November 28, 2022
Some authors write their books for potential income while others craft their stories or formalize content into a book to further their interests or follow their passions. But writers have one thing in common: they all aspire to become published authors.
For that dream to become a reality, you can self-publish your book through a printing company, or you can query multiple big publishing houses with book proposals in the hopes that at least one will agree to publish your book without requiring too many changes or alterations to their vision for the upcoming book.
Since working with a publisher is the more traditional route for becoming a published author, should you decide to self-publish your book? Let’s look at the self-publishing reasons you should consider for your next book.
The words on the page are the author’s, right? All of the hours of hard work crafting just the right content during the drafting, writing, and revision processes should make the answer to the question obvious.
But when authors choose to partner with a publishing house, the content of the book, the way it is packaged for the reader, and even the marketing is under the control of the publishing company. So one of the most critical self-publishing reasons authors cite is the ability to control their own content from start to finish.
Of course, developing a story, crafting a memorable character, or constructing compelling content are all part of being a writer. The book itself and the key subject matter belong to the author.
But working with a publishing company means that authors will have an editor (or a team of them) reviewing the entire book, and it is likely that they will have input on the content that must be changed before publication. The edits requested may be to make the book appeal to a wider market and could even change the flow or feel of the book.
In contrast, if you self-publish your book, you can include anything you choose in your book. No one has editing rights over yours and the book can be printed exactly how you want it to be.
Authors usually have a good idea of how they want their book to look when it is finally published. The cover design and the hues included on the cover impact the image of both the book and the author, but authors who work with a publishing company often only have input on these design decisions rather than control over the final product.
Traditional publishing companies promote a specific look and feel for the books they represent. As a result, the books they publish all run through their corporate creation process that may or may not reflect the vision of the author. Traditional publishing companies often weigh in on creative matters like the book’s title as well.
Other key packaging components like page formatting and graphic design elements will be reviewed and potentially changed when an author works with a traditional publishing company, as opposed to self-publishing, so that the published book fits in with the company’s publication style for that genre.
On the other hand, one of the self-publishing reasons authors love is that they have complete packaging control over their own book. Authors can choose every detail about the book’s appearance. Self-publishing authors can design their own book covers but some printing companies like Publishing Xpress also offer expert design assistance for writers who want help crafting the most effective book cover.
All of the book packaging choices are made by a writer that publishes the book themselves, like the inclusion of photographs or graphic elements, the way chapters are presented, and how chapter pages are designed. The author’s vision is the guide for writers who choose to publish their own books.
Traditional publishing companies have a standardized strategy to publicize their books. It may vary between genres and how popular they anticipate a book to be once released. The promotion a book receives is often based on their perception of the author as well as the genre of the book.
New authors without proven sales and a small or nonexistent fan base may not be promoted as much as a book by a proven author will be. And authors whose writing is very niche might have a good idea of where to find the right readers for their content, but traditional publishing companies often control how and where their published books are promoted.
An author’s ability to choose their own marketing strategy is another of the self-publishing reasons that are driving writers to seek out nontraditional printing opportunities. Especially important for books that are popular with a specific niche or genre, marketing should be focused on connecting the book and author with the most likely readers and fan base.
An author whom self-publishes can take their book to locations where their potential readers come together, like conventions or other events that cater to that unique niche topic or genre. Self-publishing offers authors the freedom to market their books however, wherever, and whenever they choose.
Authors who work with a traditional publishing company to bring their book to print can be surprised to learn that some companies require authors to sign away some or all of their intellectual property rights connected to their book, the stories, or the characters they have created.
These kinds of agreements can be very detrimental to an author, but writers may not have a choice in signing the agreement if they want to work with the publisher. Once the rights are in control of the publishing company, the author may not have a say in how they are used in the future even if changes to the author’s work occur.
Writers that self-publish their books retain all intellectual rights to the current and future use of their books, characters, and stories. Authors can decide to re-platform their book as an audiobook or digital book when and if they choose to. They can also develop merchandise associated with their book if they want to or even seek out deals for creating a movie or other visual representation of the story or characters without needing the approval of their publishing house first.
And if a future show or movie based on a self-published book does come to pass, authors will be fully in control of how the book is represented since they alone will own the intellectual rights to the book.
One of the most compelling self-publishing reasons is financial. Authors who sign on with a traditional publisher essentially share the profit with the company. Since publishers are simply a business at heart, they have overhead costs like salaries and production costs that must be calculated when determining how much an author receives for their work.
Authors who publish their books through one of the “big 5” traditional publishers only receive royalties between 5-15% for their print books while authors that publish with smaller press companies may earn up to 35% in royalties. Authors who publish their work with a traditional publishing company will create, write, and refine their own concept but then will only be entitled to a small fraction of the profit on the book’s sales.
Self-publishing authors, on the other hand, will see a much higher rate of royalties on their books because they do not share the profits with a business or publishing house.
Your next book project may be well on its way or just a concept, but at some point, every author has to decide how they want to bring their book to print. Authors who are interested in retaining control over their book’s content, packaging, and marketing as well as the intellectual rights of their work may choose to publish their book themselves instead of working with a traditional publishing company. The potential financial benefits of self-publishing are also attractive to many authors who don’t want to share the profits of their hard work with a business.
But partnering with a trusted printer is an important step for writers who want to publish a book themselves since the printing company plays a big part in how the book will look when it is printed and ready for sale. Publishing Xpress has been working with authors for decades, providing quality materials and printing expertise to aspiring writers so that their dreams of becoming published authors can come true. No matter what route you choose for your next book, make sure that all of your hard work will end up with a gorgeous book that you can be proud of for years to come.
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