In my post “Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish,” I listed several advantages of self-publishing. Although compelling, there are also downsides. Let’s also look at the downsides of self-publishing.
Consider These Six Downsides of Self-Publishing:
1. Quality is Often Lacking
Traditional publishers put their books through several rounds of editing to produce the best possible product. The temptation of self-publishing is to skip these steps. Even if a professional editor is hired, the chance of them catching everything a traditional publisher would in their multiple rounds of review is slim.
But too often, authors self-edit or tap a friend who, although well-intended, lacks the needed experience. From a production standpoint, there’s no reason for substandard output anymore. But it’s too easy and too tempting to cut corners.
2. Credibility May Be Illusive
Although self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it once did, some people still consider it a second-rate option.
3. Self-Promotion Is Required
Self-published authors are responsible for their own marketing, promotion, and sales. No one else will do it for you.
4. The Author Must Become an Entrepreneur
Self-publishing is a business, requiring an investment of time, effort, and money—all with no promise of a return. It’s risky, and you could lose money.
5. Limited Distribution
Although some distribution options are available, they don’t match the reach of a traditional publisher. Don’t plan on your book is in bookstores.
6. No Advances
Self-publishers must shell out money to publish; advances are not part of the equation. You must spend money ahead of time and then hope to earn it back later and make a profit.
These are the six downsides of self-publishing. Consider them carefully and if you opt to go this route, be sure to avoid them.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.