The most basic definition of self-publishing is the publication of a work that is paid for entirely by the author. This is as opposed to traditional publishing, in which many publishing costs like editing and cover design are taken care of by the company.
There are two different ways to go about self-publishing: independently or through a self-publishing company.
- Independent self-publishing – The author is in charge of the entire publication process. They either complete all of the tasks themselves, including editing, design, and marketing, or they hire freelancers to do the work for them. The author is in complete control of the project.
- Self–publishing company – The author pays a company to publish their book for them. The entire publication process is taken care of by the company. This is still considered self-publishing because the author provides all funding for the project.
When self-publishing, the author has more control over the project. Decisions are made based on the author’s desires rather than what the publishing company wants. Even when working with a self-publishing company, the author gets much more of a say in decision-making than with a traditional publishing company.
Self-publishing also allows authors to get their work published sooner. Authors can self-publish whenever they want as long as they have the finances. When publishing traditionally, the timeline is determined by the company, and it is usually a years-long process. Authors appreciate the fast turnover that they can achieve with self-publishing.
Effects on Publishing Industry
The rise in self-publishing is taking business away from traditional publishing companies. Many authors are choosing to self-publish because it is faster and gives them more control. Because so many authors are publishing their own books, publishing companies are struggling to draw in enough business to stay afloat.
Self-published books also sell for much lower prices than traditionally published books. Some self-published authors even give away their books for free just to gain publicity. Traditional publishing companies are having trouble keeping up with the increasingly low book prices.
However, the low prices of self-published books allow more readers to buy books. The lowered prices have resulted in an increase in overall book sales. Ultimately, self-publishing has helped the publishing industry as a whole by promoting reading and increasing book sales.
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Lauren Schultz is a sophomore English major at Texas Christian University. She hopes to pursue a career in children’s book publishing in order to pass on a love of reading to the next generation.