Want to sell your book? Wondering if self-publishing is right for you? Learn the benefits of self-publishing in today’s blog post.
Writing and selling your eBook is a potentially lucrative venture.
However, you might be thinking about whether self-publishing your eBook is worth the added work and expense.
If you’re still on the fence, here are some of the benefits of self-publishing that you can factor in your decision.
One of the most important things for creatives is to have control over their work.
Self-publishing gives you creative control on all the four stages of creating your eBook: writing, editing, design, and printing/rendering the book into your desired file types depending on where you want to sell.
Traditional publishers look for books that they know will sell. They’ll read your proposal and if it doesn’t fit their definition of “sellable,” they’ll reject it.
If you self-publish, you don’t need to fear being rejected. You don’t need to write proposals, and you don’t have to think too hard about whether your topic will sell or not simply because it doesn’t matter.
Also, because you’re not writing against a deadline, it doesn’t matter how long you take to finish it. As long as you’re determined to see it through, you will finish it on your own timeline.
You get to write about anything you want and write it however you want, whenever you want.
You can choose whether or not to have a professional to help you out to copy edit and proofread your work (I strongly suggest you do, though).
Have a flair for design? You can even do your own book cover. If you’re not great with designing, you can have a graphic designer do your book cover for you, but you get to choose which designer to work with and if you’re going to accept their work.
Want to sell your book exclusively on Amazon? Or sell them on all the stores you possibly can? Want to sell a paperback version or an audiobook version of your book? You decide.
Throughout all the stages of creation, you never have to answer to anyone else; you always have the final word.
Self-publishing gives you creative control over your work.
The degree of creative control you have over your eBook extends to how you want to market it.
You have full control over what channels you’re going to use, such as content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, paid ads, etc.
Aside from the “what,” you also have control over the “how”; that is, how you want to position your eBook in the market, what kind of message you want to use so you can attract your target audience, and the overall marketing plan you’re going to implement.
You can even experiment with alternative ways of marketing and promotion, such as through offline marketing (that is, through conferences and events, or through selling or giving away paperback copies locally for more exposure).
While this certainly requires more effort on your part, the knowledge you gain doing the marketing yourself and controlling how your eBook is marketed and perceived is more preferable than having a publisher take the reins and market through their established channels. You might also end up not doing any publicity, with the publishers just dumping your book in bookstores and calling it a day.
Self-publishing lets you market your eBook however you want.
Aside from creative control and control over how you market your eBook, you decide how much your book is going to cost.
However, pricing an eBook is a delicate exercise in balancing multiple factors (i.e., it’s not as fun as it sounds).
You want to recoup what you spent on the eBook in terms of time, effort, and financial cost of writing, editing, designing, and marketing it. Plus, you want your eBook to be perceived as high-quality, so you want it slightly higher than the usual. But at the same time, you want it to be affordable for your target audience.
That said, the ability to set it and also to change it when you feel it’s appropriate is more preferable than letting your publisher decide the price of your book.
Self-publishing allows you to set the price and in effect, how much you earn per book you sell.
In traditional publishing, the publisher pays you a royalty of 15% to 20% (10% if you’re unlucky) of the list price of the book.
Self-publishing pays much better. For instance, Amazon pays you either 35% or 70% of your net earnings, Apple pays 55% and Kobo pays either 45% or 70%. Needless to say, these rates are almost three times larger than what traditional publishers pay.
Get even more profits from your eBook by selling it directly on your blog or website. After paying a small amount to your payment processor, you get to keep almost the entire price of your eBook.
Plus, you get paid less frequently by traditional publishers. They pay royalties twice and sometimes once a year. You still get paid fairly, but being paid infrequently can potentially complicate your finances.
You get your royalties more frequently when you self-publish. The standard seems to be a monthly payout, provided you meet a payment threshold.
Self-publishing pays higher royalty rates more frequently.
Note: I am not a lawyer, and I have no formal legal training whatsoever. For legal issues and questions, always consult a lawyer before deciding on a course of action.
It may seem like an obvious thing, but you’d be surprised how murky copyright law is in traditional publishing.
If you don’t go over your contract and agreements thoroughly, you might actually be signing away your rights to your book. It’s also possible that you’ve given them the right to demand a follow-up to your book.
When you self-publish, you don’t need to worry about all this. You get to keep the rights to adaptations, such as the audiobook version or even a film or TV adaptation (one simply never knows!).
If you want to use the book as material for training or coaching purposes, you’re free to do that as well. All the rights to spin-offs or follow-ups are automatically yours, and solely for you to decide if you’re going to write them.
