Many authors today wonder if they should self-publish their book instead of shopping it around to an agent or trying to obtain a traditional publishing contract. It pays to give this some thought, because self-publishing doesn’t make sense for every author or book. Here are some points to consider when making your decision.

Self-Publishing is a Business

You have two choices when you self-publish: you can start your own small publishing house or go to a print-on-demand or vanity press. Either way, you will essentially be running a small business once you decide to self-publish. This means you’ll be involved with the money aspects of publishing, which include pricing, merchant discounts, and distributor payment. If you’re comfortable making these types of business decisions, self-publishing may work for you.

Having an Author Platform

It takes a lot to sell books these days because the competition is so very high, so self-published authors need to develop a following of people who are interested in what they have to say. Often authors who self-publish have popular online columns, blogs, or radio shows. This includes establishing a brand, getting an online presence, and having a means to actively promote your books and yourself. It can be a lot of work, but self-publishers enjoy this challenge.

Writing an Extremely Timely Book

Getting a traditional book contract takes time, sometimes up to two years. It may take several months or a year to get an agent and secure a publishing deal. Then, it takes time to copy edit, set up the book, design the cover, and determine a marketing plan, which could add another year onto the process. If your book is of a timely nature, self-publishing may be a viable outlet for you. With self-publishing you can get a book to market in just months.

Writing a Nonfiction Book

It’s possible to self-publish fiction books and poetry, of course, but many authors have an easier time self-publishing their nonfiction works. If an author has a platform, nonfiction can net them a higher per book royalty than he would have otherwise received with a traditional book contract. Authors who self-publish need to be well-versed in formatting their manuscript to be published in book form, marketing their work, pricing their book, and getting the book into the hands of readers. They also need to hire someone to create a book cover and to edit their book. All of this requires knowledge of the business end of publishing. If you’re willing to learn all about the publishing business, then self-publishing could be right for you.