When to Consider Self-Publishing

When to Consider Self-Publishing

Self-publishing your book is now easier than ever. With low production costs, a higher percentage of royalties and a great degree of control over the finished result, self-publishing is a highly appealing route to having your book on the shelf.

Some consider self-publishing to be a last resort only to be pursued after exhausting all traditional publishing options. It is true, after all, that self-publishing entails a higher upfront cost to the author than its alternatives, but there are many reasons that self-publishing may be the preferable choice even when compared to offers from more conventional trade publishers. And in fact, many historically renowned authors, such as Jane Austen and Margaret Atwood, have achieved resounding success by following this path.

To begin, it is important to define how self-publishing differs from traditional publishing. The primary distinction between the two is that self-published books are funded by the author instead of the publishing company. Costs can of course vary based on the amount of support required, and as is often the case, what you get out is often directly proportional to what you put in. One could, for example, self-publish on Kindle at a negligible cost, but this will likely yield negligible revenue if inadequately edited or marketed. 

To this end, many who pursue self-publishing still work with a company that provides the same services as a traditional publisher, albeit on their own dime. Such companies will typically take an author’s manuscript and provide editing and proofreading services, work with illustrators and cover design artists, create a book blurb and author bio, manufacture and distribute physical copies, and perform marketing outreach. While the author typically fronts these costs, they also receive a substantially higher percentage of sales as a royalty going forward.

In this way, self-publishing can be considered a high risk, high reward endeavor. The initial publication costs are frequently more than offset by the lifetime royalties received, but this can take time and therefore it is important not to overextend yourself financially in order to realize these long-term gains. And in some cases, these costs may never be recouped. Sales are never guaranteed, and unlike traditional publishing, the risk primarily lies with the author. 

Viewed another way, self-publishing is to traditional publishing what an entrepreneur is to an employee. There is greater security in the latter and therefore the barriers to entry may be higher. But the entrepreneur will typically have more say in decision-making than if they were employed in an established company. And in the end, if the idea is successful, the entrepreneur will reap higher benefits than the employee. 

Interested in learning more? Find out more about how Cherish Editions can assist you in your self-publishing journey here

If you’re ready to submit your manuscript to us, you can do so here.

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