Skip to main content

Advice for Writers: 7 Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book

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.

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition

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.

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.”)

Buy The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing.

Get started in e-publishing today with help from the on-demand webinar, "Do Your E-Book Right."

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

6 Habits Writers Can Learn From Athletes

Author and athlete Henriette Lazaridis shares six tips and habits that writers can learn from athletes.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Last Chance to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Websites, Our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the deadline to nominate your favorite writing websites, our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and more!

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use faint vs. feint in your writing with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples. Plus, we answer whether it's "faint of heart" or "feint of heart."

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter | Book Recommendations

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter

Here are 6 book recommendation perfect for winter reading.

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch shares 12 things all writers should consider when attempting to write effective fight scenes in fiction.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character turn out to be less than they seem.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 15th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

Valeria Ruelas: On Teaching Tarot, Brujeria, and Witchcraft

Valeria Ruelas: On Teaching Tarot, Brujeria, and Witchcraft

Author Valeria Ruelas discusses the process of writing her new book, The Mexican Witch Lifestyle.