If you’re one of the millions of Americans who wants to write a book, now is a great time to self-publish your work.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Self-publishing? No, I want a real book deal with a real publisher.”
Yes, there used to be a stigma to self-publishing. It was for people who couldn’t get a “real” publisher or literary agent to take them on as an author. But times have changed!
Today, self-published titles outnumber traditionally-published titles 2:1. Bowker (the largest distributor of book numbers or “ISBNs”) reported that the number of self-published print books topped the 1 million mark for the first time in 2017, an increase of 28 percent.
And the self-publishing boon isn’t limited to print. Amazon reports that nearly 4 million Kindle titles are self-published, compared to just 600,000 six years ago.
If you need more convincing that self-publishing is the way to go, here are 10 great reasons to self-publish your first book.
1. You control the timeline.
Traditional publishing typically takes a long time. A really long time. One author I worked for had a publication date in February, and her book was due the previous May. The editing and design process took every minute of every month in between.
With self-publishing, if it’s March and you want your book out in May, you can do that. There might be some sleepless nights, but it’s do-able depending on where you are in the creation process.
Bottom line, you have complete control of the calendar. Getting your book published can take as much or as little time as you desire.
2. You have complete creative control.
In traditional publishing houses, unless you’re someone like Oprah or Stephen King, there are lots of editors and experts who will dictate the cover and interior design of your book.
When you self-publish, while you may have help finishing and launching your book (see #9 below), ultimately what you say goes. You have the final say. You will love your book inside and out, knowing that you created it!
3. You only print the books you need, when you need them.
Oh, this is a big one! It used to be that self-publishing meant going through a traditional bricks and mortar printer who specialized in book printing to get physical copies of your book. And those printers usually had a minimum purchase requirement—meaning, thousands of copies and thousands of dollars out of your pocket!
When I published my first book in 2010, I bought 1,000 copies. It’s what my coach recommended, and it was a pretty significant price break, too. I had the book printed in Valencia, CA and I drove down from Las Vegas to pick them up myself, rather than pay for shipping.
Turns out, 1,000 books are a lot of books! The cartons filled the back of my SUV. And then they filled one side of my garage for, um, eight years! When I moved house in October 2018 I dumped boxes and boxes of my book into the recycling bin.
As self-publishing gained traction and legitimacy, the traditional publishing industry took notice and adapted. Now you can use a print-on-demand publishing service and print what copies you need, when you need them.
And, if you’re a speaker, there’s no more lugging books across country for a gig. You can drop ship books directly to the venue where you’re speaking!
Of course, I still recommend having a few copies on hand—but no need for half a garage! A bit of space in the hall closet will do. The price for a small run of 50 or so isn’t too bad for 150-page book.
[To get my suggestions for a print-on-demand publisher and more,
click below for a free copy of the Author Resource Guide.]
4. You still have access to Amazon and major retailers.
Traditionally, a book would only make it retailers through a publishing house and then a wholesaler. Today, when you self-publish with a digital print-on-demand service, your book is available to both online and brick-and-mortar book retailers all over the world. It’s kind of like magic!
5. It’s easier to reach #1 status.
In the days of traditional publishing, it was a herculean task to reach #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. That’s still the holy grail (and frankly a longshot for a self-published title), but it’s now possible for any author to reach a #1 ranking. That’s where Amazon comes in.
With dozens of categories, it’s actually relatively easy to reach #1 in a category with a particular strategy. (I walk you through the exact strategy I used to get my clients #1 rankings in my free online workshop, How to Launch a #1 Amazon Bestseller.)
6. It counts!
Hundreds of millions of people say they want to write a book. Relatively few ever will. When you finish and self-publish your book, you will be among those few. You did it! You are a published author. It doesn’t matter whether a big New York publishing house name is on it or not. It all counts.
7. You can get professional-looking results.
In the early days of self-publishing, you could spot a self-published title a mile away. Yes, I’m judging a book by its cover. Many self-published tomes had typewritten covers and interiors, and the dawn of home publishing computer programs didn’t help.
Today, though, there are so many freelance sites with real designers who can design a respectable looking cover for you. You can even design a great looking interior yourself, if you must, on Word or using the Kindle add-on for Word. And, since the print-on-demand printer is a “real” printer, you’ll get a polished-looking finished product. To help with these details, I’ve put together a free Author Resource Guide with references for cover design and print services and a lot more.
[Click below to get your copy!]
8. The barriers to publishing are low.
Self-publishing has opened up the world of authorship to millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t land (and probably don’t need) a publishing contract or a literary agent. Literally anyone can self-publish a book with relatively little investment.
9. You don’t have to do it alone.
The “self” in self-publishing can be misleading. Writing might be a solitary process, but publishing doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to publish your book alone. In fact, it’s a good idea to hire a professional designer for your cover, an editor, a proofreader, and even a creative director like me to oversee the whole process.
10. You can publish with a traditional publisher later on.
The benefit of self-publishing first is that it shows traditional publishers what you’re capable of; what your style is; and who your audience is. Cynical as it sounds, if you can show a publisher that you have a large, engaged following on social media, they’ll be more interested in you! (Engaged audience = sales)
I personally know several authors who started out self-publishing and were then picked up by a traditional publisher. In one case, the publisher actually re-published the author’s self-published title in a revised, expanded edition. Others have written new books based on the success of their self-published titles.
To be sure, it’s not a guarantee that a traditional publisher will pick you up. But don’t stop yourself from getting your book out there, believing that it somehow disqualifies you from traditional publishing later on. It’s just not true.
There you have it! All the reasons in the world to get your message and your book out there. If you want to do this, you can! Don’t let anything stop you.
Before you go, can you please do two things for me? (Actually, they’re for you!)
If you haven’t already, claim your copy of the free Author Resource Guide by clicking the image below; and
If you want to get your hands on the #1 Amazon launch strategy, hop over to the workshop registration page. (And, if a live workshop isn’t coming up, you can still watch the re-play!)