Pros and Cons of self-publishing

Self-Publishing Snobbery

 

There’s a lot of snobbery in the air when someone mentions self-publishing. A lot of pursed lips and tut-tutting. It’s the last resort of a poor writer having been rejected by countless agents and publishers, isn’t it?

 

Many think so, sadly.

 

I’ve read a few SP books and loads of traditionally placed books and have found errors in both. Funny, they are called spelling errors in SP books, but printing errors in books with a publishing house behind them.

 

I suppose I’m biased having written and POD-published my last two books. I regret not finding a decent designer for the Eden but I discovered Jane Dixon for A Proper Charlie who supplies fantastic covers to your design at a great price.

 

Self-publishing, POD, vanity, Indie, whatever you call it is second best but only because you are editor, promoter, and writer all rolled into one neat ball, and being all of those is a lonely and time-consuming business (especially when all you want to do is write!).

 

The real downside is the confidence thing. You always wonder if, because you’re ON YOUR OWN, you’re good enough. It’s always there at the back of your mind.

 

I have made a list of the pros and cons of self-publishing to help you make up your mind.

 

Pros (the Latin word for “for”) 

  1. The author keeps the majority of the profit. 
  2. If you pay for an ISBN number you’ll automatically be on Amazon and other on-line shops. 
  3. No-one can demand you change this or that before publication. 
  4. An excuse to use social networks because you’re promoting your book. 
  5. There’s no deadline to work to. 
  6. Print on demand (POD) is cheap nowadays. No need to use an expensive vanity press.
  7. POD is easy and straightforward with sites like Lulu or YouWriteOn.com 
  8. No more rejections.
Cons (Con is an abbreviation for the Latin word “contra” that means against.)

  1. There is a lot of prejudice about being a POD/Indie/self-publisher. In the end this may get you down.
  2. You may find the entire process daunting. From the outside it does look difficult.
  3. You’re totally on your own. No-one cares about your book other than you.
  4. Marketing on social networks is one thing, but how are you at giving talks, book signings and getting shops like Waterstones interested in stocking your book?
  5. You risk having your book out in the big wild world with all its faults if you have not properly edited.
  6. Once you’ve self-published landing an agent or publisher with that particular book is very unlikely.
  7. Having a garden shed full of books (if you’ve chose vanity publishing).
  8. Lacking time. You want to write, not chase publicity.

 

Vanity Publishing – a campaign for truth and honesty

Vanity Publishing – Advice and Warning
Vanity Publishing explored by The acknowledged expert
Johnathon Clifford:

In 1959/60 when two American companies were advertising widely throughout the UK offering to publish individual poems in anthologies at £9 and £12 each respectively, I coined the phrase “vanity publishing”. Since 1991 I have campaigned unceasingly for truth and honesty in the vanity publishing world and have become recognised as the authority on the subject.

See my feature article in the Writers’ & Artists’ Year Book

My work has been featured in both national and regional radio and tv programmes which have exposed the business practices of various vanity publishers and by many responsible newspapers and magazines (many of whom now refuse to take ‘publishing’ advertisements). In 1999 I was invited to the House of Lords to speak to members from both houses about the need to change the law to stop the “rogue traders” in the publishing world. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that the law was changed, enabling the authorities to better curb the excesses of rogue vanity publishers.”

My advice pack for authors seeking a publisher, or seeking to self-publish, or who have experienced problems with a publisher, is available as a download from this website – see

FREE ADVICE PACK
Should you need further assistance you may email me at info@vanitypublishing.info

Many unwary authors are encouraged by a vanity publisher’s initial promotional material which usually praises the work submitted – whatever its quality. Such publishers often misleadingly refer to themselves as ‘partnership’, ‘self-‘, ‘joint venture’, or ‘subsidy’ publishers. But however they may refer to themselves and however much they may deny that they are – if they charge you to publish your book – they are a vanity publisher.

