices. They will help you get your book(s) into almost, if not all, major bookstore—both online and in-store. Personally, I’m a “keep it simple” kind of person so I’m happy to sell my books on Amazon and let the rest of the bookstores out there contact me if they want to sell my books. However, Amazon doesn’t limit my choices in that regard; it’s just my personal preference. Most reputable self-publishing companies give you a truckload of choices about how and where you want to make your book(s) available to the public.
4) Retaining ownership of your copyrights
Reputable self-publishing companies generally do not take any portion of your copyrights! In fact, some (like Amazon’s CreateSpace) even offer resources to help you obtain your own copyright registration with the Library of Congress. Some offer guidance and instruction, and sometimes even special discounts on that process, as well as on the process of obtaining your own ISBNs and UPC codes if you opt not to use the free ISBNs and UPC codes they offer as part of their self-publishing services. Be aware of the difference between “Exclusive” and “Non-Exclusive” publishing rights. Most reputable self-publishing companies clearly state that you have a “Non-Exclusive” contract with them, which means you may choose to self-publish and market your book(s) elsewhere as well. It also allows you to begin selling your self-published book(s) right away, while simultaneously marketing your book(s) to a traditional publishing company if you choose. However, this is a generalized concept that must be taken in context relative to other parts of your agreement with them – READ EVERY WORD OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS and know what it is saying before jumping to confusions. Doing a search on the internet for “Non-Exclusive Publishing Contracts or Agreements” will help you understand this better.
5) Print-On-Demand is Awesome!
Self-publishing companies that offer Print-On-Demand services generally do not print your book(s) until they receive orders for them. This fabulous service means no storage fees for warehousing a bunch of your books until they can sell them. Bear in mind that when you choose to flood a bunch of bookstores or distributors with boxes of your books for retailing then, yes, you will have to pay storage fees and those fees definitely stack up (pun intended) against your profit margin—another reason I, personally, prefer to keep things simple with Print-On-Demand services. Most reputable self-publishing companies provide you with daily sales updates and utilize printing companies in various countries around the globe to keep your customers’ shipping costs lower when they order from different parts of the world.
- You maintain more control of your book and its publishing
- You decide your retail price and profit margin
- You choose where your book(s) will be sold
- You retain your copyrights and often get good guidance regarding ISBNs and UPC codes
- You incur less storage fees, if any at all, depending on your wholesale decisions
On the face, many self-publishing companies try to look impressive and important, and most offer extra services like editing, formatting, cover design, and more—usually for extra fees, which is only fair. As authors, we need to be good business people and weigh the pros and cons of each one, reading all agreements thoroughly before choosing. Most of all, we must keep our focus on the bottom line—protection, sales, profitability, and customer service.
After researching many self-publishing companies before choosing my present path, I found Amazon’s CreateSpace to be the easiest, most straightforward and helpful to work with. Again, that is just my personal preference. The ease of their member website, the fact that I can keep my sales all through Amazon, knowing my books are being made available to millions of readers throughout most of the world, and their outstanding customer service, were all big factors in my decision. Through CreateSpace I can format, upload, publish, and sell. I really like simple! And, as with most reputable self-publishing companies, one can cancel anytime and go elsewhere if things aren’t working out.
Everyone’s needs are different, so do your own research to find the right self-publishing company for you. Remember to try to keep this simple so you have more time to READ, WRITE, and RELAX!
What’s next? Look for my future blog post – “How to build an Author website without having a nervous breakdown”
For a more comprehensive look at the step-by-step process of self-publishing, please visit my Classes page and join me for my Self-Publishing webinar. I also offer Saturday morning online group writing sessions.
© Jennifer Sweete, March 2016