Advantages and Disadvantages of being an Authopublisher (self publisher)

Self publishing (or authopublishing) is an option author may decide to take when they don’t have time to wait 36 months to get their work out. He may also decide to authopublish when he is tired of working through the red tape because he is still new, haven’t a following or his book doesn’t fit into his immediate profile and direction.

An authopublisher will oversee the entire process from its conception all the way to marketing the book when it is printed. They wear all the hats that publishing needs; writing, editor, proofreader, typesetter, printer, distributor, marketer, and promoter. They don’t necessary have to do all of it themselves but they may outsource the work to other individuals or companies. So, the authopublisher becomes a publisher in his own right of his own work.

It is a clear entrepreneurial enterprise because the authopublisher takes all of the risk but will reap all the rewards coming from it. He has therefore the freedom to make the decisions and market his book in conventional or unconventional ways, be it selling door-to-door, or going through a specialist distributor. In the end, he is responsible for your books success or failure.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of authopublishing.

Benefits of being an Authopublisher

  • Through authopublishing, you are able to get a book into the marketplace in a flash (sign up for my ‘flash publish report that will be released soon). Depending on the speed in which you work you can publish your book in 14 days. Going though conventional publishing you may wait 12-18 months after your book proposal has been accepted.
  • Authopublishing allows the self-publisher to execute his creative ways to market his is book to focused market. He has the control and freedom to do as he seems fit.
  • As an authopublisher, publishing your book yourself offers you great income potential. You can make upward from 35% depending on your cost opposite of the 5-8% royalties publishing companies offer you
  • Depending on the success of your book you can expand your earning potential by selling international and digital right to your book. You own the rights to your book, where going through a publisher will give them the rights until either the contract expires or your book doesn’t sell anymore. Owning the rights to your book you can reach many different markets and with 6 billion people in the world, there is unlimited potential for your book.
  • The responsibility to keep the book on shelves hangs on you. You may do this through hiring a distributor. With so many possibilities offered through the internet there is no reason your book cannot stay on the shelf less than 3 years.
  • If you own the rights to your manuscript you retain creative control deciding on cover design, title, printing, marketing, and all other areas of production and distribution. This is of course not possible through conventional publishing where your rights are virtually nothing.
  • Being an authopublisher you can go wild and sell in different locations, libraries, and websites, on speaking engagements, and retail and corporate outlets. The world is your oyster.
  • Authopublishing offers you the opportunity to say what you want in whichever way you want, within professional confines of course. You may also decide to generate leads by promoting additional products or services.
  • You also have the opportunity to pre-sell your books to take advantage of covering your full costs before the first sale, thus taking the pressure of yourself to ‘perform’. If you are free from financial strain you can be free to be creative and enjoy publishing.
  • Every experience you have added to your expertise as you grow wiser and more experienced. These are things no-one can take away or steal from you.

Disadvantages of being an Authopublisher

  • According to the quantity of your first print, you will have to incur all of the initial cost of printing, designing and distribution. The bright side of funding the project is that you receive all the financial gain.
  • It may be difficult to do if you don’t have things like negotiation skills, the ability to communicate costing you money in the end. You may not have the necessary experience or expertise in the publishing process and therefore may need to hire professionals to do the work on your behalf.
  • You take a great risk by authopublishing by financing the entire project with no guarantees or promise of reward. Therefore the ability to manage finances is crucial.
  • There is absolutely no respect for the self-publisher as he is not deemed to be in the same league as conventional publishers. Their prestige stands like a mountain over the self-publishers effort and dedication.
  • It could eat a chunk of your time, especially if it is your first time and you’re still learning the ropes. Questions you will have to ask are if you will outsource or handle every aspect yourself depending on how much time you have.
  • There are no guarantees that you will be able to distribute your book which will greatly influence sales and customer service. Along with this you will need warehousing and storage. Options are to store your product in your house or get someone to do it on your behalf.

The main reason for you to self-publish your book as an authopublisher is because the industry works like banks do. You have to share your market research in your book proposal and commit to buying at least 100 copies of your book as an ‘investment’ that will show you can take responsibility for your book.

Your Turn.

