The best reason I know for self-publishing is because you have something you want to say and it is the best avenue open to you. The belief that only large publishing houses know what is worth publishing is ludicrous. If you have a story that is burning within you, you need to publish it for others to read. The one important concern you need to keep in mind was best stated by a commenter on my first blog and I’m going to copy it here because he said it so well:
“… self-publishing is entrepreneurial. When you self-publish, you literally start a small business and have to be able to run and fund it from the beginning to the end. If you do not want to be in business or do not feel comfortable hiring the various professionals to perform all the different tasks (editing, typesetting, creating a cover design, etc.), or if you do not like promoting yourself, chances are you are not going to succeed. Self-publishing is for people who have a book other people are willing to pay money for, and who who [sic] are willing and able to spend months, if not years, seeing it through. It can be rewarding for people who enjoy being in charge and who are open to learning new skills, but it is certainly not for everyone.”
Learning to self-publish is not hard today. Websites that offer it are careful to make them user friendly. Check out the sites you find online take note of these basic questions for comparison when making your decision:
- Is there an upfront charge to upload and create your book?
- What type of files do they accept from you? Can it be a Word doc or do you have to save it in a format you’re not familiar with?
- Are there publishing tutorials available onsite?
- Do you retain all rights to your book?
- What after-publishing services do they offer? Do they have an online catalogue? Do they list it anywhere? Do they register it with Bowker ( U.S. book registry for all books published in the United States)?
- Are there extra charges for any changes you make?
- What is their charge per book? Per 100 books?
- Do they have professionals available that you can pay to edit and/or create artwork?
- Do you have to provide your own ISBN or will they sell you one?
Lest you think that there aren’t many pluses to self-publishing, here are just a few that I found:
- You’re the boss. It’s your creation, you book.
- You aren’t sharing the profits with another company.
- You get to make the decisions, not someone else.
- You own the rights; nobody can take them away from you.
Self-publishing, done with a professional attitude will be mind expanding and self affirming and if you feel it’s something your skills and book would benefit from, do it.