So it has now been a few weeks since I published my book about my struggle with anxiety and panic disorder, and I wanted to quickly touch on a topic that many are wondering about when deciding to write their first book: should you go with a traditional publishing house or self-publish?
There are pros and cons to either method but I chose to self-publish and here are 5 reasons why:
1. You Are in Control
I have heard stories from other authors in the industry about how they had issues with their agents or the editor at the publishing house they chose to go with. Often times they were asked to change the story, characters or the cover of the book. It's understandable that these things are sometimes necessary when you consider the experience that editors have with stories that will "fly". But even after many of these changes were made, I have heard of authors who still didn't make a success. Some writers actually leave their publisher and go self-publish and end up making a better success. But I think it comes down to what kind of material you are trying to publish, and honestly, the choice really is yours. But I like the fact that I am in control of my story as well as the style of my writing. I am not pressured into writing towards a certain deadline as I can stick to a timeline of my own choosing. I still have my material edited and proof read by professionals from a self-publishing company, so there is no loss of quality.
2. The Cost to Publish is Smaller
The cost to publish is significantly smaller. I won't mention any prices here but I do recommend that you contact some self-publishing houses to find out what kinds of packages they offer. Packages are basically catered according to your budget. So you can start with anything from a basic package with some editing and proof reading or go for premium packages that include things like cover design and even additional rounds of editing for further quality control. You can design your own cover though if you choose and there are tons of templates to choose from to suit your kind of book. I really enjoyed designing the cover for My Anxiety Companion, and I think it is the perfect fit for a book about anxiety and panic disorders. It has a sort of chaotic look to it, which is really how most of us with anxiety feel in our darkest moments. So yes, it definitely is a huge saving, especially if you are writing your first book.
3. Higher Royalties
Generally royalties are higher, so the self-publishing house might take 40% of your sales price, and traditional publishing houses might take up to 85%. You can see this is a huge difference right? You get to keep more of the money that you earned by working hard to write your book. Bear in mind that traditional publishing houses have higher overheads such as printing costs, distribution costs and would have to print quite a few copies in advance to get into book shops. Some traditional publishers do offer 50% royalties on ebooks, so you would need to do some research. But self-publishing still works out less expensive in the end.
4. Self-Publishing is Gaining Popularity
There are a lot of self-publishing houses setting up shop. One of the better known ones (and the one I used), is called CreateSpace, and they are an Amazon company. They offer a wide variety of services to suit different budgets and needs. You may need to approach them to see if they would be interested to publish your kind of book. Some self-publishing houses specialize in certain topics or themes, e.g. Psychology books instead of crime thrillers. There are many self-publishing houses out there that work with specific types of categories of books, so just do a little research on the Internet. I do recommend CreateSpace though as they are very helpful and have excellent customer service. No I am not promoting them nor am I getting any kick backs for mentioning them, I've just personally enjoyed using their company.
5. Freedom to be Creative
Lastly with self-publishing, your book is yours and yours alone. You won't have anyone telling you to change the plot, or trying to change the book's contents to fit their own sales goals. You are free to be creative and add in any content you desire. Remember that your book will still be edited and proofread, and helpful suggestions are made to tighten things up, or to correct grammatical and spelling errors. Even things such as idioms that might make sense in English UK language, but not so much in US language are taken into account and changes for those are recommended to you as well.
Writing and self-publishing My Anxiety Companion has been one of the greatest joys but also one of the most challenging things I have ever done! However, I highly recommend writing and self-publishing your first book. Just write on anything that you have personal experience with and share it with the world. My goal is to use my personal experiences with anxiety and panic disorders to help as many people as possible around the world. And I am already looking forward to writing a second book. I wish you luck with your writing should you wish to pursue it further.