Is Self-Publishing Worth It? Yes, and Here’s Why!

Author calculating the worth between traditional vs. self-publishing

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

When it comes to book publishing, there are two routes to consider: traditional publishing and self-publishing. While traditional publishing has its merits, the fact is, it’s out of reach for many authors. So, the question is: While it offers numerous benefits, is self-publishing worth it?

What are the benefits of self-publishing?

Self-publishing empowers authors to take control of their publishing career and enjoy a range of options that traditional publishing rarely offers. Here are 12 reasons why authors love self-publishing.

1. Creative autonomy

One significant advantage of self-publishing is maintaining creative control over your work. Unlike traditional publishing — where authors often have limited say in the book cover design, editing, and marketing decisions — self-publishing allows you to make all the creative choices. You can bring your project to life without compromising your artistic vision.

2. Fast timelines

Traditional publishing can involve lengthy waiting periods as authors go through the process of finding an agent, securing a publishing deal, and adhering to the publisher’s release schedule. Even just the seemingly simple process of signing a contract can take months.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, enables an author to work at their own pace, resulting in faster timelines from manuscript completion to planning a book launch. With self-publishing, your book can be in the hands of readers just weeks after you’ve completed your manuscript.

3. Retain your rights

In traditional publishing, authors often have to sign over distribution rights, movie rights, and more. With self-publishing, you retain complete control over your book and can explore various avenues for monetization. For example, when I self-published The Dragon Squisher, I sold off the audiobook rights, resulting in a nice payday, but maintained my rights for everything else.

4. Higher royalties

Self-publishing offers the potential for higher royalty rates. While traditional publishing typically involves royalty rates ranging from 5–15 percent, self-publishing allows authors to earn much more per sale. With BookBaby’s Bookshop, authors can earn 50 percent of printed books sales, 75 percent of audiobook sales, and 85 percent of their eBook sales.

5. Control of your book launch

A book launch is a major event in the life of a book, and self-publishing gives you autonomy over every aspect of your launch. As an independent author, you have the flexibility to plan and execute your book launch, including the location of book signings and other in-person events, pricing of your book in all its formats, and the tone and tenor of your book marketing and promotional campaigns.

6. Diverse publishing options

Self-publishing offers authors a wide range of publishing options. You can choose to publish in various printed-book formats — including paperback and hardcover — as well as eBook and audiobook. This flexibility allows you to cater to different reader preferences and reach the broadest audience possible.

7. Global distribution

With self-publishing, you can choose platforms to distribute your book — like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Barnes & Noble Press — and reach a global audience. But there are dozens of other options available, and if you self-publish through BookBaby, you can distribute your book to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, and everywhere books are sold.

8. Longevity and availability

5 Steps to Self-PublishingUnlike with traditional publishing, where books may go out of print if they don’t meet sales targets, self-published books can stay in circulation indefinitely. This longevity allows new readers to discover your book at any time, leading to long-tail sales and potential for a resurgence in a title’s sales long after the book is first published.

9. Enhanced author-reader connection

Self-publishing can foster personal connections between authors and their readers. Through social media engagement, in-person book signings, attendance at book club meetings, and other promotional activities, you can build a reader base and engage on a personal level and create a community around your work.

10. Adaptability and experimentation

Self-publishing offers the ability to adapt and experiment with your books. You can update and revise your work based on reader feedback or changing market trends. Additionally, you can explore new genres, experiment with different writing styles, and even repurpose your existing content for related projects.

11. Portfolio building and career growth

Because it’s easier and faster to publish your books, self-publishing provides authors with the opportunity to build a robust portfolio of published works. Having multiple books will enhance your credibility and visibility and can serve as a means of landing a traditional publishing deal by attracting the attention of agents and publishers who are actively seeking viable authors.

12. Available to all

Perhaps the greatest feature of self-publishing is that anyone can do it. There are no gatekeepers standing in your way — you don’t need an agent or a publisher.

Are there challenges with self-publishing?

Self-publishing isn’t all wine and roses. If it were, no one would ever pursue a traditional publishing deal.

Marketing. Even though most every traditionally published author complains about their publisher’s lack of marketing support, the fact is, a publishing house has a robust marketing department to support their authors.

Of course, authors don’t have any say in how that company allocates their marketing dollars, but a self-published author does not have the power of a team of professionals on staff to market themselves. BookBaby does its part to help with its book marketing and promotion services.

Cost. By far, the biggest advantage of getting a traditional publishing deal is that instead of shelling out your own money, you actually get an advance from the publisher.

That said, print on demand has made the cost of entry through companies like BookBaby incredibly affordable. It doesn’t take thousands of sales to recoup your money, and it truly is possible for self-published authors to make a career through writing.

Your path to self-publishing

Related Posts
Self-Publishing Lets You Take Creative Control
The “Do’s” Of Planning a Book Launch
Paperback vs. Hardcover Books: Which Is Right for You?
Print On Demand Made the Self-Publishing Revolution Possible
How Self-Published Authors Can Sell Books (and make money doing it)

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