Self-Publishing – Is it for you?

Shelia M. GossI’m an author who has experience being with a traditional publisher and as a self-published author. In fact, right now, I do both. For my full length novels, I continue to go the traditional route, but with my short stories or novellas, I self-publish those. As a writer, you may be asking yourself what route you should go. The beauty of being a writer right now is that you do have options.

I will be using HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH & MARKET YOUR OWN BOOKS by Mack E Smith and Sara Freeman Smith as a reference in today’s post. If you don’t have the book now, this is one book to add to your MUST BUY list. It has been helpful in more ways than one.

Writing to most of us is fun.  Somewhere along the way, we decided we wanted to share our thoughts with the public. Where do we begin? Some of us pursue the traditional publishing route of trying to find an agent and/or publisher. Others may decide to self publish outright. Either way, we all have one common goal: To see our book IN PRINT.

Before we go any further, realize SELF PUBLISHING IS A BUSINESS.  Besides writing the manuscript, you will need stamina to handle the “business side” as well.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I ready to be a sales rep, an accountant, a publicist, an inventory analyst…etc?
  • Am I prepared to do research and determine who’s the best editor, graphic designer, printer, distributor, etc for me?
  • Am I prepared to promote, promote and PROMOTE my book (s)?
  • And last but not least, am I willing to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry?

Keep in mind a lot of today’s best selling authors may have started off self-published. Self-publishing is another way to get agents and major publishers to notice you. I don’t know if you’ve read the books,  MY BROTHER’S KEEPER by Reshonda Tate Billingsly or Momma’s Baby Daddy’s Maybe by Jamise Dames. Well, they both started off self-published and are now with major publishers. I remember seeing MOMMA’S BABY, DADDY’S MAYBE as an Essence Bestseller for several months prior to it being picked up by a major publisher.

I mention those two books to show you that although you may self-publish, you don’t have to give up hopes of being with a major publisher. There’s a popular author who has several books out with a major publisher, but they also self publish other titles. So in actuality you can do both.


To self-publish means that you deal directly with editors, graphic designers, printers, and handle the marketing and distribution of your book.

Here are a few advantages of self-publishing:

  • You are in total control of the input (your manuscript) and the output (the finished product–YOUR BOOK).
  •  After expenses and distributor and book store discounts, you get to keep the profits. You don’t have to give the publisher and agent anything, because YOU’RE THE PUBLISHER.
  • You determine when you want your book released. If you want the date of your release to be your birthday, then that’s the date you can release your book. With a traditional publisher, they TELL YOU when it’ll be released.

There can be other advantages, but those are the main ones.

Now to some of the disadvantages:

  • Limited resources can be a hindrance. However, don’t fret, because if you don’t have the finances to outright self-publish, you do have options – Print on Demand (POD).
  • A limited distribution channel is another challenge self-publishers face. Thanks to the Internet and the success of those who came before us, you now have more options.

What is Print on Demand (POD)?

This is printing small quantities of books upon request within a short period of time using digital technology and minimum upfront costs.

If you choose the POD route, I advise you to read the fine print and use the one that best fits your needs. I also caution when using some of their services. The link I’m about to provide is the best resource I’ve seen on the subject.

Hopefully, this post gives you a better view on the pros and cons of self publishing or at least sparks your interest to find out more about it.

Is your head spinning yet? Smile. Feel free to jump right on in and start asking questions, if you haven’t already.

Shelia M Goss

Shelia is giving away a copy of her “Query EBook Workshop.” For your chance at this excellent workshop, you have to leave a comment here or on her What’s In A Synopsis post between now and Sunday Oct. 9, 2011. I’m (Deatri) also giving away a copy of Become A Successful Author to someone who comments on any of the site’s posts between now and Sunday Oct. 9. 2011. Winners are announced on the Winners page of this website.

Don’t have a copy of Become A Successful Author? What are you waiting for? Become A Successful Author covers everything from branding to writing to editing to formatting and uploading electronic and print books to marketing and so much more. Your time is money. Look at all the time, thus money, you’ll save by ending your search for answers: Purchase Become A Successful Author (eBook) from: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble

3 thoughts on “Self-Publishing – Is it for you?

  1. Jose Antonio

    I think the POD technology is a revolutionary option for self publishers. It’s a big help for aspiring authors who are tight on their budget and are still testing their market.

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