We have heard how great self-publishing is, it can give you control on your book and at the same time increase your profits. But is something can really be this good? Are there any downsides or disadvantages with going to self-publishing? The answer is yes, everything has its pros and cons.
Everything is in Your Hands
If you have decided to go for self-publishing, then you should be ready to multitask. Compared with traditional publishing, they have editors, printers, layout artists, cover artists who are available and ready to work for them anytime. But in self-publishing you would have to handle all of this, if you cannot do it all, you have the option to get or hire somebody who can. It would cost you additional, of course. But even if you outsourced, you will still need to oversee it and make sure that it meets your standards.
Time could be a major problem for some self-published authors. There are some writers who have part time day jobs and would need to fit self-publishing schedule to their time. Even marketing and promotion fall into your hands.
In traditional publishing, the writer would get as much as 5 to 10 % of the sales. But it self-publishing, you can increase the profit to as much as 50 %. But the downside is that you would have to subsidize everything beforehand. It is a risk. You can spend about $5,000 for self-publishing, but you cannot guarantee that it everything will be returned to you.
Most of the times, you would need to get a distributor since book sellers are not that willing to buy books directly from the author. The author would have to get discounts to the distributor and the bookseller, this would be less than your expected 50 % profit. Another problem would be when the book do not sell that much. Aside from less profit, some bookstores would return the book and ask for a refund. Some self-publishers would draft a contract that would not allow returns and refund, in a special price of course.
Competition can be tough. Readers would not easily buy your book. You will need to give them a reason to buy your book over books with the same topic. Marketing and publicity could be a key. And you would have to spend on that, too.
Another problem that self-publishers encounter is the reputation and credibility of being self-published. There are some readers who do not regard self-published books highly. Sad to say, some people are extremely biased against self-published authors, thinking that just because major publishing houses have refused the author, it means the book is not good enough.
They say that a book is like a writer’s own child. It would be difficult to criticize and disparage your own kid, right? Because authors would have to do everything, editing included, it can be difficult to be objective all the time. They can protect parts that are not really important or aesthetically weak. They can have difficulties letting go of some parts which are totally insignificant. That is why we have editors. But if an author would be his own editor, then there can be biases.
Self-publishing is a risk, you can spend a lot of money but the returns could be low. But come to think of it, everything is a risk. Risk is part of success.