"Self Publishing" Pros & Cons

Quick summary of “Self-Publishing” Pros & Cons before we wrap this series up with Vanity Publishing (what people generally mean when they say “self-published”) tomorrow.


  • You’re the master/mistress of your own destiny
  • Keep all the rights to your story, characters, merchandising, film/TV, etc
  • Don’t have to wait years to see your book in print or to have readers enjoying your work
  • Don’t have to worry about someone preying on your dreams and taking advantage of you
  • If you do your job of publishing and marketing the book(s) well, then you might gain the attention of a NY Big Boy. If they want to acquire your book, but now it’s on your terms. You have some negotiating power. (Examples of this happening: Eragon series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and countless others)
  • Take it on the road, and you can make a modest living doing just that (more in the upcoming book marketing series)
  • You meet your fans as you build readership one by one.


  • Don’t have the industry/media connections you would with a Big Boy
  • You have to do *everything* yourself or pay to have it subcontracted
  • It’s the most expensive way to get your book published
  • It is an unbelievable amount of work, and it becomes your life
  • It’s a constant struggle to be seen among the millions of other authors/books out there
  • It’s an *extremely* slow process
  • One….by….one….

As I said at the beginning of this series, it all depends upon what you want and what you’re willing to risk and/or sacrifice. That’s what it really comes down to.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. A note to self-published authors out there, or those considering it: if you’re going to pay good money for quality printing, don’t skimp on the book’s design. That means: hire a graphic designer for your cover and an illustrator for your art. Your book will then look gorgeous and professional. After all, doesn’t your “baby” deserve it?

  2. Christine says:

    Absolutely. Hire a professional.

  3. Lauren Lynch says:

    Great info for those of us toying with the idea. I’ve had a successful career in graphic design. It’s like I was made for it. Maybe? I’m still not great at sales … and that is probably the most important part! I’ll have to read your posts on marketing next. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. christinerose says:

      Please do! Also check out the book Publishing & Marketing Realities, as it’s all in one place there. If you have a career in graphic design, you can make your own book covers and offer that to other indie authors in trade for editing, layout, or eBook conversion. 😀 Thank you so much for reading!

  4. I just completed my first self-publishing project, and boy, was it a learning experience! Let me add another con: the formatting learning curve. Whew!

    Now that I’ve done it, I know the next time will be easier, but it’s tough. Fortunately, I had some great reader friends who’ve done it before help me along the way.

    1. christinerose says:

      Yes. There are learning curves for just about everything when it comes to doing it all as a self-published author. More for some than others. That’s what it’s so great to work with a group of authors in an author co-op model, where you can work in trade and play to your strengths.

  5. Brad Swift says:

    It seems to me that there’s really 3 options — Self publishing, going for a Big 6 publisher, or finding a good fit with a smaller publishing house. I say this because I realized in my own thinking it was only the first two, while smaller publishing houses maybe the ‘just right’ middle ground for some authors and/or for some of their books.

    As for the ‘formatting learning curve,’ may I offer two aids — for Mac users (and soon PC users too) Scrivener. It’s a writing tool for us authors. Really fantastic and helps so much with the formatting with their ‘compiling’ tools.

    The other one that I’m about to try myself or my next book, Seeds of a New Birth, due out this month, is bookbaby.com. Can’t directly recommend them quite yet but do know they’ll take you book mss and convert it to all the formats for the major distribution points and then place the book with those distribution points for $99. So, at least it seems like a viable way to go if you’re so inclined. Don’t need to climb that learning curve, just pass it on to someone else.
    Visionary Author

    1. christinerose says:

      There are only 3 viable options, as Vanity is not a good option at all. Thanks for the other tips.

  6. I agree that it’s vital for authors to understand the pros and cons. I’m doing both traditional publishing and self-publishing and hoping to get the best of both worlds. Time will tell how it all works out.

    1. christinerose says:

      Yes! That’s the best way all around! Good for you!

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