Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

20 Pros of Self-Publishing

There are many advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing. The focus here is on the positive ways self-publishing can push the boundaries of your writing life and help you launch a career as an author. This is not a self-publishing vs. traditional publishing argument. Whether you want to self-publish and need 20 reasons why or you’re already self-publishing and need 20 explanations for others, this list is for you


  1. Contribute to Other Creatives

The #1 best thing about self-publishing is helping out other artists all around the world. Whenever you need a cover for your YA book or illustrations for a picture book, you may need to use the skills of an artist or graphic designer. By paying a freelancer to make something, they’re not only helping you but you’re helping them. You're not just helping out financially either. When your name is out there, so is there’s and vice versa. Being able to collaborate with someone else on your creative ideas is the best feeling. The best yet is you have total control over how the project turns out, but seeing your total vision unfold through somebody else's eyes is the coolest.


  1. Total Control

If you have a vision, there’s a way to make it happen. There are so many ways to make a book, and self-publishing means that you control every detail. There’s a lot to learn and so many ways to go about things. Whether you do something yourself or hire someone else to do it, it’s in your power. 


  1. Time

Time constraints are no more because you’re on your own time. Again, no more waiting on your book to hit readers years from now. Do it next week if your heart so wishes. Any time wasted is on you. Just know that if you want reviews for your book, the reviewers will need time to read your book from a sea of other books. But it may be worth your time to get these reviews. Also, any illustrations you draw yourself or commission from others need time. Seasoned illustrators know how much time it will take them to complete drawings. It's all dependent on the type of book you're creating.


  1. Quantity

As a self-published author, the sky’s the limit with how many books you can put out. There’s no waiting on hearing back from anybody or waiting for your turn behind other authors. If you wanted to, you could put a book out a month. If you write many books, self-publishing is perfect for you. Also, who said you can't self-publish and traditionally publish together? Especially if you write a LOT of books.


  1. Quality

Self-published books get a bad rap for quality. But, there are plenty of self-pubbed books readers could’ve sworn were traditionally published. It’s all about the time someone spends on learning all the ways to make their book better and putting in the effort. The possibility for quality is there. You can spend the big bucks to get quality or you can learn yourself through free youtube videos and online courses. If you make your book as professional as possible, readers won't know the difference. That goes for bookstores and librarians too. It's all dependent on your skills or what you're willing to learn on your own.


  1. Earnings

Self-publishers get to keep higher percentages of their earnings. This is because they don't have an agent to pay back or a publisher that foot the bill. There's no sharing of sales or splitting percentages. It's also because self-publishers mostly use print-on-demand services which means the books are only printed when someone buys them. No upfront costs to warehouse hundreds of books. So to earn more, you've got to find the right companies to distribute your book, like Ingramspark or Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. In the future, when you have more books under your belt, you can try other distributors and printers to save and earn more.


  1. Set Your Price

Since you are the book's creator, you can set the price to whatever you wish. If you aren't sure what your book should cost, it's best to look at the prices of other books in your genre and stay within those parameters. Something to note if you use Ingramspark, setting a 55% or more wholesale discount means that bookstores are more willing to buy your book. It all goes back to the question of quality and knowing that your book exists.


  1. Marketing & Advertising

To entice readers, you must advertise your book. Yes, every author should market themselves whether self-pubbed or traditional to increase sales. The nice thing about being self-pubbed is getting to control advertisements. As a self-published author, you can partake in this by turning on ads, putting as many ads out as you can afford, and doing it for as long as you want. On Amazon KDP, there are AMS ads and promotions you can do like free days. This is where your ebook gets free downloads for a set time that is no cost to you. Remember, nobody will champion your book as hard as you.


  1. Community

There’s an entire community of indie writers that will support and help you along your journey. They are on all forms of social media posting comments and blogs with lots of tips. These tips are everything you need to know to self-publish successfully. The indie writing community contains your champions and biggest supporters. They are supportive because they know how much work self-publishing is.


  1. Organizations

Getting into organizations with memberships such as Independent Book Publishers Association gives members more information and ways to get their book out there. Members can opt-in to advertising their books at discounts and get their books into places that are not available to everybody.


