Potential Advantages & Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

Traditional publishing

If this is your first time writing a book, you might want to know what your options are regarding publishing. Basically, there are two options available to writers:

  • Self-publishing
  • Traditional publishing

Now you might be confused about which publishing option is right for you – let us assess the potential benefits and downsides of self publishing.

No Query Letters

The primary benefit of opting for self-publishing is that you don’t have to write query letters to literary agents. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that sending out query letters is tough and emotionally challenging as you might face many rejections.

The potential rejections can shatter your self-worth as you might be writing a hundred queries and face rejection. However, the essential benefit of self-publication is that you don’t have to query a literary agent and face rejections.

It is important to mention here that most rejections have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of writing – it is just part of a process that many newbie writers go through. However, when it comes to traditional publication and the subsequent rejections – many writers indulge in second-guessing while the rejections might have nothing to do with the quality of work.

Self-Publishing is Freeing

Self-publishing can feel a lot like seizing one’s opportunity as you won’t have to wait for gatekeepers, such as publishing professionals and the approval of literary agents. If you opt for self-publishing, you are literally seizing the opportunity to take control of your book as you are just going to publish your book.

As you won’t have any hurdles on your way – it can kind of feel very freeing.

You Keep Rights

When you opt for self-publishing, you will benefit from the aspect that you will be keeping your rights to the story in the book. If you opt for traditional publishing, you must sign a contract with the publisher in exchange for the publishing house covering all the potential costs of publishing your book.

In exchange, you give your publication house certain rights over your book. That said, as a self-publishing author, you can keep all the rights for yourself.

Control Your Content

Many traditional publications agents don’t promote genre mashups because they think new content ideas won’t sell well. That said, as a self-published writer, you won’t have to go through any of such things as you will have full freedom to bend and control the content.

Control Your Publication Timeline

Another potential benefit of self-publishing is you have control over your publishing timeline. In traditional publishing, you have zero control over the publishing timeline – it might take six months to even a couple of years with a literary agent to get published.

You get the idea – with traditional publishing, it might take a long time to get your book on bookshelves and have them available for readers. With self-publishing, you don’t have to worry about an extensive timeline – however, don’t make the mistake of self-publishing your book without editing and proofreading.

So, even when you are self-publishing, make sure you are publishing quality and working closely with professional editors, critiques, and proofreaders. Once you have ensured the quality of your book, then you can proceed towards self-publishing and decide when you are publishing the book.

And this aspect in itself is quite deliberating – if you think about it. Besides, self-published authors can self-publish quality books as often as they like, whereas, in self-publishing, you see a publication happening once a year, which is also in the case of prolific writers.

You get the idea – with self-publishing, you can publish as many books as you like without compromising on quality.

You Get a Real Publishing Experience

If you opt for self-publishing, you can participate actively in book publication by having hands-on experience. This way, you get in a better position to understand and respect the things that traditional publishers do on behalf of the author.

Nowadays, many writers want to be hybrid authors, meaning they want to have a book out there in the market that is self-published and traditionally published.

Suppose you start your writer’s journey with a self-published book – and for your next book, you decide to opt for the traditional pathway. This way, you will have hands-on experience with the publication process and know exactly what to expect from book publication.

This way, you will end up availing of the benefits of both options – self-publishing and contract-based publishing, which is the traditional way.

You Can Establish Your Own Business

By choosing self-publishing, you can run your own business. In other words, you can become your own boss – there is so much freedom, and you can run everything the way you want. You are also more mindful about making changes in the business when you feel that certain things aren’t connecting with your ideal readers.

You will be in control of making the changes instead of allowing a corporation to make those changes for you – which can also take forever. So, instead of allowing a publishing company to take over your project and make the changes for you – you might want to become your own boss and do what’s best for your business.

Potential Disadvantages of Self-Publication

As stated before, many newbie writers make the mistake of ignoring quality while self-publishing since they are able to control their publication timeline and cannot wait to see their book out there.

That said, another potential downside of self-publishing can be the lack of external validation. As a newbie writer, having a literary agent on your side can be extremely uplifting. As a self-publishing author, you won’t have that kind of validation.

The only thing that you might rely on is your gut instinct – and if you are lucky enough, you might have honest beta readers on your side who might tell you if they like your story or not. The thing about external validation is that it is something that a lot of writers prefer and want.

One of the greatest appeals of traditional publishing is the integration of external validation, which can also serve as the perfect roadmap for writers.