What Is Self-Publishing

Glossary > Self-Publishing

💬 Definition of Self-Publishing:

Self-publishing is the process of publishing a book by the author without the involvement of a traditional publishing house or company. In self-publishing, the author retains complete control over the creative process, including the work's writing, editing, formatting, design, and marketing.

Related questions about self-publishing:

How much does it cost to self-publish a book?

The cost of self-publishing varies depending on factors such as the book's length, the quality of editing and design, and whether or not the author chooses to use marketing and advertising for promotion. 

Self-publishing a book can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Here are some of the common expenses authors may have when self-publishing a book:

  • Editing: Self-published authors often hire a professional editor to ensure the book is well-written and error-free. Editing can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on its length and complexity. 
  • Design: Some authors choose to design their book covers, and they can do it for free, but others hire professional designers. Cover design can cost from $50 to $500 or more.
  • Formatting: Formatting involves managing the internal structure of your book – ebook, audio, and print. If you have experience with formatting software like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign, you can format your book yourself. Professional book formatting services typically charge between $0.50 to $2.00 per page, depending on the level of complexity and the formatting requirements. If we talk about audiobooks, it may require extra production and costs that deal with narration. Hiring a professional narrator can range from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Printing: If you want to have physical copies of your book, you'll need to cover the cost of printing. The cost will depend on the number of pages, the type of paper, and the size of the book. But self-published authors go for print-on-demand, which is the best option in terms of cost, inventory, and distribution.
  • Marketing and promotion: To get your book noticed, you must invest in marketing and book promotion services. This can include creating an author website, running ads, or hiring a publicist. The cost will depend on your strategy and budget.

Can you self-publish for free?

  • Yes, there are platforms where authors can self-publish for free. These platforms retain author royalties once they make a sale. Remember that even if you can publish for free, additional costs, such as marketing and promotion, may still exist. 

What are the advantages of self-publishing?

Self-publishing offers several advantages for authors, including:

  • Creative control: With self-publishing, the author has complete creative control over the writing, editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing of the book. 
  • Higher royalties: Traditional publishers typically offer authors a royalty rate of 10-15% of the book's sale price, while self-published authors can earn up to 70%, depending on the platform and distribution model.
  • Faster time-to-market: With traditional publishing, authors often wait months or even years to see their book in print. With self-publishing, they can publish their books in a few weeks.
  • Longevity: Self-published books can remain in print and available for purchase indefinitely.

What are the disadvantages of self-publishing?

There are also a few potential disadvantages to self-publishing:

  • Upfront costs: Even if authors can self-publish a book for free, there may still be costs before publishing, such as editing, cover design, etc. 
  • Lack of support: Self-published authors handle the entire publishing process or hire professionals to help them. They also must take care of marketing and book promotion.
  • Quality concerns: A self-published author handles everything, which sometimes may result in a not-so-high-quality book cover or a text that is still with errors. 
  • Limited bookstore distribution: Some self-publishing platforms offer wide distribution options, including to physical bookstores. However, self-published books still don't reach as many physical bookstores as traditionally published books.

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