A few weeks ago, I wrote an article here extolling the virtues and advantages of having your book published by a real publishing house vs. self-publishing.
This prompted subscriber LP to write, “Just wondering if there is ever a time or situation where self-publishing has merit.”
Yes, LP, I can think of several.
First, for whatever reason, you are in a hurry to get the book published.
From the day you turn in your book manuscript, it can take 6 to 12 months for your book to get published.
If you cannot wait that long, self-publishing is the answer; you can get your self-published Kindle e-book on Amazon in as little as a few weeks.
Second, you want total control over the contents and design of the book.
Publishers edit books and demand authors make requested changes. The publisher also has the final say on book design.
If you want your book a certain way, and don’t want to be told how to write or design it, self-publishing is the alternative to mainstream publishers.
Third, you are a master marketer and believe you can make more money selling the book directly to consumers on your own.
Robert Ringer self-published his mega-bestsellers and sold them through brilliantly written full-page newspaper ads before selling the paperback rights to a mainstream publisher for a lot of money.
Many other master marketers—including Bob Kalian, Joe Karbo, and the late Melvin Powers—made a lot of money self-publishing…more than they probably would have made in mainstream publishing.
Fourth, you are a professional speaker, business owner, service provider, or self-employed professional, and you want copies of your book to sell or give away.
When you publish with a mainstream publishing house, you get only a 50% author’s discount on copies you purchase, making it prohibitively expensive to give away a lot of copies of the book. Such a margin is too small to warrant selling the book on your own.
If you self-publish a paperbound book, the cost per copy can be low enough to make it a practical giveaway or product you sell.
Fifth, you have been turned down by mainstream literary agents and publishing houses.
Not everyone who wants to write a book can get it published, which is precisely why traditional publishing is more exclusive and prestigious.
If publishers say “no” and you believe in the book and want to see it in print or online as an e-book, self-publishing can make that happen.
The “Bible” of book self-publishing is “The Self-Publishing Manual” by Dan Poynter.
The authoritative guide to marketing your book is “1,001 Ways to Market Your Book” by John Kremer.
SH, an author who has had multiple books published by traditional publishers and now coaches new authors, says, “I typically advise my clients to self-publish successfully, and then approach publishers with a track record. It makes for a much more balanced negotiation.”
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.