6 Reasons Authors Self-Publish
On the heels of our lively debate the other day on my post “6 Reasons Authors Still Want Publishers,” today let’s look at the other side of the coin. Many of you are still trying to decide which path is right for you — or if maybe some combination of both might work. So hopefully these posts and the discussions in the comments will be helpful.
So here are six reasons writers choose self publishing:
1. To supplement an established writing career.
As we talked about a couple of weeks ago in our series on making a living as a writer, it’s a lot of work to be a full-time writer and be able to make a good income. These days many full time writers with traditional publishing contracts are self-publishing both new books and their backlist as a way to supplement their income and keep their work out there in front of readers, growing and expanding their platform and audience.
2. To revive a flagging traditional-publishing career.
Some writers get the bad news that their publisher doesn’t want to do a new contract with them. But they’re still writers and they already have experience with the whole process, from writing to editing to marketing. While this situation used to mean a writer was basically finished, nowadays self-publishing opens up whole new horizons.
3. They’d like a bigger piece of the pie.
Most self-publishing deals will pay anywhere from 30% to 70% royalties, which is much higher than traditional publishers pay. Of course, they don’t have nearly the investment or do nearly the work of the traditional publishers; nevertheless, many writers prefer to do the work themselves in exchange for a higher royalty.
4. They have the time, skills, and the money to do it well.
Some people have an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to be a good business person and a great marketer. Not everyone has these skills, but they’re pretty much a necessity for self-publishing. Some people are writing to a niche audience and they have the ability to reach this audience on their own without the help of a publisher — another good reason to choose self-pub. The ability to cover the upfront cost is also a big plus if you’re considering self-pub.
Some people can’t get the attention of agents and publishers; or if they are, they’re getting rejections. This is a very frustrating place to be — and even very good books get passed over simply because of the huge numbers of books that are being pitched. Many writers get fed up with the “system” and decide to go it alone.
In self-publishing, you don’t have to listen to anyone’s vision for your book but your own. You get to choose your cover, your title, and everything about your book. You don’t have to wait years to be noticed; you do not have to wait a year or two for your book release after the decision is made to publish it. You set your own pace, answer to yourself, and take responsibility for your own success or failure.
What other reasons might lead you to pursue self publishing?