What is self-publishing?

It is not something that is difficult to do, yet many do fear the outcomes and never take a step forward. Self-publishing is as simple as it sounds but it does involve a lot of planning. Anything without ineffective planning might turn out to be a nightmare and obviously cost to you.

Self-publishing can simply be explained as the ability of the author to publish his/her work undertaking the costs of publication. “Self-Publishing” means that there are no intermediaries (Commercial Publishers) involved. Everything from finding a printing company to the launch of the book is arranged by the author.

Self-publishing is a job that requires the author to perform several different roles including:

  • Editor
  • Publicist
  • Layout Specialist
  • Publisher
  • Production Coordinator
  • Marketing Guru
  • Sales Manager

Performing all these roles gives the author an advantage as he/she can cut out the intermediary and enjoys the profits but to be that skilled, the author needs to have firm belief in his/her own work. A recent research shows that about 81% of people have possibly one book in them and to be a self-entrepreneur why not pen a book that you believe will mark your presence in the industry.

With so many platforms emerging like desktop publishing, xerography, World Wide Web, print on demand, self-publishing has been promoted to help eliminate the third parties that somehow are a barrier to your success because their advice does cancel out any ideas of your own. However, an idea to self-publish because, either the commercial publishers are inaccessible or you want to keep all the profits to yourself, should not be the only reasons behind the decision. Self-publishing also means that an author has to work extra hard on his/her work, concepts, ideas, story build-up, binding conclusion, editing etc.

With Amazon becoming one of the biggest self-publishing platforms, people are not worried about the exposure their work will receive but even relying on just one platform is not going to cover all the costs. The decision of no marketing efforts might turn out to be a deadly one for your writing career.

People are often confused about the options in publishing and fail to choose the right one.

Traditional Publishing

These companies buy rights and screen out a few from several submissions that they deem to be best-sellers in the market and then draw up a contract with the publisher.


As defined above, requires the author to find a printing service that publishes on demand (POD) high quality books. The author is also the investor, the risk-taker and the owner of the profits here. The author also needs to file for copyrights, ISBN number, bar code, and line of congress number.

Subsidy Publishing

Here, the author makes the investments, bears the risks but keeps only the royalties on each sale and not the whole profit. The publishing agent or company files for the copyrights in author’s name.

If self-publishing is the way you want your work to be marketed, then following these tips might help.

  • Do not display your work free as most do using Amazon’s KDP select.
  • Do hire an editor. Most self-publishers regret their books not being edited by a professional editor.
  • Self-publishing involves a lot of work so be prepared!
  • Your book’s hard copy is useless if you have chosen POD or the World Wide Web as your publisher.
  • It is tough getting self-publications into bookshops.