February 2016 Roundtable: Is Self-Publishing Right for You?

Facilitated by Becky Monson

Listen to the audio file:

Pros of Self-Publishing

  • You’re the boss and in control of everything (editing, design, marketing, etc.)
  • The $ is yours. You get paid once a month (more frequently than traditional publishing).
  • You can publish quickly.
  • If you get enough traction/sell enough, you could get picked up by a publisher and be able to call the shots.

Cons of Self-Publishing

  • You’re the boss—easy to procrastinate if you’re not self-driven.
  • You have to do all marketing. (Many authors are introverted, so marketing feels particularly hard.)
  • Getting your name out there can be hard.
  • You take on all monetary risk (e.g., paying for publishing and marketing).
  • It can be difficult to find a high-quality editor, proofreader, designer, etc.

Pros of Traditional Publishing

  • There aren’t any out-of-pocket costs.
  • It’s easier to get into a larger market.
  • You have more opportunities because you’re working with a bigger fish.
  • You might get an advance.

Cons of Traditional Publishing

  • You don’t have control over the design and (sometimes) content of the book.
  • You may have to do as much marketing as you would if you self-published.
  • You earn a smaller amount of money from each book sale.
  • The publisher often owns the rights to your book.

Marketing Self-Published Books

  • To be successful, you need to spend time marketing (try to market every day).
  • Use social media (Facebook and Instagram; Twitter isn’t as effective).
    • Get involved in Facebook groups, particularly author groups (e.g., Clean Indie Reads).
  • BookBub: King of all marketing avenues—the way to get your book in front of thousands of readers; it’s been the key to Becky’s success.
    • The purpose of BookBub isn’t to make money but to get your name out there. But you’ll most likely make money on BookBub.
    • BookBub only accepts about 20% of books; don’t get discouraged if you’re not accepted first time.
    • If your book isn’t accepted, look at your cover; BookBub is picky about covers.
    • Other options besides BookBub: ENT and Pixel of Ink.
  • Don’t shy away from giving away books for free. Giving away books gets your name out there.
  • People need to see your book about 7 time before they’ll buy.
  • Facebook ads: $60/month goes a long way. (Learn more about setting up Facebook ads.)
  • Google ads is something to consider later on.
  • You need a website.
    • A blog is important.
      • A post could go viral, which will lead to sales.
      • See what other people are writing about.
      • Google “blog prompts” for ideas.
    • Make it look professional (not self-published).
    • Look at other authors’ sites to see what you like/don’t like.
    • Get people’s opinions about your site. How can it be improved?
  • Email newsletter: Send one every month or so; sending a newsletter leads to more sales.
  • Giveaways—gets your name out there.
    • Goodreads: Give away physical books.
    • Amazon: Give your books and related items.
    • Facebook: Give your books and related items.
    • Cross-promote with other authors who write in the same genre.
  • Get reviews on Amazon and Goodreads—reviews sell books! The more reviews you have, the more people will see your book.
    • Try to get reviews before publishing your book (through sharing advance copies).
    • Work with a company that finds reviewers.
    • Go on a blog tour.

Printers for Self-Publishing

  • The biggest are CreateSpace and IngramSpark.
  • IngramSpark gets your book catalogued, and it can get into brick-and-mortar stores.
  • CreateSpace has improved in quality and customer service.


To read the Twitter summary of the February Roundtable, visit https://storify.com/LDSPPA/february-roundtable-self-publishing.