What’s the difference between self-publishing and going to a publisher?


What are the benefits/drawbacks of self publishing. That is, what do publisher’s offer that you won’t get through self-publishing.



Elaine M

Self publishing means no editor looks at your work to correct or smooth it out, you have to do all of that yourself. It also means you have to pay for the ISBN number and do all your own marketing including trying to get it into bookstores. You print them all up, YOU store all the copies till they’re sold, YOU have full control and get the full purchase price. However you can also be stuck with the entire print run and not able to sell it.

Publishers give you a portion of what they make on the book, but they assume all costs of printing, editing, shipping, ISBN, registration, getting it into the book catalogs for ordering by libraries, stores and schools, and all other forms. You just supply the finished manuscript, get the advance money and any other payment due you after enough of the books sell.

Since small publishers do print runs of 1,000 to 3,000 books now, and large publishers do about 5,000 copies, you’re not looking at a large enough paycheck to let you live on it for a year. If you self-publish, it’s all out of your pocket. Sales depend on you, and you assume all shipping costs.

On average most self published books sell less than 250 copies.

HP Wombat

Publishers get your book on Amazon
Publishers get your book in libraries.
Publishers get your book in Barnes & Noble and Borders
Publishers get early copies of your book in front of librarians so they can begin generating buzz.
Publishers take care of book covers, marketing and editing costs.
Publishers bear the financial burden of printing and distribution costs.
Publishers ensure that truly awful books don’t see the light of day.

Self-Published books gives you the responsibility and invested time spent doing several professional jobs… graphic designer, editor, marketer, and financial overseer of your book (which may or may not be an awful book). The plus is that you reap whatever financial rewards you produce, with a fraction of the cost going to the publishing company.

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