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Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing

Here is your ultimate breakdown on self-publishing, including answers to your self-publishing FAQs, a chart explaining the differences between the services of self-publishing companies and traditional publishers, an agent’s perspective on where self-publishing is today and more. by the Writer’s Digest staff

We can’t help but notice that, generally speaking, writers seem to belong to one of three schools of thought on self-publishing. First, there are those who treat it as a last resort (“How long do I suffer through rejections before I give up and just settle for a self-published book?”) or simply assume it’s a substandard option that’s not for them.

Then there’s the full-speed-ahead bunch. (“Why even mess with the whole submission process when I can just do it myself?”) Some have no real concerns about their sales potential and just want to see their words in print. Others have moxie and the marketing plans to match. And many are in way over their heads.

The third group encompasses the lion’s share of writers we encounter on blogs, in our inboxes, on the Writer’s Digest forum, at conferences and even on the street: They just don’t know what to make of this whole self-publishing business. And who can blame them?

There are a lot of preconceived notions about self-publishing, but few of them consider the whole picture—which is constantly evolving. There are good reasons to be pessimistic about self-publishing. But there are also good reasons to consider it a viable option. And there are infinite reasons to be confused.

So we’ll start by breaking down all the types of self-publishing available today. Then, you’ll find answers to your self-publishing FAQs. A chart explaining the differences between the services these companies provide and those you’d get from a traditional publisher. An agent’s perspective on where self-publishing is today. A publishing insider’s insights on where it may be headed. Experimental self-publishing models.

Then, should you find yourself considering it, you’ll learn how to make a self-published book look professional. You’ll see examples of those who’ve done it well—the winners of our International Self-Published Book Awards—and you’ll get feedback from writers who’ve dared to go it alone. Finally, you can garner inspiration in the form of one big success story, and get a head start on your research with our .

A Breakdown of Different Types of Self-Publishing:

INDEPENDENT SELF-PUBLISHING (Go Your Own Way)

SELF-PUBLISHING WITH HELP (Use a Service)

TRADITIONAL PRINT RUN / PRINT-ON-DEMAND (Create a Physical Book)

EVERYTHING FROM E-BOOKS TO WEBSITES AND BLOGS (Go Digital)

Is this really everything you need to know about self-publishing? Let’s be honest: probably not by a long shot. The discussion continues on the WD forum.

This article appeared in the
March/April issue of Writer's Digest. Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.

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