Self-publishing is not right for everyone (neither is traditional publishing). There are many cons associated with self-published books:
- No barrier to entry: Meaning anybody willing to pay can get published (whether the work is good or not).
- Negative stigma: Because there is no barrier to entry often times the editorial, print, and design of self-published books are of poor quality. As such, many retailers won't shelve self-published books and many media outlets won't cover/review them.
- Poor distribution: A printed book is worthless if you can't get it out into the retail chain. Often self-publishers don't have the contacts, reputation, or resources to effectively distribute their books.
- Cost: No advances here, the author foots the bill on the entire project as well as serving as project manager and marketer
- Creative control: You can say how it looks, what it says, and where it goes.
- Ownership: You're not selling your rights to a publisher, so you get to keep full ownership of your material.
- Time to market: traditional publishing can take years to get a book to market, whereas most self-published books can get to market in a matter of months.
- Higher returns: There is no one else to pay but you, so you get to keep the money you earn on the back end.
- No ownership or creative control: You sell your rights to the work, and often times your rights to final say in cover design and other elements.
- Time to market: As stated earlier, it can take years to traditionally publish a work.
- Barrier to entry: You have to go through an agent, which also adds time to the publishing schedule (and another mouth to feed).
- Small royalties: Most authors never earn back their advances, much less start earning royalties (if you think you can get rich as an author, you're in the wrong industry).
- Credibility: Traditionally published books are thoroughly vetted, so retailers and media know they are good quality.
- Strong distribution: Traditional publishers have established national distribution to all the major outlets.
- Small up front costs: You're still responsible for your marketing, but here you're not expected to make any other investment and often times you do receive an advance (though those are shrinking).
To learn more about your publishing options, read this white paper.