What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is the act of publishing a book without the financial backing of a traditional publishing company.  This means that the author pays for all the costs associated with publication and receives 100% of the profit that said book garners.  Through self-publishing the author remains in complete control of his or her intellectual property and how it is distributed.

What is the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing?

Traditional publishing is when you shop your book around to publishing companies to try to secure a publishing deal. If you get signed, the publishing company pays for your editing, book cover design, print copies, and publicity in exchange for a percentage of your royalties. This percentage could range anywhere from 60-90%. The plus side of a traditional publishing company is that you have everything done for you, you pay no money out of pocket, and you are marketed to their readers. The downside is that you only get paid 10-40% of the money your book makes and the publishing company owns the cover, edits, and often the title. Also, your ISBN and any barcodes that appear on your books belong to the publishing company as well. Even after you make the money back for what they paid for, they still take the same percentage of royalties.


Self-publishing is the opposite of traditional publishing. You pay for your own book, including editing, book cover design, ISBN, barcode, print copies, and publicity, but you keep all money that your book makes. You own your book and you can do anything you want with it. After you make the money back that you put into it, everything else is profit. The upside is that you are in complete control, from start to finish, and you can choose how and where you want to distribute your book, including eBooks and print books. The downside is that you pay for everything and the responsibility of marketing your craft falls on you. This might be daunting to some, but it is completely doable and many people have found great success self-publishing. In a world that’s ruled by social media, much of your publicity and marketing can be very cheap, often even free. And once your book pays for itself, all of the profit is yours. Self-published authors, often referred to as independent or indy authors, are doing things that have never been done before without the help of traditional publishers. They’ve been on the Amazon, USA Today, and New York Times bestseller lists. They do television, radio, and print interviews. They have large fan bases and huge social media followings. With self-publishing you control your success.

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