What writer doesn’t dream of being published by an established legacy publishing house? Don’t we all long to see a well-known publisher’s logo brandished boldly on our books? But the harsh reality of publishing is that very, very few writers are ever offered a contract from a traditional publisher.
Fortunately, with the advent of self-publishing, indie authors are now able to break through the barriers erected by the publishing industry. No longer do a pile of rejection letters determine the fate of our books. Self-publishing can provide a workaround that allows anyone to pursue a shot at authorship.
The decision to self-publish your book, however, must entail some due diligence and realistic expectations. As with anything else we have to decide in life, there are pros and cons to the self-publishing option. Continue reading to familiarize yourself with the benefits and challenges of self-publishing.
It is clear, based on the explosive growth of self-publishing in the last decade, that plenty of authors find value in taking this avenue versus traditional publishing. Here are some of the reasons why self-publishing is worth it:
Complete Creative Control
When a writer undertakes a book project, they usually have a vision for their book. Imagine, after signing a contract that basically transfers all control to the publisher, your book then being edited beyond recognition.
Self-publishing allows you to retain complete creative control over your book’s content, formatting, and cover design. You have the ability to hire designers and editors who will polish your manuscript and create an eye-catching cover, while also preserving the vision you had for the book.
While it’s true that there is no way to slap a (quality) self-published book together in a week, self-publishing is still the more expedient path to publication. Once the manuscript is completed, you can expect to see your book listed for sale relatively quickly.
This allows for the final edits, proofing, and tweaks that prepare your book for publication. A traditional publisher takes about eighteen months from the time you submit your completed manuscript for publication.
No Approval Needed
Traditional publishers have become increasingly risk-averse in recent years. Agents and publishers tend to stick with what they consider to be a winning formula these days, leaving little room for new authors who may write outside the favored genres or acceptable parameters.
Self-publishing removes the guard at the gate and opens up the world of authorship to anyone who chooses to give it a go. This eliminates the dreaded query/rejection process that often ends up being a total waste of time.
Higher Royalty Rates
Time to take off those rose-colored glasses and realize that the dream of receiving a big, fat advance along with a lucrative contract is actually an urban legend. If a newly minted author does receive a signing bonus at all it will likely not exceed a few thousand dollars. After that, there will be no subsequent royalty payments until your book sales have offset that bonus.
Typically, a traditional publisher pays about $1 per unit sold. Compare that to self-publishing, where royalties are about 70% of list price, less printing costs — about five times what a publisher pays.
Retain All Rights
When an author signs on the dotted line with a publisher, he or she has signed away all rights to their literary work. This includes not only the book, but any version of your book, such as eBooks, audiobooks, and foreign language versions. Self-published authors retain 100% ownership of their book’s content in all its forms.
Of course, self-publishing is not bulletproof, so let’s consider some of the challenges of the self-publishing option:
Authors who sign a traditional book deal encounter virtually zero pre-publication financial outlays, as all editing and design services are taken care of in-house. This is not the case for self-published authors. Indeed, there are potentially substantial upfront expenditures involved in self-publishing, as all editing and design services are the author’s responsibility.
Finding an Audience
Lest there be any question about it, bookstores are still a thing. People continue to enjoy the process of meandering through bookstores and physically thumbing through books they are considering purchasing.
While it is possible to have a self-published book available for sale at brick-and-mortar bookstores, the majority of them are sold online. This means there are both reduced visibility and a somewhat restricted audience for your book.
This leads to this next challenge, that of the self-published author bearing the sole burden of marketing their book. Traditional publishing companies usually provide a budget for book marketing, albeit a smaller budget now than in years past. For self-published authors, marketing is a necessary line item in their own budgets.
Amazon has roughly 30 million titles listed on its site. If you dream of your book appearing in the first 10 pages of Amazon search results, obtaining this lofty goal will depend entirely on your marketing efforts.
There is a certain degree of cachet associated with a publisher’s logo or imprint appearing on your book. It conveys prestige, that you have passed muster as an author. In short, having a publisher is akin to receiving a professional stamp of approval. Self-publishing simply doesn’t provide that.
No Agent Support
Ask a writer, any writer, how many times they wished they had someone at the next desk or right down the hall to run an idea, a question, or a concern by. Guaranteed you will get a 100% affirmative response.
All authors hit roadblocks along their writing journey, encountering questions or doubts about plot, character, dialogue, setting, structure issues, cover design, or even simple writer’s block. Self-published authors fly solo unless they enlist the help of a professional editor who can offer valuable guidance.
Is Self-Publishing Worth It?
So, is self-publishing worth it? Absolutely, and Gatekeeper Press can show you the ropes.
Gatekeeper Press is a full-service self-publishing house that provides authors with an opportunity to see their books in print, something they may never get to experience through the traditional publishing route. The professionals at Gatekeeper Press are dedicated to offering the highest-quality editing and design services to help guide authors toward self-publishing success.
If you are still wondering, “Why self-publish?” maybe look to the authors of Still Alice, Legally Blonde, The Shack, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit for your answer, as these are all highly acclaimed, successful self-published books.
Now that you know the many benefits of self-publishing, it’s time to access the support you’ll need. Gatekeeper Press not only provides a wide range of editing and book design services but is also a book distribution hub.
Partnering with Gatekeeper Press means your book is listed on a plethora of retail distribution platforms. These include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, and many more. Book a free consultation with Gatekeeper Press today to get started!