It’s a great question. In this day and age, do you need a publisher, or should you self publish?
Your uncle’s friend’s nephew’s sister can do all the design for you, right? Well, maybe. Unless they are a qualified graphic designer, with skills in book production, not so fast.
The bottom line is that there are pros and cons for both, and there is not one hard and fast rule for every author. What are you trying to achieve? Are you looking for credibility within a market or industry? Then a publisher is a great idea, as their powerful brand on your book makes you look like more of an expert. Their trusted imprint on your book can open doors for you that you cannot open yourself.
Are you wanting to maximize the amount of money you can make off every copy? Then you should self publish, as you’ll naturally make more money per unit in not having to share this with a publisher.
In a world where it seems like anyone can put a book together for you, that may appear the case from the outside, but if you dig a little deeper, you will soon find that the varying degrees of quality could cause you a lot of heartache.
For example, Amazon’s CreateSpace might be free, but have you ever looked at the quality of the books they produce? In many cases, they are average at best, and they damage books in so many ways. Those ugly covers could also undo all it is you’re trying to achieve, too. You’re trying to build a name and reputation. You’re wanting credibility. But yet, you then produce a book at the lowest level, which can undo all of this in an instant.
Remember, a book is a masterpiece that is kept for decades. These are not magazines that are kept for months, but something that people cherish and archive. Why is it that print books are holding up so well in a largely digital market? It is because books are special. But what makes them special? It is the level of care and quality in producing them that makes this the case. Another example is high quality journals (versus cheap versions you can buy for next to nothing at an office supply store).
The self publishing world is producing a raft of low-level, low quality books that, while it does not risk the allure of printed books in general, certainly makes it harder for you to help your book take you places if your quality is inferior.
As such, if it’s self publishing you’re after, then that is great, but make sure you partner with a company that can steer you through the process, as well as ensure your book is of the highest standard. We have a team of amazingly talented designers who know books. The books produced for both our publishing house authors and our self published authors are all done by this team.
So if you’re going to self publish, that is fine, but don’t skimp on quality. While you might make 100% of the sales, 100% of nothing doesn’t work out to be that much…