When should I look at self-publishing?

Is self-publishing a book the best option for YOU?

This question plagues many writers. Today, like never before, the author has numerous publishing options open to him. Self-publishing a book is one of them. The moot question is, is it the best option for YOU? As you read on, you will be able to decide whether self-publishing suits you or not.

Situations in which self-publishing a novel is the best choice for YOU.

  • When you want to publish your book quickly.

In self-publishing, a book can be published within a week, subject to conditions. It will take 2-3 months if the manuscript needs to be edited. In contrast, a conventionally published book can take anywhere between one year and more.

  • When you want to publish your novel with little or no change.

Often a traditional publisher will require you to make changes to your novel, minor or major, as per the publisher’s requirements, but this may not fit in with your idea of what your book should be.

  • When you would not like to wait for a publisher to accept or reject your manuscript ( this could take between 1 -3 yrs)

It could be an uphill struggle for a first-time author or a new writer to get the first book published through the traditional route. One may experience several rejections or silences before the manuscript is accepted or maybe not. Rejections are not easy to accept for a manuscript that is close to one’s heart.

  • When you totally believe in your work and are passionate about it.

Just as Amish Tripathi and many other celebrity authors were about their work and took the option of self-publishing

  • When you are looking for a steppingstone to traditional publishing.

When you believe in your work and are ready to stand by it while others reject, ridicule or discourage you. You can self-publish it, make it a success, and traditional publishing houses will come asking you to publish your work with them. Much like it happened to Savi Sharma and many other successful authors in India and abroad.

  • When you want to publish your book for private or limited circulation.

Occasions such as the following are perfect for publishing books for limited circulation, reunions, birthdays of people, institutions, companies; anniversaries of individuals or companies; workshops, lectures and more.

  1.  Developing a book for a workshop/ training purpose
  2. Gifting as on an anniversary, recording your child’s journey through life.
  3. Distribution within a company or a select group of people.
  • Make a mark in your field of work, management, engineering, IT etc.

Two people who have similar profiles appear for an interview, promotion etc, and one has published a book and the other none. The published book will help tilt the weight to your goal. Look around how many celebrities and known personalities and relatively unknown ones like to slip in that they are authors and have published a book. It’s a psychological tool to make your profile attractive, appear educated and be an expert in your domain.

  • When you want to explore the market to see what works

This is when you would like to test the market to see whether your work is what the market wants or does it need to be tweaked. In such cases, a small print run is pushed in the market, given to experts for review, the feedback is collected, and then the book is readied for final production.

  • When you want returns in terms of exposure, standing in society, doors that will open up to you etc.

Before you take a final call on whether self-publishing is the best option for you, let’s look at some statistics* on the type of book formats available to you. This will influence your choice of publishing. Today the print book format is the most popular. Audiobooks are the new boy on the block, and there is a long way to go for audiobooks to catch up with print books. Though, the pandemic gave audiobooks a significant flip.

 formats for books

The latest survey* of reading habits during the pandemic for different age groups unfolded a surprise about the age groups that read the most during the pandemic. Baby boomers, Generation X and the millennials were surveyed, and it was seen that Millennials were the most likely to have read a book in the past one year as compared to other age groups. The Boomers polled the least in having picked up a book to read in the past year.

book readers

Once you have zeroed in on self-publishing as the best option for you, the answers you will need to look at are the following:

  1. What are the numerous self-publishing options? Read about 5 ways to self-publish a book.

2. You can also study the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing.

3. The next step will be to decide which publishing company will suit you the best?

Watch videos of self-published authors

More videos of self-published authors

We would like to hear how self-publishing has helped you? Though the terms self-publishing/vanity/POD/expert publishing are not synonyms, for the purpose of this article, we are taking these terms to mean what we in India understand as self-publishing.

Want to contact a self-publishing company?

*The data is taken from the latest survey Published by Amy Watson. The time period is between 2019 – 2020