Self-Publishing Pros and Cons: Maximize Book Potential
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Why consider self-publishing?
  2. How to self-publish
  3. Pros of self-publishing
  4. Cons of self-publishing
  5. Ways to maximize your book potential
  6. Self-publishing costs
  7. Self-publishing versus traditional publishing
  8. How to market a self-published book
  9. Resources for self-publishing authors

Have you ever dreamed of writing and publishing your own book? If you're reading this, chances are you're considering dipping your toes into the vast ocean of self-publishing. As with any big decision, it's smart to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing before making your move. This blog post aims to do just that — we'll explore the pros and cons, and guide you on how to maximize your book's potential.

Why consider self-publishing?

Self-publishing is a unique journey that gives you the reins of your own story — both literally and figuratively. Here are some compelling reasons why you might want to choose self-publishing:

  • Freedom and Control: Self-publishing hands you the artistic license. You get to call the shots on everything — from the cover design to the storyline. Unlike traditional publishing, where editors and publishers can influence your content, self-publishing gives you complete control.
  • Quick to Market: Self-publishing can be a speedy process. No more waiting for months, or even years, for a publishing house to pick up your book. If you're eager to share your work with the world, self-publishing could be your fast track.
  • Better Royalties: One of the major advantages of self-publishing lies in the potential for higher profit margins. Instead of a small percentage from a traditional publisher, you could earn considerably more per book sold.
  • Niche Markets: If your book caters to a specific or unusual topic, traditional publishers might not be willing to take the risk. Self-publishing allows you to reach out to your unique audience directly.

While these benefits paint an attractive picture, it's crucial to remember that self-publishing is not a guaranteed ticket to success. But with careful planning, a dash of patience, and a plentiful serving of hard work, you can turn the advantages of self-publishing to your favor and minimize the downsides. The next sections will delve deeper into the pros and cons of self-publishing, and how you can maximize your book's potential.

How to self-publish

Ready to dive into the world of self-publishing? Great! Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Write Your Book: This is your masterpiece, so take your time. Write, revise, and write again until you're satisfied with your work.
  2. Editing: No matter how good your writing is, a second pair of eyes is always helpful. Hire a professional editor if you can, or at least ask someone you trust to proofread your manuscript.
  3. Cover Design: They say don't judge a book by its cover, but let's be real — we all do. Invest in a professional-looking cover that reflects the content of your book.
  4. Formatting: This is more than just choosing a font size. You need to consider margins, headers, footers, and more. If this sounds overwhelming, consider hiring a professional formatter.
  5. ISBN: You'll need an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for your book. This unique identifier can be obtained from designated ISBN agencies worldwide.
  6. Publishing Platform: There are numerous platforms to self-publish, like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, or Lulu. Research each one to see which fits your needs best.
  7. Set Your Price: This can be tricky. Set it too high, and you might deter readers. Set it too low, and you might undervalue your work. Do some market research to find a sweet spot.
  8. Release Your Book: Once all the above steps are done, it's time to release your book into the world. Congratulations, you're now a published author!

Remember, self-publishing is a journey, not a race. It may seem daunting at first, but with each step, you'll learn and grow. And who knows? Your book could be the next big thing on the self-publishing scene!

Pros of self-publishing

You've probably heard a lot about the advantages of self-publishing. Let's break down some of the main benefits:

  1. Control: You hold all the cards. From the cover design to the price, you have the final say on every aspect of your book.
  2. Speed: Traditional publishing can take years from manuscript submission to the book hitting the shelves. With self-publishing, once your book is ready, you can have it out in the world in a matter of weeks or even days.
  3. Royalties: Instead of a small percentage from each sale, you keep the majority of the profits. Some platforms offer up to 70% royalties on ebooks—now that's a number that's hard to ignore!
  4. Niche Markets: Traditional publishers often shy away from niche genres because they're not "mass-market" enough. But guess what? As a self-publisher, you can cater to these under-served markets and build a loyal reader base.
  5. Long Shelf Life: In traditional publishing, if a book doesn't sell well in the first few weeks, it risks being pulled from the shelves. In the world of self-publishing, your book is available as long as you want it to be.

So, are the advantages of self-publishing starting to look pretty good? Well, hold your horses, because like everything else in life, it comes with its share of challenges. But we'll get to those in a bit.

Cons of self-publishing

While the advantages of self-publishing are alluring, it wouldn't be fair if we didn't discuss the potential drawbacks. Here are some aspects you might want to consider:

  1. Responsibility: With great power comes great responsibility, right? Being in control means you also have to handle all the tasks typically taken care of by traditional publishers, like editing, design, and marketing.
  2. Costs: Those tasks we just mentioned? They can add up quickly. Professional editing, cover design, and marketing services can be quite costly. You'll need to be prepared to invest in these if you want your book to shine.
  3. Visibility: Traditional publishers have extensive distribution networks that are hard to match. Getting your self-published book into bookstores can be a tough task, and you might find yourself relying heavily on online sales.
  4. Quality Perception: Although this is changing, some readers and reviewers still look down on self-published books, assuming they are lower quality. You’ll need to work extra hard to prove them wrong.
  5. Time: Self-publishing can be time-consuming. Without a publisher to guide the process, you could spend countless hours learning about book publishing and marketing.

So, there you have it. The disadvantages of self-publishing can seem daunting, but don't let them discourage you. With careful planning and a clear understanding of the process, you can navigate these challenges and come out on top.

