Self-aware authors know they're taking on a challenge when they choose to self-publish a book, a rewarding and exciting challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. With advancements in technology and opportunity, and a lessening of the bias against self-publishing, every author now has a chance to succeed in the publishing space doing it on their own.
Before diving into the various benefits of self-publishing, let's start by addressing some common myths. There are several common misconceptions about the ins-and-outs of self-publishing. Authors often assume that taking on the responsibilities of publishing will be more trouble than it’s worth. Taking advantage of publishing platforms ensures writers have control over the entire publishing process, including inventory and book distribution. If you’re considering self-publishing, we’ve outlined three common myths and the truths behind them.
- Printing Books is Expensive
- Self-Publishing Won't Get the Book to the Masses
- Self-Publishing Makes Inventory the Author's Responsibility
Myth #1: Printing Books is Expensive
The cost of printing is often thought to be an expensive drawback to independent publishing, but a reliable publishing service can limit this by allowing you some control of your pricing and publishing options.
For most authors looking to self-publish a book, there is a looming fear that they won’t be able to afford to have their book printed if the book isn't guaranteed to sell. In the past, this was often the case due to expensive offset printing methods and strictly enforced copy minimums. Today, there is print on demand.
Instead of being forced to pay for 500 copies of your book in advance, you can now print only what you sell. This means lower overhead cost, no storage fees, and no risk of being stuck with inventory you won't necessarily sell.
Myth #2: Self-Publishing Won’t Get the Book to the Masses
There is a stigma that a self-published book won’t travel farther than a writer’s personal bookshelf or his or her mother’s mantel. This is another myth that should be put to rest in today’s indie publishing landscape.
With book distribution opportunities, like those provided by IngramSpark, self-published books have the same distribution opportunities as traditionally published books. We share self-published titles with our over 39,000 retail partners (including Barnes & Noble and your local independent bookstore) and with major online retailers (including Amazon, Apple, and Kobo). And the distribution isn't limited to just the United States either; it's global book distribution. Several authors are surprised when they see sales outside of their home country, which reiterates the need to think internationally and not limit your book's distribution.
This book distribution is for both print books and ebooks, so no matter your format, it's simply untrue that when you self-publish a book, it's not going to be shared.
Myth #3: Self-Publishing Makes Inventory the Author’s Responsibility
It’s easy to think that since you’re in charge of publishing your own book, you’d also be in charge of making sure you have adequate inventory to sell to all of your readers. A good printing and distribution service affords authors with market access the peace of mind that their printing and shipping are taken care of so that they can focus on more exciting things like writing their next book and working on their book marketing strategy.
Instead of falling prey to the dark cloud of myths swirling around, find out how easy and affordable self-publishing really is. Don’t let your dreams be squandered due to misinformation.
Now that we've dispelled some common self-publishing myths—let's talk about those benefits!
- No Gatekeepers, Larger Margins
- Equal Quality and Distribution
Benefit #1: No Gatekeepers, Larger Margins
If you have content that you believe there’s a market for and will achieve sales, you’re perfectly capable of transforming that content into a salable product. With all of the self-publishing options available, the only one standing between you and your published book is you.
With self-publishing there are no literary agents to pitch to who reject books due to the sheer volume of manuscripts they receive and the specificity of the books they’re looking for. If they accept them, however, there’s a second round of gatekeepers who are even pickier than the first, the traditional publishers. In order to garner interest from a traditional publisher, you must have a significant author platform and in many cases, commercial or mass appeal.
If your book makes it through the traditional publication process as you wrote it (meaning you’re the most brilliant author there ever was), you’ll still be seeing less of the compensation from sales than the publishing house. Traditional publishers add tremendous value to the books on their lists and deserve the paycheck. Publishing is their business, and they wouldn’t still be in business if they didn’t understand what sells and how. But making it on their lists can be difficult and may require you to hand over control, as well as some of your earnings.
Benefit #2: Equal Quality and Distribution
With IngramSpark, you can achieve a physical product (whether print book or ebook) with the same quality standards that the publishing industry expects and that are utilized by traditional publishers, meaning your print book has the same binding, trim sizes, paper weights, return status, wholesale discount, and beyond as books created by traditional publishers. As we mentioned above, IngramSpark also offers you global book distribution options that traditional publishers receive, making your title available to over 39,000 retailers and libraries worldwide. So the playing field has been leveled in quality and availability. Boom. Quality and distribution done.
Necessary for sales? Yes.
All you need? Absolutely not.
Just because you're equal to the traditional publishers in quality and distribution, there's still that part they have that you may not: the business know-how. Having a quality book to make available isn’t the only thing that sells books. Of course, you can’t have sales without a product—and the industry can’t take you seriously without a professional product, but it’s the decisions you make and effort you put forth that actually sells your books. Decisions you're perfectly capable of making and effort you’re more than equipped to exert...with the right resources.
Benefit #3: Resources
There's a wealth of resources available to today's self-publishers. IngramSpark understands that you need more than a publishing platform that allows you to publish, print, and distribute your work, because we know that’s not all it takes for you to be successful. We want you to be the most informed self-publisher you can be, which is why we provide publisher education tools to help get you there. You never know what will make the difference for your book in particular, so we try to provide everything we can and let you pick what’s right for you and your book. Here’s what we offer to help you succeed:
- Free online publishing courses in our IngramSpark Academy
- Free downloadable guides on essential publishing topics
- Calculators to help you make decisions on formatting and pricing your book and understanding your compensation
- Blog posts two times per week on unlimited publishing topics to help you become more informed
- Podcast episodes to keep you up-to-date on publishing trends, featuring interviews with publishing experts
- Discounts with industry experts in several fields including editing, book design, book marketing, and publicity, to help you in the aspects of publishing in which you aren’t already an expert
- A free 3-month trial with the Independent Book Publishers Association
We are more than a publishing platform that allows you to print and distribute your work, because we know that’s not all it takes for successful self-publishing in today's market. We’ve leveled the playing field and will always continue to make advancements to better serve you so that you can focus on writing your book and using your resources to make it the best it can be.