Why Should I Self-Publish?

Monday, April 09, 2018

There are many reasons an author might decide to self-publish instead of pursuing traditional publishing, beyond the facts that the barrier to entry is much lower and the opportunities for print quality and book distribution are level. Here are a few answers to the question: Why should I self-publish?

More Creative Control

A self-publishing author should still work with a professional editor, but they have the final say on content. They can also make decisions about their book cover design, interior design, etc. While a traditional publishing house may be consultative to varying degrees, they will typically have the final say on whether a chapter stays or goes and what is featured on your book's front cover.

Ownership of Intellectual Property

Some self-publishing options allow you to keep all ownership of your content, meaning you can shop around for publishing and book distribution after publication. IngramSpark allows authors to retain complete control over their books. You can decide to make it available in various formats (ebook, paperback, and hardcover). You can decide to distribute it globally to reach more readers. You determine the price, trim size, and copy that displays to retailers, libraries, and consumers. It's your content and you decide what you do with it and how it's presented to the world. 

Learn Why It's Important to Own Your Own ISBN

Set Your Own Price and Earnings

When self-publishing, you make the decisions on how much to charge people for your book, and how much of a discount to provide to wholesalers and retailers. When publishing independently, you retain a greater profit margin on each book sold than you would in traditional publishing. This is because all profits are going directly to you, rather than paying for the work that the publisher has done in preparing your book for print. You don't share profits with a literary agent or the publisher; you subtract the cost to print and ship the book (if it's a print book) and the discount you offered to wholesalers and retailers, and the rest is yours.

Use IngramSpark's Publisher Compensation Calculator to See What You Could Earn Per Book Sale

Create Your Own Book Marketing Plan

You remain in control of your book marketing plan and how your book is communicated to retailers, libraries, and consumers worldwide. When self-publishing, you can do as much or as little as you'd like, make it work around your schedule, use your own contacts, and target your audience in a personal way. Book marketing can be hard work, but traditional publishing houses will often ask new authors to do a lot of the work (such as building a fanbase) themselves anyway. Book marketing budgets at traditional publishing houses can be fairly small and a lot of the efforts end up being grassroots and fall to the author directly. Unless you're a BIG author with genuine name recognition, you probably can't count on a substantial book marketing budget from a traditional publishing house.


With the advanced technology associated with print-on-demand publishing, you can change your files even when your book is already in print. Print on demand prints books as they're ordered so that you don't have to maintain any unsold inventory. So if you want to update your book's cover with a new positive review or add an appendix or fix typos you've spotted in your book's interior, you can make these changes and the next printed copy will reflect that change (without paying for a new large print run and wasting any unsold copies sitting in a warehouse somewhere with the original cover or interior). You can also make changes to the price of your book if you'd like to run a price promotion. Or you can update your book metadata whenever you choose to reflect changes in the marketplace or pop culture references that are becoming highly searched. The options are endless and you don't need to ask anyone for their permission. As the publisher of your book, you decide!

It's important to remember that using one method does not lock you into that method forever. Plenty of authors publish themselves and are then picked up by a literary agent or traditional publisher, and others have left their traditional publisher to publish their own work. Several authors opt to do both, publishing some of their work via traditional publishing but also publishing different projects themselves.

Also remember that independent publishing means that all the work of the traditional publisher falls to the author, and many authors will need to invest in professional help (whether from book editors, book designers, website professionals, or book marketers and publicists). IngramSpark has relationships with several experts in the publishing industry who offer special discounts to IngramSpark publishers, so be sure to check them out to help get your publishing started off on the right foot.


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IngramSpark Staff

Hi there! It's your friendly IngramSpark staff here, happily sharing a wealth of publishing knowledge with people from all walks of the self-publishing biz.