Self-publishing used to be a last resort for aspiring authors unable to break through the traditional publishing fortress. With the help of vanity presses, those writers took matters into their own hands and brought their books to market, for a fee.
These days, self-publishing has a newfound respect. The “guilt by association” connection to vanity publishing has largely disappeared, and even bestselling authors are opting to self-publish. Today’s e-book and print on demand (POD) technology enables authors to control the publishing process on their own terms, and based on the proliferation of self-publishing success stories, it’s safe to say the trend toward self-publishing is here to stay.
One of the most appealing aspects of self-publishing is that it isn’t one-size-fits-all. As your book’s publisher, you can choose just how many services and technologies you’ll utilize. Supported Self Publishing (SSP) provides you with nearly all services and resources in the publishing process, whereas with Do-It-Yourself Publishing (DIY), you are responsible for all aspects of publishing and marketing your book. (For a helpful breakdown of SSP and DIY publishing models, visit Abbott Press, a division of Writer’s Digest.)
Regardless of which model you choose, there are quantifiable benefits to self-publishing, as Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier illustrate in The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. Following is some key advice for writers from the book:
7 Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book
1. You Just Might Strike It Rich
Self-publishing offers the potential for huge profits. No longer do you have to be satisfied with the meager 5 to 15 percent royalty that commercial publishers dole out. For those who use creativity, persistence, and sound business sense, money is there to be made.
2. You Can Be Your Own Boss
Self-publishing can be the road to independence. What motivates entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses? Most want to be their own bosses. More personal freedom is the second most important reason. Some do it out of necessity in tough economic times. But most dream of becoming self-employed. You can turn that dream into reality. Here is a dynamic, proven way to shape your own destiny. It is an answer not only for city folks but also for urban escapees seeking to prosper in paradise. (Does Marilyn ever know about prospering in paradise, living and working in a lovely Colorado mountain town of only two thousand …)
3. You Can Create a Tax Haven
Becoming a self-publisher also provides a helpful tax shelter. After forming your own company and meeting certain requirements, you can write off a portion of your home and deduct some expenses related to writing and to marketing, such as automobile, travel, and entertainment costs. Always check current tax regulations and restrictions.
4. You Get to Move at Your Own Pace
Another advantage is that you can begin your business on a part-time basis while keeping your day job. Why risk your livelihood until you’ve refined your publishing activities and worked out any bugs?
5. You Maintain Control of Your Work
In self-publishing, you guide every step. You’ll have the cover you like, the typeface you choose, the title you want, and the ads you decide to place. Your decision is final. Nothing is left in the hands of an editor or publicist who has dozens (or hundreds) of other books to worry about. You maintain absolute control over your own book. (Along with this advantage, however, comes the fact that you also get stuck doing everything.)
6. You Can Be the First to Market
Privately publishing your work also gives you the advantage of speed. Big trade houses typically take from a year to a year and a half—or even longer—to get a book out. Self-publishers can do it in a fraction of that time. Zilpha Main, who self-published her book Reaching Ninety—My Way, commented when asked why she took that approach, “At my age, I can’t wait for New York publishers to make up their minds.”
7. You Can Create a Springboard to Traditional Publishing
Once the marketability of your book has been proven, traditional publishers will be eager to take it off your hands. (We advise you on this in chapter twenty-two of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, “Bagging the Big Game: Selling Your Self-Published Book to a Goliath Publisher.”)
Learn from a panel of experts on how to succeed in self-publishing: Register for the 2012 Writer’s Digest West Conference.
Get started in e-publishing today with help from the on-demand webinar, “Do Your E-Book Right.”