Ways to maximize your book potential

Now that we've looked at both the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, let's talk about how to make the most of your self-publishing journey. Here are some ways to maximize your book's potential:

  1. Invest in Professional Services: If you want your book to stand out, it's worth hiring professionals for editing and cover design. Yes, it's an extra cost but it can make a huge difference in your book's overall quality and how it's perceived.
  2. Master Your Genre: Understand what readers in your genre want and give it to them. Read extensively in your field and keep tabs on current trends. The better you understand your audience, the better you can meet their expectations.
  3. Develop a Marketing Plan: Don't wait until your book is published to start thinking about marketing. Develop a solid marketing plan well in advance. This could include things like building an author website, getting book reviews, and using social media to connect with readers.
  4. Focus on Your Online Presence: In the world of self-publishing, the internet is your friend. Make the most of it by having a strong online presence. This includes having a professional-looking website, being active on social media, and engaging with your audience.
  5. Keep Writing: The more books you have, the more opportunities you have to get noticed and build an audience. Don't stop at one book. Keep writing and keep publishing.

Maximizing your book's potential isn't just about putting words on a page. It's about understanding your market, making smart investments, and building strong connections with your readers. Remember, self-publishing is a journey, and every journey begins with a single step.

Self-publishing costs

Alright, we've talked about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, and we've discussed ways to maximize your book's potential. Now, let's get down to brass tacks: what are the costs associated with self-publishing?

  1. Editing and Proofreading: These are essential steps in the publishing process, but they do come at a cost. Prices vary depending on the level of editing needed and the length of your manuscript.
  2. Cover Design: A professionally designed cover can really make your book stand out. Costs for this service can range widely, so it's important to do some research and find a designer within your budget.
  3. ISBN number: If you want to sell your book in bookstores or through online retailers, you'll need an ISBN number. This is a unique identifier for your book and comes with a one-time fee.
  4. Printing: If you're planning to print physical copies of your book, you'll need to factor in the cost of printing. This can vary greatly depending on the number of copies, the quality of the paper, and the type of binding you choose.
  5. Marketing and Promotion: This is another area where costs can vary. You might choose to hire a publicist, pay for advertising, or invest in a launch event. Whatever your strategy, it's important to budget for marketing and promotion.

While self-publishing does have its costs, it's worth remembering that you have a lot of control over these expenses. You can choose to do some things yourself to save money, or invest in professional services to enhance your book's quality. It's all about finding the right balance for you and your book.

Self-publishing versus traditional publishing

We've all heard the old publishing stories — the ones about authors who send their manuscripts to hundreds of publishers, only to receive a pile of rejection letters in return. It's enough to make you consider self-publishing. But what are the real differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing? Let's break it down.

  1. Control: With self-publishing, you're the boss. You have the final say on everything from the cover design to the marketing strategy. Traditional publishing, on the other hand, often means relinquishing a lot of control to the publisher.
  2. Time: Self-publishing can be a quicker route to getting your book out there. Traditional publishing often involves a lengthy process of pitching, editing, and waiting for publication dates.
  3. Profit: Here's where things get interesting. With traditional publishing, you'll typically receive an advance and then royalties on sales. With self-publishing, no advance is given but you get to keep a larger percentage of the profits from each sale.
  4. Reputation: Some people still see traditional publishing as more prestigious. But remember, many successful authors have chosen the self-publishing route and have done very well.

Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing isn't always straightforward — both have their advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is to choose the route that best suits you and your book. And remember, no matter which path you choose, your success will ultimately come down to the quality of your writing and your commitment to reaching your readers.

How to market a self-published book

So, you've taken the plunge and self-published your book—congratulations! But now comes the tricky part: getting your book into the hands of readers. Don't fret, though. Let's walk through some proven strategies of marketing your self-published book.

  1. Know your audience: This is the golden rule of book marketing. Before you do anything else, you need to understand who your readers are and what they want. Are they young adults hungry for a new fantasy series? Are they professionals looking for industry insights? This will guide your marketing efforts.
  2. Build a strong online presence: If you're a self-published author, the internet is your best friend. Start with a professional author website and active profiles on social media platforms where your potential readers hang out.
  3. Engage with readers: Don't just talk at your audience—interact with them. Respond to comments, join discussions, and consider starting an email newsletter to keep readers engaged between books.
  4. Consider promotions and giveaways: Everyone loves a good deal! Consider offering your book for free or at a discounted price for a limited time. This can help generate buzz and attract new readers.
  5. Get reviews: Reviews can make or break a book's success. Encourage your readers to leave reviews on book retail sites. Positive reviews can significantly boost your book's visibility and credibility.

Remember, marketing a self-published book takes time and effort, but it's all part of the journey. And who knows? With the right strategy, your book could be the next self-published success story.

Resources for Self-Publishing Authors

Okay, so you've decided to take the self-publishing route. Good for you! Now, let's look at some helpful resources that can make your journey smoother. These resources can be a lifeline when it comes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing.

  1. Online Self-Publishing Platforms: Websites like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and Lulu offer easy-to-use platforms for publishing your book. These sites provide step-by-step guides and helpful tools to make the process as straightforward as possible.
  2. Design Software: Tools like Canva and Adobe InDesign can help you design a standout book cover. Remember, your book cover is the first thing potential readers will see, so make it count!
  3. Editing Tools: Don't underestimate the power of good editing. Tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid can help you catch typos and improve your writing style.
  4. Book Marketing Guides: Websites like BookBub and The Creative Penn offer tons of advice on how to effectively market your self-published book.
  5. Author Communities: Joining online communities of authors can provide support and guidance. Sites like Goodreads and the Alliance of Independent Authors are fantastic places to start.

Remember, self-publishing is a journey, and every journey is easier when you have the right resources. So, use these resources to your advantage and start your self-publishing adventure with confidence.

If you're considering self-publishing your book and want to understand more about its pros and cons, we highly recommend checking out Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck's workshop, 'Introduction to Self-Publishing - Part 1.' This workshop will provide valuable insights and tips on how to maximize your book's potential through self-publishing. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from an expert in the field!