On our self-publishing journey, we are trying to get to grips with the whole self-publishing world so let's begin by finding out the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing.
Traditional publishing is where - after you've written your book and pitched it to a publisher or agent - the publisher will deal with all the editing, the book cover, the copy editing and final proofing. They go on to budget for your book marketing campaign and they do all the PR and marketing of your book. They also control your book's storage - as they will more than likely print a certain amount of actual copies of the book- and they will follow that up with distributing the book across the globe to hundreds and thousands of book stores both high streets shops and online bookstores.
That is traditional publishing at its best. Traditional publishing at its worst could be timings - especially if you are dead-keen to see your book in print. Traditional publishers can take up to two years to get your book published and onto book store shelves.
Note that there's no expense to you the author with traditional publishing. Also be aware that the publisher will make and take the profit from the book's sales. They will give you a royalty which you negotiate in your publishing contract.
Self-Publishing In Comparison
However, in self-publishing, all of the above is up to you as the author to manage and handle and control. And you pay for any expenses you incur to self-publish your book, which of course depends on the which self-publishing route you go for.
Whatever you read about self-publishing or whoever you speak to, everyone believes that the biggest advantage of self-publishing your own book is that you control all aspects of your book, from the writing, the story progression, the final edits, when the book is to be published, what cover you choose and all the book marketing. You will also get to retain all rights to your book, copyright included (which you normally hand to the traditional publisher we mentioned above) and best of you ... you get to keep 100% of the profits.
When you self-publish your own book, the exciting, yet daunting part comes when you have to choose the format your book will be published in: printed book (hard cover and/or paperback), e-book, ePub, Mobi (for mobile devices), audio book, cd, dvd, and on it goes.
The one huge big benefit of selecting to print in e-book format (also ePub and Mobi), where your self-published book is published in digital format and available on eReaders and other electronic devices, is that it can be downloaded instantly. Someone sees your book's marketing or social sharing, they read more about you the author on Amazon Central, and decide they like the sound of you and your self-published book and hey presto, they make an instant decision to buy your book.
Another advantage is that your self-published eBook can be translated into different languages and can never go out of print.
The downside is that as eBook formats and file types develop and change with new developing technology and as the evolving self-publishng industry expands, there's a good possibility that you'll have to change your self-published book's format and re-upload it the various platforms you have chosen to use to self-publish.
Not so bad, it seems when the pros all outweight the one downside!
How To Decide If Self-Publishing Is Right For You
There's many different points to consider here.
If you're a crafter or hobbyist or artist and desire to see your many years of hard slog in printed book format, you may decide to go with vanity publishing.
On the other hand, you may have written a family tree (as my sister has done) or a book of poetry (like my cousin has done). Both will more than likely have a limited audience. It seems pointless to pay to get your self-published book stored in a warehouse so choosing a Print on Demand option (POD) is probably your best choice here.
The there's the serious novelist who has a life-long dream of selling lotsof books. Self-publising in bulk through a self-publishing company may be your best bet here. You'll need to compare the price differences and calculate your royalty payments to see if this really is the right choice for you. It's seen by many self-publishing experts as the better option to select if you've built up a large reader platform (aka a fan following base of people) with established routes to market your self-publishg book to your target audience. If you do go down this road, like all the others, you'll be spending a lot of time doing your own PR and marketing to promote your book and earn good reviews which turn into sales.
So with that in mind, you'll need to be someone who is social media savvy, be able to generate your own free PR and go great guns to do your own book marketing. If you're none of these and can't be bothered to spend huge chunks of your time spreading the word across the internet about your self-published book, you may want to go with traditional publishing.
Yet, it could be that you've tried for years to get an agent or publisher to take your book seriously and still no bites. Maybe lots of rejections, as many, many thousands of authors, both unpublished and published have experienced.
So the choice is yours really. You have to weigh up the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing and then when you decide which self-publishing model suits you best, go for it! Leather and tongs!!
What do you think? Have you experienced this before. Do let us know your self-publishing story ...