Is Self-Publishing a Good Idea?

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Are you considering self-publishing a book? In this post I’m going to write briefly about the experience I’ve gained from self-publishing two books, and will describe the different opportunities that are open to authors who are looking to get their work published.

There is a huge amount of work that goes into getting a book published, and the way you proceed will largely depend on your budget and how much control you want to have over the various aspects of the publishing process.

You can, in theory, do everything yourself; from writing, to proofreading and editing, to formatting your book, to designing a cover, to getting your book in stores, and then promoting and marketing your book. You could do all of this on a tight budget, but you would need to have plenty of time and patience, and for a first-time author it would be a steep learning curve.

Another option is to work with a self-publishing company. For my first two book releases I worked with SilverWood Books, who provided a range of services at a cost. They formatted my books for Kindle (and other eBook readers), designed the cover art, and arranged for Print On Demand distribution through all the leading retailers. It proved to be very difficult to get my books into physical book stores because the competition is fierce and it’s still the case that big publishing companies have a lot more power to persuade retailers to stock their books than self-published authors.

Many self-publishing companies, including SilverWood, offer PR and marketing services, to help your book get more exposure in the form of reviews and features. I worked with a dedicated PR agency on my books, which is another option, although this can be costly, and results are by no means guaranteed.

If you’re considering going down the traditional publishing route, be aware that approaching large publishing companies is very difficult. Many of the leading publishers don’t accept submissions from authors directly, and your only hope is to be represented by a reputable agent. Agents are overwhelmed with submissions, and you would normally need some leverage (like a substantial following or friends in high places) to even be considered.

I used to work in the music industry in various PR and marketing roles, and for that reason I feel I am reasonably well-equipped to undertake some book promotion activities myself. For instance, I have some experience running Google ads, and have written dozens of press releases and email marketing newsletters. Having said that, the publishing industry is evolving quickly, and it can be helpful to join an authors’ alliance in your country in order to get help and support, and find out what’s working for other independent authors and what isn’t.

It’s becoming very important to think outside the box when it comes to making money from your writing. Authors are increasingly looking to alternative income sources like crowdfunding and Patreon, although Amazon is still by far the number one way that most authors make money. I believe that in the future the most successful authors will be those who are able to best take advantage of emerging technologies.

I wish it were easier for self-published authors to make an impact, but the market is incredibly crowded, and expectations for success should be tempered accordingly. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that in the digital age there are more opportunities for entrepreneurial authors than ever before.


I hope this article had been of some help. If you would like to check out the books I self-published with SilverWood, you can find them on the books page. What are your thoughts on self-publishing? Feel free to leave a comment below.

15 comments

  1. Thanks for your thoughts and experience on this subject. I was all gung-ho going to self-publish the book I’m working on currently. But then I waffled to going the traditional method. Then back again haha! I still haven’t made my final decision. I do know that I want to be the final decision-maker on every step and I’m not really willing to budge. I am very particular. So this is why I think: self-publish. But then, there are more “guaranteed sales” going through a publisher. That means more into more hands (I could care less about the money aspect). So I’m going to check out your suggestion now. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m excited to hear you’re working on a book, Tara! Definitely think about the possibility of joining an author association, there are many benefits. I’m the same as you, just want to reach as many people as possible before I perish, haha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually have three done. That just sit in the file. Two in the works currently, one I put on hold because I want to concentrate just on this one. It feels important to me, so I want to embrace that while I am feeling this way. Plus this one I actually made a goal for. So there’s that lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Makes perfect sense to me. You’re certainly very talented and write in several niche areas, which could really work in your favour, as the Internet is brilliant for marketing to a niche (in my opinion, for what it’s worth!).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks. I’m hoping that I can accomplish my goal and that it will be well-received. Like you said, sharing with the world. Although, admittedly, what you’ve got to say is SO much more important. It is. Whereas I am writing art. You are writing truth and philosophy. It’s why I so appreciate your blog.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I certainly believe in you, Tara! And I hugely appreciate your support of my blog. I’ve got a perspective that I believe is important and I’m determined to get it out there and will keep pressing on! Gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I’m so pleased we’re connected. Let’s keep sharing experiences along the journey and we can learn from each other 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Steven, have you heard of https://leanpub.com? You write in markdown and it automatically formats your book for Kindle, iBooks, PDF, and a print ready pdf for CreateSpace or Amazon KDP paperback, which can help you distribute to book stores and libraries. I have published a few books with it, and I’d highly recommend. I use LeanPub to do all the formatting for me, then take the files and upload to KDP for paperback and Kindle ebook. Also, you can sell your book directly from LeanPub and keep most of the profits if you prefer to do it that way! Currently in the process of publishing another book, it is very rewarding. Good to hear about your experience so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did this (self-published) nearly three years ago, Steven. The costs associated with engaging an ‘all-in-one’ (non-traditional) services publisher was well worth the investment. Still, and to your remarks, there is a tremendous amount of time and effort required by the author. Your post is quite helpful to those considering the arduous task.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eric. Every time I go through the process of self-publishing I learn such a lot, but the fact that the industry is evolving so quickly means the process of learning is never-ending! So it can be beneficial to lean on the services of a self-publishing company, as both you and I have done in the past, it seems.

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  4. I publish my book through Author house. They are very professional and provided me proofreading at extra cost. The only problem I faced was about fixing the price of book. Author house fixed price of book very high, specially for a new writer. Very few books were sold.

    Liked by 1 person

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