Self-publishing has become a popular option for many writers. There are many advantages to self-publishing, including having more control over the publishing process, being able to publish more quickly, and keeping more of the profits from book sales. However, there are also some disadvantages to self-publishing, including having to pay for the publishing process yourself and not getting the same level of publicity and distribution that you would from a traditional publishing house.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to self-publish or find an agent is a personal one that depends on your individual goals and preferences.
Let's take a look at each one a little closer:
When you self-publish, you have complete control over your book. You make all the decisions, and you reap all the rewards. Or suffer all the consequences.
In self publishing, you are the publisher, and you are in charge of every aspect of your book's production. You get to choose the design, the type of book, the editing, and the cover. You also get to decide when and where to publish. If you're comfortable with making all these decisions yourself, self publishing can be a great way to get your work into the hands of as many people as possible.
This is a great option for people who like to be in control of their work.
However, you need to know how to market your book, and remember that the only person who is in charge of getting your work seen, is you.
Pros: Control of the process and high royalty rates.
Cons: Paying for everything yourself, and being in charge of all the marketing.
Traditional publishing is when you find an agent who sells your work to a publishing house (although sometimes a publisher will accept you directly).
The publishing house will then edit, design, print, and market your book.
The advantage of going the traditional route is that you don't have to pay for anything yourself, and you get the benefit of the publishing house's publicity and distribution channels.
The disadvantage is that you have less control over the process, and it can take longer to get your book published.
With traditional publishing, you give up some control to a publisher, but in return, you get their expertise, resources, and reach. A publishing house will edit your book, design the cover and interior, handle printing and distribution, and help market your book. This can be a great option if you're not comfortable with self-publishing or if you want to focus on writing rather than marketing.
However, traditional publishing can be a slow process, and you will likely give up some control over your work. Also, because of the amount of work they put in for you, they take a higher percentage of your profits than if you had to do this yourself.
Pros: You don't have to pay for anything, and they are in charge of the marketing.
Cons: You have less control over the process, it can take a long time to see your book in print, and royalty rates are very low.
It's an individual choice, with both choices offering advantages and disadvantages.
Personally, I've gone the hybrid route, and I'm happy with this decision. I have several published books with a traditional publishing house, and some that I've published myself.
Here's what I enjoy about both:
Self-publishing: I love how quick it is, and how much control I have over the process. Also, higher royalty rates are a huge benefit. For self-publishing, I focus mostly on e-books and print on demand so that I don't have excess stock lying at home.
Traditional publishing: Seeing my book in print at bookstores all around Australia has been a truly wonderful experience and a nice little ego boost (which, let's face it, us authors need sometime).
At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you, or play around with both ideas. There's no right or wrong way to do this. No matter what you choose, enjoy the process. Don't get too wrapped up in the outcome, and remember that the most important thing is getting your story out to the world.
If you've written a book but unsure what to do next, take a look at my courses.