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Should You Self-Publish?

Published in All Resources

The question of whether you should self-publish a book or seek out a traditional book deal depends on the type of person that you are. Are you interested in paying for advertising, third-party editing, and the physical printing of your book? Or do you want ultimate control over every aspect of the book you’ve worked so hard on? Today, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of book publishing to help you decide which of the two options is better for you.

What Is Self-Publishing? 

If you plan on self-publishing a book, be prepared to either handle everything yourself or pay others to do things you don’t know how to do (or don’t want to do). All of the design, marketing, formatting, and printing (if you’re releasing a physical book) is on you. The upside is that you keep all of the rights and a much larger percentage of the royalties. 

How Does Self-Publishing Work? 

Should you self-publish if you want to guarantee that your book will be published? Yes! While it’s rare that traditional publishers let a book languish in an unreleased state, it does happen. 

Self-publishing a book means you have to refine and polish your manuscript yourself and/or pay editors to assist you, then contact a company that specializes in turning manuscripts into physical books. Your manuscript will have to follow the printer’s formatting guidelines.

You’ll also have to pay a graphic designer to create your cover artwork unless you’re a skilled designer yourself. Once all of the pieces are in place, the printer you’ve hired will create the books. Usually, a business like this will also take care of storage and order fulfillment. 

You will need to market your book by paying for advertising, submitting the book to reviewers, and entering contests for authors who are self-publishing a book. Finally, you’ll have to have a storefront where readers can buy your book.

Things to Consider Before Self-Publishing

If all of this sounds attractive, should you self-publish? You might think it’s a no-brainer, but remember there are reasons authors prefer the traditional publishing route and have no desire to self-publish. 

Polish Your Work

With self-publishing, you’re going to need to spend a large amount of time polishing your manuscript. Even if you don’t mind paying editors to assist you, you won’t get the level of hands-on help you would if you were signed with a major publisher. It’s up to you to make sure your manuscript is ready to arrive in customers’ hands.

Don’t Rush 

Book publishing takes a while with publishers, and that’s because the book goes through a lot of refining. Self-publishing is faster, but this means that authors must have the discipline to not release an unfinished, unpolished piece of work. That can harm an author’s reputation, sometimes irreparably. 

Publisher May Not Pick Up Your Work

If you plan on self-publishing a book as a stepping stone to getting a traditional book deal, then you must take your time to craft your book to the highest standard. If you get a bad reputation, traditional publishers may not want to work with you.

Book Design

Because you’re responsible for every aspect of your book when self-publishing, you’ll also be where the buck stops when deciding on the cover artwork. It will take huge amounts of research to make sure your cover is appropriate for your book. Yes, even if you hire a graphic designer. You will need to have a good idea of whether their art is a good fit or not.


The title is the “handshake” your book makes with a potential customer. It’s a bit like a newspaper headline; it has to encapsulate your story in the fewest words possible while still communicating what the book is about. If you’ve written a sci-fi story titled “Tales of the Ancient Elf King” and the book is about spaceship battles in a faraway galaxy, it’s time to think of a new title.

Advantages of Self-Publishing

Should you self-publish if you don’t want anyone to have control over your precious manuscript? Let’s dig in and find out why more authors are looking to self-publish. 

Creative Control

Self-publishing means you and only you have the final say in all creative aspects of your book. Other people can make suggestions, but it’s your vision and you can see it through however you like.

Higher Royalty Rates

With traditional book publishing, you might see 5% to 10% of the royalties. With self-publishing, these royalty rates are increased, meaning you could possibly receive anywhere from 50% to 70% of the royalties.

Less Waiting

Self-published books can be released to customers the moment they’re done printing. The timetable is entirely up to the author. Traditional publishers can take a year or more to get a book onto store shelves. In rare cases, books are sometimes never released and stagnate in limbo.

Creating a Name for Yourself

Some authors use self-publishing as a stepping stone to getting a traditional book deal. If you achieve success with your self-published book, it can attract the attention of a publisher.

Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

Even those who want to maintain total creative control over their book still have to make a living. They may not have the upfront capital, the know-how to handle finding an editor, graphic designer, or printer, or the ability to market the book once it’s been released.

Higher Costs

While traditional publishing deals mean fewer royalties in your bank account, they also handle all of the costs of editing, designing, and printing books. You may get 50% of the royalties of your self-published book, but before that, you will have to spend the money to see it through to completion. This can cost several thousand dollars, and in some cases, tens of thousands.

Less Visibility 

Traditional publishers have an established infrastructure for marketing and advertising new books. Self-published authors have an uphill battle to get their book noticed and must rely on more personal avenues to reach consumers, such as social media and personal websites.

Lack of Support System

Unless you pay them, you won’t have editors, proofreaders, marketing specialists, webmasters, or audiobook engineers. Publishers have all these positions filled. 

More Difficult to Get Print Distribution 

If you want your physical book to appear on store shelves, publishers already have these deals in place. Even if you think this isn’t a concern because retail is on a downward spiral, keep in mind that there are still huge sales from brick-and-mortar shops. Airports, superstores, and other shops that aren’t bookstores also see huge book sales.

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

The crux of the matter, if it had to be distilled down to a single point, is control. Who do you want to have control over the various aspects of your book? Self-publishing puts the control in your hands. Traditional publishing lets authors who want to focus on writing ignore all of the other stuff. Which are you?

Want Control? Self-Publish with Print Bind Ship

If you find yourself on the side of wanting control over your book and don’t mind paying for all of the editing, design, formatting, printing, marketing, and selling, then it sounds like you are a perfect fit for self-publishing. 

Print Bind Ship works with authors just like you every day by handling all of the printing, storage, and order fulfillment of their self-published books! From the digital files that contain your lovingly crafted manuscript to physical books in the hands of customers, Print Bind Ship has the experience you’re looking for. 

Contact Print Bind Ship and get published right away!


Can a Self-Published Book Be Picked Up by a Publisher?

Yes, if a self-published book becomes successful, it can attract the attention of a publisher and lead to a publishing deal.

Can Self-Published Books Become Bestsellers?

Most traditional literary prizes and lists ignore self-published books. There are indie prizes and lists, however, and Amazon sales count self-published books.

How Much Can You Make Off a Self-Published Book?

Royalty rates are usually between 50% and 70% but upfront costs could increase, which would reduce your total take-home profits.

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