It’s a tough, yet brave decision. Sitting down to get your message out in the world will be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you do.
But now that you’ve made this decision, you may be wondering:
Should I approach a publisher and go down the traditional route? Or should I self-publish and become an indie author? Which is better, traditional publishing versus self-publishing?
Before the age of the internet, the only way a writer could get their book in front of millions was to send a book proposal and a query letter to a traditional publisher or agent. The writer hoped that day’s gatekeeper had drank their morning coffee, woken up on the right side of the bed and actually given your letter and proposal more than a 10-second glance.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening was slim to none.
This resulted in brilliant people like yourself being denied the opportunity to share their experiences, stories, and knowledge with the world.
Thankfully, this industry is changing for the better – at least for those of us who are savvy in self-publishing.
With the development of online marketplaces like Amazon, the publishing process has changed. You can distribute your book to everyone, regardless of what some traditional publishing house thinks about your idea.
You have a book inside of you and the world needs to read it!
The publishing world has changed, and it’s time for you to reap the benefits. Here are seven reasons why self-publishing is the best route to take—and why you’ll think twice before dealing with a publishing company again.
#1 – You Don’t Have to Wait for Permission
With self-published books, you do not have to wait for anyone to give you the green light.
You decide when and how to publish a book.
You decide whose hands your book gets into.
You decide how successful you are.
In other words, you don’t have to convince any gatekeepers to allow your book to reach the global market.
“But, don’t traditional publishers have a good idea for what will sell or not? I mean, if they reject my book, they’re probably right that no one would want to buy it.”
Have you ever heard of Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek”? It has been a New York Timesand Wall Street Journal bestseller for over four years. It sold nearly 1.5 million copies and has been translated into 35 different languages.
Oh, and get this: It was rejected by the first 26 publishers it was presented to.
Maybe you’ve also heard of a certain children’s book, the one about a young boy with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead who discovers he is a wizard. The ”Harry Potter” franchise is a patent bestseller, with the last four books in the series being the fastest-selling books in history.
Yet it was rejected by 12 publishers in a row, and was only picked up because the eight-year-old daughter of an editor demanded to read the rest of the book. Even then, after the editor agreed to publish, they advised J.K. Rowling to get a day job as she had little chance of making money in children’s books.
Little did they realize the publishing success they had stumbled onto.
Now, just imagine all the other authors out there who stopped after the first 10 or 20 doors slammed in their faces, believing the lie that they didn’t have a profitable idea.
You cannot allow other people to determine your success.
Self-publishing gives you the avenue to do that. You and your readers decide the worth of your words, rather than one person at a publishing firm who may not realize the potential publishing success in their hands.
#2 – You Can Publish Your Work Quickly
If you were to take your book to a traditional publisher, it would take years to publish.
For example, it may take up to six months for you to even hear back about the book proposal. And assuming they accept your proposal, it will take at least another year before the book is actually published.
With self-publishing, you can produce your content as quickly as you want. And in the Amazon Kindle store, you can publish a new book whenever you want. That way, you can share your work as quickly as you create it!
#3 – Bring Home the (passive) Bacon
Traditionally-published authors are typically paid an amount of money up front. However, once the sales come rolling in, they only get a small cut of the earnings.
Why? Because they have to pay the publishing house, the editor, the marketers, the designers, etc.
But when you self-publish, you take in most of the earnings (save for the money you actually choose to spend on marketing, book production and publishing). On Amazon, for example, self-published authors receive 70% of the royalties for an eBook priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Now that isn’t bad!
#4 – You Form Invaluable Connections
Self-publishers around the world have gathered online and in person to provide a community that supports one another in publishing their work.
These connections become priceless as you meet other up-and-coming influencers like yourself.
“Wait—so where would I meet these people?”
Because self-publishing requires that you find your own editor, cover designer, formatter and launch team members, you end up connecting with people throughout your whole writing experience.
Self-published authors also gather on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.
The camaraderie allows people to expand far beyond what they could have done on their own, or what they would have been limited to with a traditional publisher.
#5 – You Control Your Objective
So much of a book is influenced by the motive that fuels it.
Is your motive to make money?
It is to launch a new career?
Is it to share your story?
Is it to become a public speaker?
Or, is it simply something to cross off your bucket list?
