Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 Reasons Not to Self-Publish Your Book

There’s literally over a thousand articles out there on why you should never-ever-in-a-hundred-million-years (probably not an industry-specific term) self-publish a book. I’ve read a fair number of them before launching into the adventure of self-publishing because I like to be informed and love I a good challenge. Here’s the general consensus among the naysayers:

1.       It’s A LOT of work. Lucky you, you’re on the hook for all of it. You have to find an editor, your own cover artist/illustrator, your own proofreader (and it shouldn’t be your mom… Though I still love you, Mom!), and do your own marketing. Remember all that time you used to spend writing? Swallowed up in the immense amount of time spent doing everything else associated with publishing.

2.       The cost. Unless you can find a way to do this on a budget, you will pay for, at a minimum, a quality cover (because a tacky cover does little to attract readers), editing (I tend to be quite “comma happy”), proofreading (editors miss things too), marketing/promotion, and a website (unless you’re also an internet guru. Some of you are. Color me jealous).

3.       The quality. Its only as good as you can afford up front, and sometimes, it’s not very much. I’ve seen some pretty fantastic stuff and also some pretty poor quality books. There’s not quality control with self-publishing; printing companies will print whatever you send them. Also, traditional publishers know the ins and outs of proper book layout, which increases a book’s appeal.
Its perfect, right?
4.       Lower distribution. Unless you are incredibly good, incredibly lucky, and incredibly talented, you won’t get bookstore or library distribution, and you’ll just been that sad person selling your books at an otherwise empty table at the local farmer’s market.

5.       The perception. We all know someone who has self-published something that my British friends refer to as “rubbish” (thank you, British friends, for being worlds more polite than Americans). Many people think all self-published books are the same sub-par, unprofessional drivel. That stigma is fading, but not nearly fast enough. We know it’s not true, but we’re on the inside.

Those are the top 5 reasons, according to the “experts.” What are your thoughts on these? Do these arguments hold any water?

Tomorrow I’ll give you the top reasons to self-publish, so don’t tar and feather me yet!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I think there are advantages and disadvantages to self publishing vs traditional publishing. It's nice to see both sides, especially from someone who's actually been there.

    1. Krista, thanks for reading! I like to play the devil's advocate on occasion and explore the opposite side of an issue. I plan on self-publishing, so these concerns aren't slowing me down!