Self-publishing lets you retain the rights to your works.
Going to traditional publishers usually means waiting 6 to 18 months (minimum!) after signing a book deal for your books to finally hit the shelves.
It can be quite frustrating, especially if you’re looking forward to talking about the book and have hyped it up to your followers.
Self-publishing does away with that amount of waiting time. Theoretically, once you’ve written the book, you can have it published by tomorrow. In reality, after copy editing and proofreading, plus after designing and launching, it typically takes a few weeks to a month.
Still better than waiting for months or years for your book to see the light of day.
Self-publishing gets your eBooks out in the market faster.
Putting out a physical book in bookstores usually means your book gets displayed one or two months, then moved to make way for new releases. They may still stock your book and show it to a customer who asks for it, but your book isn’t constantly displayed on the shelf.
When you work with virtual shelves, however, once your eBook is up there, it’s there. Share it, promote it, have your readers promote it, and so on. Your eBook may get some lean months, but it’s there, ready to be ordered.
As long as your eBook stays up on the site, you can always sell it and establish yourself as a serious author.
Self-publishing allows you to market your eBook for longer.
While you’re in the process of creating your eBook, you’ll be learning a lot from every stage.
For example, you’ll learn some grammar rules you never know existed, or what type of imagery and font types work best on book covers, or how to keep separate mailing lists for those who expressed early interest in your eBook and those who’re interested in.
The skills needed to create an eBook, i.e., writing, editing, design, and marketing are almost the same skills you need to be a successful blogger or online entrepreneur, so if you’re already a blogger/entrepreneur or want to be one, keep in mind that self-publishing will give you an edge, both knowledge-wise and skill-wise.
Extensive research and a hundred lessons can certainly let you know what to expect and teach you basic skills, but they can never give you the actual knowledge of diving right in and doing all the work.
Self-publishing teaches you skills and knowledge that you won’t get anywhere else.
Whether you’re an aspiring or successful blogger, or some type of online entrepreneur, the way you’re perceived in your niche factors a lot in earning your target audience’s trust.
Having a self-published eBook establishes your authority in your niche and increases your audience’s regard for you and your content. A self-published eBook that is high-quality, genuinely helpful, and highly rated shows that you’re a credible expert.
Plus, the fact that you published a book in itself says a lot about your commitment and determination to get things done. It shows that you’re willing to invest time, effort, and money into sharing your expertise.
Self-publishing establishes your authority, credibility, and expertise in your field or niche.
Yes, for all the benefits of self-publishing, there are still some drawbacks to it.
Instead of ignoring these drawbacks, let’s discuss them head-on so you’ll know what to expect.
Traditional publishers provide a team of editors and proofreaders and designers to ensure the quality of your book. This editorial team is paid by the publishing company to guarantee that your book sells and makes them money.
You have the ability to hire your own editorial team individually or sign up with a self-publishing company that provides you with your own editorial team. However, an editorial team that you aren’t paying for allows them to be more critical and objective in dealing with your work.
Marketing eBooks can be difficult, especially if you’re starting out with no connections and no experience in the publishing industry.
Again, you can hire marketers and publicists to help you promote your eBook and spread the word, but the existing networks and connections of a traditional publisher can’t be overlooked.
When you don’t have a big-name publisher behind your book, it takes double the effort to convince potential readers that your book is worth their while.
Ever since selling Amazon eBooks became popular, their Kindle Store has been flooded with books of varying quality. High-quality ones are around and tend to be bestsellers, but there are also plenty of low-quality eBooks that are poorly written, lacking in content, created entirely for advertising purposes, or all of the above.
Because it’s a mixed bag, potential readers look for signs that an eBook is worth buying, and one of the things they look at aside from the author is the publisher. If it’s a big-name one, they tend to rest assured that they’re buying a high-quality eBook, but if they see that it’s from a self-published author, they tend to have doubts.
This is still workable, and there are numerous other ways to instill confidence in potential readers, but it takes more effort (and often more financial resources) to gain this trust.
Self-publishing your eBook is a worthwhile endeavor and can potentially even be lucrative.
It’s not without its obstacles, though. Because of its very nature (self-publishing), you’ll need to do everything yourself, and it can take an enormous amount of time and effort to put together what you need to get your eBook done.
But there are so much more benefits than there are drawbacks, as we’ve seen. If it fits your skills, goals, and circumstances, I highly suggest going for it.
Here’s a recap of the benefits of self-publishing.
Have you started self-publishing? How has it benefited you? Share it in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.