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Is Self-Publishing Your Book Right For You?

I am a traveler, and like many people on this site, I write about it.

That is to say, I don’t blog about my trips, but instead have written a book, Time Zones, Containers and Three Square Meals a Day [1], about a few particular journeys I made while working on a container ship.

Now that my manuscript is edited and proofread, it is ready to be seen by the world, but getting it ‘out there’ is the big challenge.

As the writer of a book you have two options to get your book published:

  1. Find a publisher (but that is difficult and might take years) or
  2. Self-publish (which is a lot of work, but keeps you in control).

I chose the second option, self-publishing, for all my three books (including the last one about the container ships).

Self-publishing comes in two forms, using a traditional printer and using Print on demand (POD). To get my first two books [2] published, I used a traditional printer.

Using a traditional printer:

    Pros:

  • Cheaper printing prices, especially with a larger print run
  • Instant stock
    Cons:

  • Pay upfront for the entire print run
  • Need room to stock a large amount of books.

My biggest problem with self-publishing via a traditional printer was generating enough money to pay for the entire print run. I had to borrow money, without knowing if I would ever sell the books and be able to pay back what I owed.

Therefore, when I was ready to publish my container ship book, I decided to give Print on demand a go.

Using POD:

    Pros:

  • Not paying a large amount of money upfront
  • Not being stuck with loads of unsold books in the spare bedroom
  • Option of having the book sold as ebook as well
    Cons:

  • Actual print costs are higher, so less profit,
  • Not having instant stock, making delivery times longer

At the moment, I am still at the beginning of my experiences with POD.

I was however a bit surprised when I realized that printing one copy was going to be quite expensive. So, unless the book is sold at a much higher price, I don’t make much profit. But selling at a higher price might of course stop people from buying the book in the first place…

It’s up to you which form of self-publishing to chose, when you decide to ‘go it alone’. Keep in mind, however, that self-publishing still requires you to do your own marketing and possibly your own distribution.

It is therefore not for the fainthearted, but even so, I can recommend it.

~ Maria

Have you self-published? Share your experience!

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