Experience as they say is the best teacher. And we have years of experience from both the traditional and self-publishing industry. In this article, we give you ten reasons why you should not consider self-publishing as an option – well, we are just saying don’t do it:
- Marketing troubles
Marketing tops our list because many people write to sell. You have shopped around for a traditional publisher and all you have received is negative or no feedback. So you decide to take matters into your hands and self-publish. Be ready for the legwork. It means you have to directly sell your book. We haven’t found a bookshop that stocks self-published books unless the author is of celebrity status. Bookshops do not do publicity for a specific book, the publisher does. Bookshops stock books which have a ready market as they are averse to dead stock.
Publishers have a team dedicated to marketing and moving products off the shelves. When they create demand, bookshops take up their products. If the product doesn’t pick, even if it is from a huge and historical publisher like Random House, bookshops will not stock it.
- You foot all costs
Writing a script is just the beginning of the production process. Have you asked yourself why many publishers give a royalty of ten percent or lower? Because they are footing all the costs. Once you take the self-publishing route you carry the financial burden which includes:
- a detailed editing process
- a detailed design process
- printing costs
- marketing costs.
It means you have to find the appropriate editor for your script. Excellent editors don’t come cheap, but if you can afford them they will do a decent job. You also have to find an excellent designer to do the inside plus the cover designs, or you can use two different designers. That is if you can afford. Then you have to shop around for a printer that will produce an excellent product. Customers can only pay for excellent products. And finally hit the road to both publicise and sell the book. If you are lucky, a few of your friends will buy your book on credit. Selling 100 copies is not an easy task. Most established publishers sell just a few hundred copies in a whole year.
- Poor quality products
As mentioned above, finding excellent editors and designers costs a substantial fortune. There is a saying that you only get what you pay for. If the editing is poor, and the design horrendous, what do you expect at the end? Sell thousands of copies? Sometimes we’ve come across books that have typos on the blurb and even the front cover. Many readers complain about the quality of products on free publishing platforms such as Amazon, Lulu, and Smashwords.
In fact, if you are a new author, just the mention of the publisher may catapult you to the top. Once the customer sees your material is self-published they tend to have second thoughts on whether they should try it out. But if you have invested in quality preproduction you may find some luck through reviews and references.
- Poor sales
Probably you say, I will just publish on Amazon and sell hundreds of copies across the world. No boundaries. A little research shows that even if you did digital print only, the chances of selling your first copy are so minimal. You are competing in a world with millions of similar products, only that the other products are probably of superior quality (yes, you are competing with traditional publishing houses that have their digital products on the same platforms.) After one year and you have sold probably ten or twenty copies at $2 each, you give up writing.
- No time to write
Lastly, if you are a writer, you should probably be writing. If you did all the above yourself you will never write a follow up book. It takes time and effort to do all these things.