This month we asked nonfiction authors to answer this question: For those who’ve self-published, what have been the pros and cons?
I published my first book and went on to self publish the next six! My capacity to attract publicity is great and my publisher had problems with distribution. I’d done all this publicity and we missed sales because she changed distributor mid launch which we weren’t aware of and fans were contacting me saying that they went to the store and couldn’t get the book. I enjoy the control I have as a publisher to make sure these things are going right. I also can oversee books printed and sales, where as I’m not sure I trust all sales are being communicated always.
Sometimes books are sold for cash. If you have a market, you might not need a mainstream publisher. andilew.com
While there is definitely still a particular allure that comes with traditional publishing, I myself – like many other authors – have chosen the self-publishing route. As a soon to be twice-self-published author, I love having the freedom to market and sell my books in the way that I wish, while also retaining full rights to my book – and of course – not having to share the profits with anyone else! That said, there are also some pretty big hurdles. Having to budget upfront to cover the production costs i s probably one of the biggest, as is handling all the marketing yourself. As a full-time mum who runs my business from home, I often think about how great it would be to have someone handling all the complex and monotonous back-end stuff. So, if you’re considering going this route, it’s definitely important to check out ‘both sides of the coin,’ when it comes to self-publishing.
Jas Rawlinson is a Brisbane book writing coach, author, and mental health speaker who is passionate about empowering survivors of trauma to transform their adversities into powerful memoirs. She is also the author of the internationally-renowned series, ‘Reasons to Live One More Day, Every Day,’ and has been endorsed by high profile influencers such as Kevin Hines. jasrawlinson.com
I have self-published several non-fiction books, colouring books, and journals. What I love about self-publishing is that I am in control of the whole process and I can move through it as quickly as I want. I have also worked with hybrid publisher where I paid a lot of money and was constrained by their timelines and processes. There is a lot to learn when you are self-publishing, but it can also be a lot of fun. I am planning to publish more books and will happily self-publish.
Ayesha Hilton is an author, women’s circle facilitator, avid learner, and mother of two. www.ayeshahilton.com
I self-published an interactive picture book called “baby + me”, a book for soon to be big brothers and big sisters, in July 2018. I have found the benefits of choosing the self-publishing route to be: retaining creative control, having the ability to deviate from publishing traditions relating to things such as the number of pages for children’s books and the return on investment. The drawbacks to the self-publishing route for me appear to be: not having an established network of bookstores, distributors, PR and media channels for promotion, the time involved in creating promotional content for social media and for other promotional avenues and the financial cost of taking the project on without guaranteed returns.
Lauren Gardiner is a Melbourne mum of three and author of a book for soon to be big brothers and sisters called “baby + me.” Further information about Lauren and the baby + me book is available at www.memobooks.com.au. baby + me is stocked in a number of stores in Australia and can be purchased online at www.memobooks.com.au.
My husband and I have published three fiction books between the two of us and I recently published a non-fiction self-help book. I’m an amateur graphic designer and as such love that I have full creative control over the graphics, cover, and layout of my books. By running contests for graphics and layout people on Freelancer, I’m able to find incredible designers and spend less than $200 for the whole book. Making sure you have a good editor is key, which is an expense that going with a publisher would really help with. Publishers also help with distribution, but because Amazon is so huge, and publishing on demand is so easy, I don’t find publishers’ distribution channels for nonfiction to be so great. You’ll have to invest in your own marketing anyhow. I find the best way to market nonfiction books is through social media, videos, podcasts, and blogs. Best of luck to you!
Chana Mason is a Vitality Coach, Author, Healthfood Junkie, Me ntor, and Mom living in Jerusalem, Israel. Check out her books at: http://chanamason.com/books/
Here are my lessons from self publishing:
Pros: Much lower cost than hiring a professional publishing house.
Can create your own timeline rather than adhering to others timelines.
Cons: Learning an entire new process/software system which can detract from the writing of the book.
Can delay the release of the book if not disciplined with time.
Lessons: Do the research well and list each step of the entire process before you start, thereby overcoming any obstacles and delays once you start the process. Once the brain is in book writing mode it is difficult to then turn your attention to publishing issues.
My book: Switch On Sustainability. Web: www.switchonsustainability.
I self-published and found it to be a pretty good experience. Pros are definitely cost, ease and control. I had complete control over who edited my book, the front cover design, and the price. It was super easy to self-publish through Ingram Spark and very affordable. It also meant I didn’t need to wait for a traditional publisher to choose my book – I could publish on my own terms. Cons for self publishing are that once your book is published, it’s a hard slog to get it in front of lots of people and get sales. I think this is where traditional publishing would be much simpler, because they have the right contacts and they know the right way to get your book noticed.
Dannielle Illingworth, author of “Quit Stressing About Food!: Practical steps to simplify healthy eating for the whole family” www.dannielleillingworth.com
If you like this blog post, you’ll love this book: The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan by Nonfiction Authors Association CEO Stephanie Chandler!