I was recently asked why I self-publish when being published by a ‘proper publisher’ (which I have) is obviously the better option. I thought about it and what follows are the reasons why I self publish some of my books.
One – “It won’t sell”
I’ve had several books turned down not because they were badly written but because someone in the marketing department said they wouldn’t sell. With each of the books I’ve self published sell and continue to sell worldwide.
All the publishers who’ve published my books expect me to market said books. I understand why but I don’t get paid extra for this work, yeah I may receive more royalties but this has never been enough to compensate me for my time. So with my business hat on I’d prefer to market a book that has some chance of compensating me for the time spent and those books are those I self publish.
Three – Greater control
When you have a book published by a publisher they are in charge of the finished look. Sadly a couple of the covers and the internal layouts for a few of my books I’ve not liked. But when the publisher is paying the bills the author has very little say. So at least with my self published books I have control over what my book looks like internally and externally.
Four – Deadlines
I’ve been set some ridiculous deadlines set by publishers as well as had reasonable deadlines moved up so they become almost impossible to meet. At least when publishing your own work you can choose if you want to set a deadline or not. If you do or if you don’t you can work at your own pace meaning corners aren’t cut and hopefully you produce a better book.
Five – Income
All the books I’ve self published earn me more per unit than any of the books I’ve had traditionally published. I’ve been asked how can that be when a traditionally published book must sell more copies. That may be true however when a traditionally published book earns me a grand total of 0.05 pence (yes the decimal is in the correct place) per book that’s a huge number of sales before I make anything considered reasonable. So although I sell far fewer copies I still earn more by self publishing.
Six – It doesn’t have to cost a fortune
I’ve been asked many times how much it costs to publish your own book because “it must cost an arm and a leg.” My first two Anansi books only cost my time, my partner’s time (one of the benefits of living with an IT whizz) and the cost of hiring a professional proof reader/editor. Brer Rabbit and Coyote cost a little more because we invested in professional front cover illustrations. However you’re talking the low hundreds at the most. Unlike the two vanity publishers who tried to fleece me for £3,000 when they offered to publish my book.
Seven – Making changes
The odd mistakes always crop into a book, it doesn’t matter how hard you try they are very, very sneaky. The plus with ebooks and POD (print on demand) books is when you or when a reader alerts you to an error you can change almost immediately.
That’ my seven reasons why I publish and will continue to publish my own work when I’m unable to place with a traditional publisher.