Remember, writing a book is hard work. And nothing is worse than seeing your hard work be transformed into something you didn’t want. When you self-publish, you are able to preserve the dignity and genius of your objective. No one is pressuring you to sell more books, or to taint your message so that it will reach wider audiences.
You are not pigeonholed or made to become someone you’re not comfortable with.
You write as you, and for you. And that is liberating. That is self-publishing freedom!
#6 – You Control Your Creative Concept
There are horror stories about authors whose ideas and voice became unrecognizable after they went down the traditional route.
When you work with a traditional publisher, you don’t just sell them your manuscript, you sell them your idea.
Your book may become something you are not comfortable with. Or, your dreams for a sequel or a revision may be completely squandered if it does not comply with the motives of the traditional publisher.
But as an independent author, you retain total creative control.
You are free to be expressive with your work. You are free to be vulnerable and controversial. You are free to be you.
When you self-publish, you also control who you write for. If you sell via the Amazon Kindle store, you can choose, and then tweak, your categories and keywords. You determine your marketing efforts.
Most people looking to write a book want to earn more money, gain more freedom or have a platform to share their ideas.
When you self-publish and have complete ownership over your ideas, you also have complete ownership over your future.
There is no traditional publishing firm to stop you from selling a supplementary online course that includes material from your book, starting a speaking career, re-releasing your book with a hardcover or audiobook, or even releasing an updated version of your book.
You determine the trajectory of your book, your ideas, and your publishing career when you self-publish.
Even Big Names Choose Between Traditional Publishing VS Self-Publishing
Though there are some benefits to traditional publishing, even some well-established and successful authors admit that the joys of being an indie author outweigh a traditional publishing deal.
So much, in fact, that big name entrepreneurs who have large followings and could easily get a traditional publishing deal are opting to go the self-publishing route.
As you can probably tell, we here at Self-Publishing School are huge advocates of being in control and ensuring you get all the money you deserve for the work you’ve put in.
That being said, sometimes traditional publishing will be the best option to fit your needs.
Here is why some people might opt to go with traditional publishing instead of reaping the rewards of self-publishing.
#1 – You have connections in the publishing industry
The chances of landing and agent and making it in traditional publishing is very low.
Because this market is very saturated and publishers really only publish certain types of books, those who have better luck with traditional publishing are those who have connections within the industry.
Bascially, if you know someone who is an agent or an editor at a publishing house, it might be beneficial for you to work with them in order to get published through that house.
#2 – You want the label
The best perk when it comes to traditional publishing is typically the fact that you can say you’re a traditionally published author.
Because you have to go through a number of different processes and rejections in order to “make it” with traditional publishing, it can be seen as a sign that you’re a better writer than others.
However, as much as it can sound impressive, it doesn’t always mean it is.
#3 – Distribution
Book distribution is much easier as a traditionally published author, mostly because you don’t have to deal with any of it.
Traditional publishing houses have very wide reaches and because of this, your book can reach a lot more stores in more places than if you traditionally publish.
#4 – Less responsibility on your part
If you’re the type of person who just wants to write the book but don’t want to worry about the title, book cover design, editing, or more, then traditional might be for you.
Keep in mind that traditional publishers do purchase the rights to your book when you get a book deal and therefore, can make you alter anything in it to meet their needs.
Meaning, your plot and characters can drastically change. If you’re okay with that, then traditional publishing works for you.
#5 – No upfront costs to you
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean traditional publishing is necessarily “free.”
Typically, those who get traditional book deals receive an upfront payment of varying amounts. From there, the rest of the expenses fall on the publisher.
However, those upfront payments aren’t often big enough to cover your living expenses for the length of time it takes to get your book finished and out into the world. And that means you’ll still have to continue to work another job while writing and meeting deadlines in order to get your book done.
#6 – A slow and steady process
This can be both a pro and a con. If you’re not in a rush to get your book out into the world, then the slow and lengthy traditional publishing process might be a good thing for you.
Ultimately, Self-Publishing Will Change Your Life
It may be that, like quite a few writers, you’ve dreamed about working with a big-name publishing house all your life, and nothing will satisfy you until you get that experience. There is nothing wrong with that.
If you’ve identified this need early on, then maybe it’s best for you to go down the traditional publishing route.
But let’s say you win the book lottery and get published. There is still no guarantee that your publisher’s efforts will get your work in bookstores or into the hands of the editors of your favorite literary magazines and newspapers. There’s also no guarantee in sales volume.
