Monday, September 23, 2013

Is self-publishing your e-book different to being picked up by an e-book publishing company?

For authors these days there are many online routes to becoming published. Doing it yourself, or paying someone to edit your manuscript, make your cover and put together the whole thing for you so you can upload and take all the credit, is widely recognised these days for the many millions who want to say, hey, I'm a published author.

However, is it the same as being picked up and published by high profile e-book publishers? Although it seems that there are mainly erotica eBook publishers doing it, the big publishing companies tend to produce their own e-books and are even reducing themselves to finding new authors on places like Amazon and Smashwords who distribute through iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Diesel, Kobo and are finding more stores to push our books through every day.

So then, is it different to being picked up by an e-book publisher to doing it yourself?

While it may feel very different, I don't believe it is. 

Even though my heart really wants to see my books printed and sitting on store shelves, I think that's where I'm in two minds about it. However, eBooks are going to be online regardless, so you may as well have control over your eBook rights and I don't believe there is any difference between you uploading your books all over the place, and an online publisher, or one of the big 6 print publishers, putting your books up online. At least you earn the money!

Pros of being picked up by a publisher -

You sign a contract to be published in print or digital and take a very small percentage.

You may get a small advance.

You have your cover done for you.

You have an editor and are given help.

You are publicised across the net.

Cons of being picked up by a publisher -

You only get a small percentage.

You may not get any advance.

You may not like your cover and wish you had input.

You don't have any input into anything.

You are told to change your story in editing even though you think it's fabulous as is and may not be happy with the way it ends up.

You are not as publicised across the net as you'd like and have to do it all yourself.

The pros of self-publishing -

You do it all yourself.

You take all the profit.

You can do our own cover or pay someone to do it how you want it.

You pay someone to edit your story as it and then make it better without changing too much.

You can publish to the sites you want to be on.

You can set up as many social media pages as you want to be on.

The cons of self-publishing -

You do it all yourself.

You still have to pay someone to edit your book.

You still have to pay someone to do your cover if you don't know how.

It takes massive amounts of time formatting the books to each website's specifications. UNLESS you only publish to Smashwords, who sends it everywhere, and Amazon's Kindle. Then you only need two formats plus the print format for Amazon's CreateSpace. That means three formats for your book.

It takes massive amounts of time uploading to the publishing websites of your choice and waiting for them to be reviewed and approved for publishing.

It takes massive amounts of time and energy to get your tax dealings in order.

It can cost you money and time you may not have unless you find decent help.

It takes massive amounts of time to find websites, forums, blog posts, how-to guides to self-publishing.

You need to set up all of your social media pages yourself unless you pay someone to help you.

You need to keep across all your social media pages every week to publicise yourself and try to sell your books. And even then you may not have much success.


I'm sure there are many points I haven't come up with and it all depends on whether you write romance and erotica as there are well known online publishers for that, but if you want to have your books published in the mainstream then obviously doing it yourself it going to be better as you are across the major wheeler dealers in the industry for eBooks. 

Print publishing is another matter altogether and you either do it yourself at CreateSpace or try vanity publishers here in Aus and even then you have to pay unless a publisher picks you up, it comes back to do you know what's in the contract and what rights are you signing away.

Amazon's CreateSpace for paper printed books and Kindle for e-books. Smashwords which are finding new distributers all the time already send our books off to iTunes, B&N, Diesel, Sony, Kobo, Blio, Axis, Page Foundry and have found more since. You can't get any more mainstream on the big eBook selling sites than those.


  1. I made a mistake of publishing through Lulu. Now I can not get an ISBN number for it as I lost my password with Lulu.

  2. Munir, when logging into Lulu surely there is a button to press if you've forgotten your password. They send an email letting you know or redirecting you to change it. They are on most sites when logging in. Otherwise email them about it.

    And keep your passwords written in a book for the next time you forget.

  3. So many more people are self publishing these days, I think it's wonderful! Some of the best stuff I've ever read has been self published, I never would have found it if it hadn't been for the changes in the industry.

  4. Kellie, it's true.

    A lot of publishers have turned down books that went on to be massive sellers at online book stores, so that's why they troll all these eBook sites for best sellers and then offer print deals.

    Easiest way for them to make money really. Instead of forking out for a book they have no idea will sell, they find one that already has and make money off it without spending too much doing so.


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