• Elizabeth Hartl

Is Self-Publishing A Good Idea?

Traditional publishing versus self-publishing; Which is easier, which will give your book more exposure, and which is simply better? These questions have been asked to death since self-publishing became a thing. Self-publishing ticked all of those boxes and you didn't have to go through a middle man to see your work in print. However, like the dot-com bubble of the 2000s, it looks like the e-book bubble has burst. With e-book sales flat and the market saturated, is self-publishing even worth it?

I got into the self-publishing market in 2008 with CreateSpace. Remember them? Yeah. I published my first book on CreateSpace. I had just graduated college and thought I knew my shit. All of the publishers who rejected me, they had no idea what they were talking about. CreateSpace turned out to be a good thing for me. My book started selling, and now for better or for worse, that is the book that is most closely linked with my name. Because this success was easy, I self-published my second book on Amazon. Self-publishing was now my thing and I never tried for another traditional publisher again.

Everyone always told me that to get anywhere in this industry, you have to find an agent and a traditional publisher, but this was not my truth. What are the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing? I'm just going to get right into it and break it down.

Here's the bottom line: If you haven't considered traditional publishing, now would be a good time to start looking into it. Although the e-book market is selling a record amount of units, those sales come mostly from publishers and independent authors offering their e-books for $1.00 or less. When these books sell on Amazon, their units sold increases and they get more exposure in searches. Others see this and list their e-books for $1.00 or less. This creates a race to the bottom where no one gets exposure and no one gets paid.

The customer then becomes inundated with e-books, some good and some bad, some from serious authors and some who think that publishing a book is a good way to make quick cash. The customer becomes more selective because, really, who wants to waste their time on a bad book? Amazon customers are less likely to take a chance on a first-time author's e-book because it's likely that customer has been burned by a bad book from someone who just wanted to make a quick buck. For the first-time author, or even a good author who has several books self-published but can't get sales, traditional publishing would be a sound decision.

Traditional publishing doesn't have this issue. Because this type of publishing is so selective, if your book is chosen from the slush pile, you can be sure your work won't be caught up in any race to the bottom. There is a lot more work to be done and a lot more patience to be had if you choose the traditional-publishing route, but I can assure you that you will gain more exposure and sales over time than with self-publishing as it stands.

For this article, I found "The Ebook Industry News Feed" helpful.


Elizabeth Edits

Chicago, Illinois, USA

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

©2019 by Elizabeth Hartl. Proudly created with