Self-Publishing: is it really that bad?

There are a lot of writers out there who rank self-publishing about one step above signing a pact with Old Scratch, while there are others who view it as the best way to reach targeted markets.*

Personally, I generally dislike the idea of self-publishing, mostly because a writer who self-publishes has none of the resources of a traditional publisher:

  • You’d have to hire an editor — no one gets every typo.
  • It’s surprisingly hard to design your own cover.
  • You won’t be able to get your book distributed without a lot of work (and even more money).

I understand the allure of just getting it out there, but I live in fear of attempting to sell a book or similar product that looks entirely unprofessional. I’m an advocate of sticking with the traditional query route for as long as you can. At the very least, you might find out why an editor thinks your manuscript would be a tough sell — which in turn, can help you improve your manuscript.

*Self-publishing is not the same as publishing through a vanity press — which can be equivalent to signing an infernal contract. Vanity presses get you a couple of copies to hand around to friends and family, while self-publishing is done with the idea of making some dough.


  1. Janet Riehl   •  

    Right now authors have three options for getting their books out there.
    1) traditional and mainstream; 2) self-publishing; 3) hybrid option through author services companies. Option 3 is different from the old Vanity houses in many ways and quite viable as an option for many. It depends on the project and what your goals are. For my book “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary” publishing through iUniverse proved a very successful way for me to get the work into the world quickly and I’ve reaped benefits and blessings from this.

  2. Becky   •  

    I agree with Janet’s points RE: book publishing options. A clear vision of the scope, purpose and goal of a book certainly relegates choices. With my most recent book, I found the process caused me to very stringently reveiw what the project was about in all aspects before making a choice about how to publish it. I am glad so many options are available!

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