Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Should You Self-Publish Your Books? What Are Signs That You Should?

Are you an author who has finished a book and would like to see it published?  If so, have you received multiple rejection letters from both large and small publishing houses?  If you have, your first thought may be to give up. Of course, it is your right to do so, but did you know that you do have other options? One of those options is to self-publish your own book.

Before examining if self-publishing your own book is right for you, it is first important to familiarize yourself with self-publishing, namely what it is and what is expected of you. Self-publishing involves writing, editing, and selling a book without the assistance of a third party publishing company. Book authors are responsible for writing a book, editing a book, and finding a company to print the book and in this day in age find the right self-publishing e-publisher that offers an eBook format. Self-published authors typically sell their books on their own websites or they approach retailers, both on and offline depending on which format you choose to publish in. I'll provide a couple of links for you to check out at the end of this post to help you in digital self publishing.

As for whether or not self-publishing a book is the right option for you, there are some signs that you will want to look for. A few signs that self-publishing may be your best option are pointed out below for your consideration.

Sign #1 – You Have Received Multiple Rejection Letters

What is first important to understand about the publishing process is that few authors receive offers from publishers on their first, second, or even third submissions. In fact, some authors try as many as a hundred times or more to get just one book published before they receive an offer. For example, Susan Wiggs, A New York Times Best Selling Author, received one hundred and forty rejections before she received a contract. Stephen King has a similar story as well. So you can see that getting published is no easy task.
As a good rule to set for yourself, be sure to send your manuscript to as many publishers as you possibly can that accept your genre and especially those that are looking for what you have, such as a romance themed novels to Harlequin or a children’s book to Scholastic, and so one. Of course, those are only examples; there are too many publishers for romance and children’s books to mention here.

Now, when there are no more publishers left for your specific genre and storyline, you might want to consider self-publishing.

Sign #2 – Despite Rejection Letters You Still Believe You Have a Good Book

Self-publishing is a wise choice for many, but for others it can be a costly mistake. Before deciding to go ahead with self-publishing a book, it is important to make sure that you are fully behind your book. Do you honestly and truly believe in your heart that you have a good book on your hands?  If you do, self-publishing just may be for you.

Sign #3 – You Have a Book with Limited Readers

When many of us think of publishing a book, we automatically think of captivating stories. Romance books are not the only types of books written, although they do typically tend to have the largest audiences.  If you have written a how-to book or a guide on a specific area that is likely to only draw in a limited number of readers, self-publishing may be your best option. It's also common that many well-known publishers tend to stay away from books that only have small target audiences. The sales normally aren't there to merit the advance that they'd have to give the author.

Sign #4 – You Want to Retain the Largest Profit

Self-published authors stand the best chance of making the biggest profit. This is because publishing fees are not taken out of their profits. Of course, this does not include the small fee Barnes and Noble or Amazon self-pub option will charge you for each book sale. Believe me though, that charge is very minimal. Just do your research. 
With that said, it is important to remember that self-publishing is not completely free. You will have to pay to have your books developed in print if you choose to offer more than just eBook format, but that fee is typically smaller than the cut that many well-known publishers take. There are always ways that you can save money with self-publishing. For instance, you have the option of printing on demand as opposed to a large quantity of books on hand. Again, this is if you want to offer print copies.

A large amount of self-published authors in romance as well as other genres, self publish using the eBook format and have hit major milestones in their book sales.

Of course, it is important to remember that just because you want to make money doesn’t mean that you will. If you want to make the most money with a self-published book, I can't stress enough that you have to do the proper amount of marketing. And it doesn't stop there. Readers expect a well a polished book that has minimal to no editorial problems. So please make sure your work is polished! It’s also important to mention nice cover art will aid you in your book marketing campaign.

Putting careful thought, it is important to remember that there are a number of pros and cons to self-publishing. With that being said, one has to balance out those pros and cons and decide if self-publishing is the best option for you. If you truly believe that you have a book that will sell, you are encouraged to closely examine self-publishing, as you have nothing to lose by doing so.

Some food for thought, Ernest Hemingway once said and I quote "My aim is to put down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way I can tell it."

I guess we can all learn from that, till next time!!!

Helpful links:



  1. I think sometimes Self-Publishing can also be good. I mean yea getting published with a larger publishing house means you get better editing, a better cover, better marketing and tours and all that. But with self-publishing it's like you do everything the way you want. So I think it's good to do it if you keep getting rejected. Build up your fanbase and then try with a publishing house again after.

  2. I also think self-publishing can be a great thing. It seems to allow the authors such a level of freedom. I seriously considered it and would have pursued it if my publisher hadn't picked up my book. The key for self-published authors is to do what the publisher does: make sure you edit, edit, and edit. The grammar and structure mistakes are the only issue I ever have with self-published books. Many are great; some are definitely in need of an editor.

  3. I'd like to comment as well that multiple rejections may be the sign of either a poor story structure or poor editing. Have some other people (people you trust) read your book and give you some real feed back. If you stll have a good book, check out the grammar and spelling. I have seen many a great book spoiled by poor editing. Publishers these days want a book that is pretty much ready for print. And if they are rejecting it, then that may be the reason. I have seen many self published book reviews that say something to the tune of "could've been a great book if the author knew how to spell!" Ouch! If you are going to go the self publish route, be prepared to spend a little bit of money to do it right (and don't let someone sell you a $2,000 package)! A little research and a couple hundred dollars at the most will get you a great cover and nicely edited book!

    Linnea Hall author Love Immortal (self published)


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