Is self-publishing a good idea?

It would be fair to say that publishing a book isn’t for everyone. It is often said that everyone has a book in them. We have found, on rare occasions, that the book should remain there. However, for those that have spent the time to craft their book and also spent time re-reading and re-writing it and are now desperate to go into print then publishing, however it is done, is a must.

The author retains control of the process

In another article I discussed the differences between traditional and self-publishing so let us not go over familiar ground. Instead let us explore the reasons why self-publishing is a good idea. The first, and perhaps the most important, reason is that the author retains control of the process. I’ve heard of authors getting a publishing deal and losing not only the rights to the characters, but also having their title changed and not having a hand in the cover design or any part of the publishing process.

Decent self-publishing company

While I would always recommend listening to good advice, I think most authors would like a say in how their book will look. This also extends to the size of their book and the font that is used. As a general guide, Times New Roman is not the best for published readability. Any decent self-publishing company should be working with the author to fulfil exactly what they are looking for.

Where most of the arguments occur is in cover design. Many authors say that they have designed their own cover, and in our experience, most are dreadful. Bear in mind that the purpose of the cover is to sell your book. This means that money spent on a designer can be worth every penny. After all bad covers can kill book sales dead.

Get a healthy return on your investment

To self-publish you will have had to lay out some of your own (borrowed, been given, raised) money to make this book real and your goal is to get a healthy return on your investment and that investment starts at the cover. Along with that is the blurb. Some authors are great at these; others need help. Get it right and the book will fly. Get it wrong and you’ll be disappointed in the sales.

Most of the decisions are never yours when you are traditionally published. You take your advance, sign away your rights and wait to see what happens. By being self-published you will be advised, but the final decisions are all yours.

What else is good about self-publishing?

That, briefly, covers the production of the book. What else is good about self-publishing? Probably the best thing is the level of royalties you receive. If you publish with Amazon you get either 35% or 70%. With self-publishing you have the potential to earn 100% royalties. That’s the great news. The bad news is that you have 100% of the costs as well. This is where business maths comes into play. And if you don’t have good business maths, don’t self-publish. What I mean by this is your understanding as an author to cost out the book you are publishing, to work out what financial goals you have, what you are prepared to spend and see if the figures add up.

Be clear about your goal

Some authors just want to publish their book, give some copies to friends and family and be happy with that and that is as noble a goal as any. Some want to build a massive fan base, get picked up by one of the big five and become the next shiny thing. That’s a noble goal as well. In order to understand business maths, you have to be clear about your goal to start with. By doing that you can set a budget not only for publishing the book, but also marketing it as well. Once you do that, now you become a much smarter author.

Establishes you as an author.

All of this may make your head swim and leave you wondering if you should bother. I go back to my original premise. Self-publishing is a doorway that only exists if you go through it. Our authors have appeared on television, got well-paid speaking gigs, raised their personal profile, increased the awareness of their business and gained thousands of followers on social media. All of this leads to increased book sales, but even more than that it establishes you as an author. Writers are people who haven’t been published, authors are people that have and as Joanne Harris (author of ‘Chocolat’, amongst many) tweeted not long ago that includes all sorts of publishing from traditional to self-published and every category in-between.

As always if this has inspired more questions contact us at 3P Publishing on 01536 560410 or email We look forward to hearing from you.

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