However, self-publishing gives you an alternative path. It gives you an assured chance of getting your book out there. You have a better chance of seeing success in your sales and making an impact if your message resonates with enough people. Not to mention, you get to stay true to the vision of your book.
Self-publishing allows you the freedom, money, community and control to shape your life into one that you adore.
Here at Self-Publishing School, we know what it takes to self-publish and maintain your book sales.
Just take a look at this student’s results with our methods. Jed Jurchenkocommitted, and made it happen, so much so that he’s now one of our very own coaches, so he can teach new students how to implement these techniques in the same way he did.
Here’s how you can get rid of your low book sales and actually sell more books.
#1 – Realize the marketing doesn’t stop once you hit “publish”
The best thing for you to do is realize that just because you’ve published, it doesn’t mean the work is done.
In order to maintain steady, continuous book sales, you have to set up a foundation in which you can grow from. This often means marketing regularly in order to keep your book in the limelight.
For example, the more you market your book, the more visitors you’ll get on your book’s page.
Why is this important?
Because the Amazon algorithm uses other user’s information to make sure your book pops up in the “Customers who bought this item also bought…” section, as seen in the example below.
The more people visit your book’s page, the more information Amazon gathers about those users, and this helps your book land in that spot, which increases sales.
Reviews are so important for book sales. Not only do they help readers discover if the book is a good fit for them, but Amazon relies on book reviews heavily in order to determine where to rank your book.
The way the algorithm works is to reward authors who are getting consistent, high rating reviews. Meaning, if your book got 50 4 or 5 star reviews during launch and nothing since, it might fall in the rankings compared to a book that has fewer reviews, but had received them on a consistent basis.
The reason for this is because Amazon wants to promote books that are consistently getting sales and are pleasing the people actually buying them.
So it’s your job to get out there and increase your reviews!
A great way to help your book gain momentum again is to host a relaunch. This could be just a fun event where you get another launch team together to promote your book, or you could also put out a hardcover copy and host a launch for it.
As of right now, Amazon does not allow printing of hardcover books, but you can use other sources like IngramSpark for your hardcover.
This will bring new attention to your book and when you have more than one version (paperback, hardback, and kindle), you’re seen as more of an authority, which can skyrocket your sales.
#6 – Reassess your keywords on Amazon
Authors need to start treating Amazon like a search engine, because that’s what it is. But in its case, you’re searching for products and not just information, like you do in Google.
Without hitting the right keywords, you can lose out on sales that should rightfully be yours, simply because your book isn’t’ showing up when someone looks for its contents.
Take this, for example.
If you search for the term “be happier” in the “books” category on Amazon, a number of results pop up.
We go into even more details of this in our VIP Self-Publishing course, which you can check out right here.
#7 – Assess your categories
The categories you place your book in can make or break your chances of becoming an Amazon bestselling author!
Do not make light of this.
When you put in your information on Amazon, you’re able to select which categories your book belongs in. These are what’s shown in the example image below.
These category placements are what will attract the right readers and help you become a bestseller – remember that!
#8 – Upgrade your author bio
You want to make sure that people searching Amazon for the types of books you write can find you easily. And sometimes, that means optimizing your Amazon Author bio so others can do so.
Take this example of Joanna Penn’s author bio.
As you can see, she has a few keywords right away in her biography, which can help those searching for authors who cover the same material she does.
Not only that, but she also posts “author updates” to keep her bio fresh. This shows others that she’s active, which can motivate them to purchase from her, since they know she’s frequently available.
#9 – Get book endorsements
Book endorsements are one of the best ways you can place yourself as more of an authority in your field. When others see that your book has an endorsement by someone they deem as highly credible, it can prompt them to purchase from you.
The reason for this is because they already trust the person who is endorsing you.
Since they may not have heard of you before, they might feel less inclined to purchase from you.
But having a book endorsement from someone they trust will help calm their qualms so they purchase.
Because you’re leveraging someone else’s audience, you can increase your book sales from those who may not have been able to find you or your book through other means.
#11 – Be consistent
Overall, the best thing you can do for you and your low book sales is to be consistent with your methods of marketing.
As scary as the term “marketing” can be, there are many ways you can up your exposure in order to increase your book sales.
Our most successful students are those who put in the work and remain consistent in their efforts to sell more books.
What’s to do Next
Are you ready to increase your low book sales and turn your passion into consistent passive income?
We’re ready for you!
Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Trainingas he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!