My question is: if this is your responsibility, then why can you not do it yourself?

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About Ivin Viljoen

Ivin Viljoen is the Editor-in-Chief of Authopublisher, an award winning blogger and recent father of a beautiful baby boy.

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35 Responses to “Advantages and Disadvantages of being an Authopublisher (self publisher)”

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  25. Wow, coming from THAT perspective it DOES make sense, business sense. Thanks a ton for your contributions today :)

  26. Ivin,

    More than anything I think it’s just aimed at business efficiency. Having owned a small business for 20 years, I understand the complexities of maintaining inventory and accounts payable records. It’s much simpler to have a few distributors than to have to review catalogs/books and place orders with hundreds or thousands of individual authors. It’s much easier to have one statement of account and pay for hundreds or thousands of books rather than having hundreds or thousands of individual accounts to maintain and small checks to cut. It’s much more efficient to receive on order with hundreds or thousands of books than to deal with hundreds or thousands of individual shipments of one or a few books each. All the extra work to deal with individuals rather than a few large companies increases the overhead cost of doing business for the bookstore, making their profit margins smaller. Since all businesses are in business to make money, it makes sense for them to operate in the way that will make them the most money.

    I don’t attribute any conspiratorial motives to bookstores. As I said, I know what a struggle it is to keep a business going, and I recognize that bookstores (and all businesses) stay afloat only by keeping expenses down.
    Lillie Ammann recently posted..International Literacy Day 2010My Profile

  27. Yes, it seems like the corporates want to force authors to go through big publishing houses? Do you think it’s a way to ensure quality of the books or perhaps forming part of a framework?

  28. Many bookstores will host a booksigning for a local author. Most of the large national chains in the US require that the book be in their system through a distributor so the store can order. Sometimes, though, they will allow the author to bring books on consignment. The store sells the books from the author’s inventory and pays at the end of the signing for books sold. However, that varies from store to store. A self-pubbed author will usually have better response from local indie bookstores than from the big chains where the local store manager doesn’t have much flexibility and all decisions are made at the corporate office.
    Lillie Ammann recently posted..International Literacy Day 2010My Profile

  29. Ah, I get you. True. But would it be impossible to approach bookstores and do a booksigning, with posters in the area. Won’t they commit to carrying your book, even if it’s for a promotional period.

    Remember, I am not talking about nationwide distribution of a self publishers book, but rather him focusing on marketing in individual stores. Thus, taking up to three years exhausting all marketing avenues for a specific niche/title?

  30. Ivin,

    Even if a self-published author can get his or her books into selected bookstores, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. To get into the large chains, the book has to be carried by a distributor; those huge companies will not establish individual accounts with self-published authors. But if the author puts forth the effort to get into bookstores, he is still competing against thousands of other books that are better promoted from companies and writers that are more recognizable to buyers.

    On the other hand, if the author focuses on getting his or her books into unusual venues where his audience gathers, he will probably see much better results. For example, one of my clients focuses his marketing efforts on genealogical and historical societies interested in the time period and geographic area of his historical novels. Another who writes about prehistoric Indians participates in American Indian powwows, where the audience is interested in that subject. A Christian writer speaks to churches and religious schools, and a motivational speaker sells books at her speaking engagements. A novelist whose main character has a hobby of quilting sells her books in shops that cater to quilting hobbyists. All of these people sell far more books through these venues than they would be likely to sell in bookstores.

    My point isn’t that it’s impossible to get into bookstores but that it’s most effective to be creative and look for where your audience is and reach them there.
    Lillie Ammann recently posted..International Literacy Day 2010My Profile

  31. Ivin,

    This is a good analysis of the pros and cons of self-publishing. Elaborating on your last point in disadvantages about the distribution issue. Self-publishers needto be creative in finding ways to market and distribute their books as self-published books are seldom carried in bookstores.
    Lillie Ammann recently posted..International Literacy Day 2010My Profile

    • @Lillie Ammann, Thank you for your contribution. I believe self-published book CAN be carried in bookstores if you commit to putting in the work: book signings, posters, speaking engagements, community work etc. Without the effort no-one will be interested to carry a book. Simply because the big publishers throw a lot of ad dough at their releases.

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