Friday, June 19, 2009

Reasons to NOT be an independent self-publisher

I love being a self-publisher, but it's not the right solution for all books, all writers, or all of the time.

 It costs more money than using a traditional publisher who pays the costs of publishing and pays you royalties when books are sold. HOWEVER, it costs less than vanity publishing.
 You’ll need to have, to develop, or hire people with additional skills such as book design, business management and book publicity.
 You’ll have to make lots of decisions, and may have to do research before you can decide what to do. Very basic choices such as book title, length and price can have a major impact on sales, and you may not be qualified to decide.
 If you have one of those elusive special, spectacular books and can get an contract from a traditional publisher, you’ll probably make more money and do less work than if you are an independent self publisher — but you’ll wait longer for the money.
 Even though you will have a lot of control, you can’t control everything, and this may be very frustrating. You can’t control the state of the economy, you can’t force people to be interested in your topic, you can’t control which booksellers are willing to sell or promote your book.
 You have to spend more money and time than if you were published by a traditional publishing company that does all of the work after you submit your manuscript.
 If the book fails, by whatever measure you choose to apply, most or all of the blame is on you.
 Some people will not be impressed.
 Your books are unlikely to be stocked by “bricks-and-mortar” book sellers.
 It will be harder to get book reviews.


  1. There are always good and bad things about publishing aren't there?

  2. On the other hand, being an indie self-publisher is FUN! *lol* Power to the people blah, blah.

    Love your post, BTW. Thank you.

    Wanted to say that I feel there is a movement / mindset gathering giant momentum which will cut to the core of the global players.

    It's the new cycle. People - the market - finding mass-produced, mass-marketed, global branded goods less attractive,(including giant publishers with their perfectly-set, personality-weak books). Added to this is people naturally being deeply attracted to hand-made, individual, indie products in a world where communities and family are not as strong (or nurturing) as say, 30 years ago.

    I think people are craving (quite rightly) a sense of authenticity and connectedness - not that big publishing houses aren't authentic - I have deal with them myself as a published author. However, consumers can find this connectedness and real relationship with indie producers. is a prime example of this. And consider how it's more fulfilling to go to the local farmers market or corner store where everyone knows you (though perhaps less convenient and more expensive) than the somewhat soul-less neon supermarket.

    Peta Love
    Author of Beef Casserole for the Dog's Soul, a treasury of barkalicious stories to read to your dog