A dishonest vanity publisher makes money not by selling copies of a book, but by charging clients as much as possible to print an unspecified number of copies of that book. Some vanity publishers will print as few copies as they feel they can get away with. Most will claim to market their publications. However, major bookbuyers have gone on record recently stating that they “do not buy copies of books centrally from vanity publishers,” but only “as a result of the effort of the author in that author’s local area.” Which speaks for itself.

It does not follow that all vanity publishers are underhand, and those who tell you there is never a need for an author to pay to have a book published or that all vanity publishers are ‘bad’, simply display a lack of knowledge and understanding of the publishing world.

So how do you tell the difference? See “A Good Vanity Publisher . . .”

I cannot stress too strongly . . .

If you cannot find a mainstream publisher to publish your work at their expense, you must look on the whole process of publishing not as money invested to make you a return, but as money spent on a pleasurable hobby which you have enjoyed and which has provided you with well-manufactured copies of your book. If you do also manage to make a small profit, then that should be looked upon as an unforeseen and unexpected bonus!

Examples of authors seeing a return of more than an extremely small part of their outlay through a vanity publisher are extremely rare.

My advice is that you do not answer advertisements in newspapers or magazines which offer to publish books. Mainstream publishers NEVER advertise for authors – they have no need to do so.

Please click on the links to be taken to Johnathon’s website.

Self-Publishing Snobbery

There’s a lot of snobbery in the air when someone mentions self-publishing. A lot of pursed lips and tut-tutting. It’s the last resort of a poor writer having been rejected by countless agents and publishers, isn’t it?

Many think so, sadly.

I’ve read a few SP books and loads of “ordinary” books and have found errors in both. Funny, they are called spelling errors in SP books, but printing errors in books with a publishing house behind them.

I suppose I’m biased having written and POD-published my book. I regret not finding a decent designer for the book cover, but other than that it’s my debut book and I’m proud of it, God dammit!

So, would I do it again?

Yep, is my answer. Self-publishing, podding, whatever you call it is second best but only because you are editor, promoter, and writer all rolled into one neat ball, and being all of those is a lonely and time-consuming business (especially when all you want to do is write!). But I’d still do it again. I’ve learned so much along the way, and met so many wonderful people.

The Pros and Cons of self-publishing can be found in the links highlighted. But, at all costs, make sure your book is the best it can be if you follow the SP route (by any route, really). Pay for a detailed edit/proof-read. Pay an artist for a good cover: these don’t have to be expensive. Shop around.

Thanks to Lulu.com, youwriteon.com etc self-publishing (POD – print on demand) isn’t expensive anymore, so don’t get suckered into paying more than you can afford.

Vanity publishing is not to be confused with self-publishing. These are companies out to get as much money from authors as they can. You’ll end up with a garage full of books and an empty bank account, so be aware.

But be prepared to sell yourself; pimping on Twitter, Facebook etc. You’ll make a lot of friends from all over the world, as I have found, but you’ll also encounter a lot of snobbery.

Have you self-published? Thinking about it? I’d love to hear from you.

Self-Publishing snobbery

There’s a lot of snobbery in the air when someone mentions self-publishing. A lot of pursed lips and tut-tutting. It’s the last resort of a poor writer having been rejected by countless agents and publishers, isn’t it? .

Many think so, sadly.

I’ve read a few SP books and loads of “ordinary” books and have found errors in both. Funny, they are called spelling errors in SP books, but printing errors in books with a publishing house behind them.

The Pros and Cons of self-publishing can be found in the links highlighted. But, at all costs, make sure your book is the best it can be if you follow the SP route (by any route, really). Pay for a detailed edit/proof-read. Pay an artist for a good cover: these don’t have to be expensive. Shop around.

But be prepared to sell yourself; pimping on Twitter, Facebook etc. You’ll also make a lot of friends from all over the world, as I have found. I may not make my fortune from Eden but I’m sure going to have fun selling it!