  1. Bragging Rights

You not only wrote the book, you made it. Now that’s impressive. Don't let anyone tell you that it doesn't count. Remember, when you're the sole creator of your book that means you don't have an entire team behind you fixing all your mistakes. You're fixing those mistakes and creating the whole product. When people ask, "Did you really write this book?" You can say, "I didn't just write it, I put it together" or "I'm not only the author, but I'm also the publisher!"


  1. Learn More About the Publishing Industry

There’s no better way to learn all aspects of publishing from editing, proofreading, design, typesetting, and bookkeeping than when you self-publish. Doing things on your own equates to more knowledge. You're doing the job of multiple people and that's amazing. Perhaps you'll find some aspect of publishing that you love other than writing. Self-publishing is an all-around great learning experience.


  1. Portfolio

You have something to prove you can write. If you still want to go the traditional publishing route, self-publishing some books is a great way to showcase your writing skills and get yourself out there. It proves that you can write a book and if you win awards or end up selling a lot of books, it can impress a future agent or publisher. Think of it as a portfolio or a resume. It doesn't have to be an end-all, but something to supplement.


  1. Awards & Reviews

You can enter your book into as many awards as you want. Although they have entry fees, awards are another way to get your books known and competitive in the marketplace. Once you earn one, you can officially say that you're an award-winning author. Another thing that can help keep you competitive with other books is reviews. Look at any traditionally published book and you'll probably see a small quote on the front from a big voice in the industry. The first pages may also have a whole list of top reviewers saying good things about the book. Remember, it is within your reach to get those too.


  1. Creative in Other Ways

When you make a book, you're using so much more of the creative part of your brain. Making book covers or working with an artist are other ways to be creative. This industry is still fairly new and wouldn't it be great to create something others haven't seen before? As a self-published author, you're paving a new way of doing things and using all your creative juices to do it.


  1. Editors & Beta Readers 

You have the same capabilities as any publishing house to work with the same editors they do. It takes research, but it's possible. There are many freelance developmental editors, copy editors, line editors, and proofreaders with professional experience. It's highly recommended that you get other eyes on your book, but it's also important to learn as much as you can about basic grammar and edit on your own as well. If you can't afford all the prescribed editing, the next best thing is beta readers. These are people who love reading books and will give you their professional opinion on how they think other readers will receive the story. The more editing and beta readers, the better quality.


  1. Artistic Style & Design

With self-publishing, whatever you can envision there's an artist with that particular style that can make it happen. Many graphic designers can use whatever typography, pictures, or colors that you want. You can go with the crowd and copy the style of your genre or you can go rogue and create an artistic style of your own.


  1. Multiple & Non-Traditional Genres

If you write books in a genre that isn't widely commercial or too small of a niche to catch the eyes of traditional publishers, self-publishing is a great route. There's an audience for every type of book, but there's not always a publisher for that same book. If you write in all kinds of different genres or age groups, self-publishing allows you to publish them all or together with a traditional publisher. Who said you can't have multiple pen names?


  1. Business

Self-publishers are also business owners. Words like Authorpreneur and indie publishers get thrown around nowadays because of the growing popularity of self-publishing and the different business models. If you wanted to publish under your author name or Kindle's publishing company, then that's fine. But you can also make your own publishing name, use your own ISBNs, and get a business license. You can publish only yourself or yourself and other authors' books. Publishing, in general, is a business and your book is the product. Self-publishing means it's your own business and you can take it as far as you want.


  1. Say Goodbye to Procrastination

Knowing that you can publish your book any time keeps you writing more. If you're always producing books that are never getting published, it can get tough to keep pushing through the grind when there are zero results. It may feel like you wasted precious moments if you let it go on for years. Self-publishing is a way to squash any future book writing procrastination or complacency. Many self-published authors write more than their counterparts because they can see the finish line and get the payoff of finishing a book. No more wasted writing! It's time to get your work out there.


Questions about self-publishing? Go ahead and ask below. Any more self-publishing pros? Comment with other suggestions. Readers would love to hear more!


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