Drawbacks to Self-Publishing

Drawbacks to Self-Publishing



Are there any drawbacks to self-publishing?

When working with mainstream publishers you write the book and the publisher controls everything: the editing, book design and formatting, ISBN, cover design, and publicity.

These days, though, the author has to be very involved with the marketing. The publisher handles the distribution and gets your book into bookshops and libraries. You wait for your royalties.

Benefits of a mainstream publisher


The benefits of producing a book with a mainstream publisher are:

  • the prestige you get
  • there is nothing upfront to pay
  • publisher takes care of everything
  • all being well, your book will be successfully distributed


  • you have to get accepted by a publisher
  • the publishing process is time consuming
  • there are complicated contracts
  • low royalty rates, and
  • limited creative control


With self-publishing you are the one in control. You are the publisher.

It’s your responsibility to get your book edited, to get an ISBN, prepare the manuscript for publication, the cover design, the formatting, and the marketing.


The upfront costs of doing your own publishing are higher.

You will pay for services like editing, cover design and formatting. With traditional publishing these services are done by the publisher but when you self-publish the upfront costs rest with you – the author/publisher.

Team of professionals


team of professionals

When self-publishing you may need to create your own team of professionals to handle those aspects of publishing that you find hard, too difficult, or that you don’t want to do.

If your market is bookshops and libraries you will need to choose a platform like IngramSpark to get your book into libraries and bookstores. IngramSpark is set up to provide trade discounts and to work in with bookshops and libraries.  This is not so easy with Amazon.

The choice is yours. If you go with a mainstream publisher – congratulations!

The drawback to self-publishing is that you have to do all the work of publishing yourself. If you don’t want to do it all yourself you will need to pay to get a team of people to help you do it.

On the one hand this could be seen as a drawback or a disadvantage. On the other hand, you may like the challenge of having your own publishing house. The benefits are:

  • enjoying the freedom of creative control, 
  • staying away from complicated contracts, 
  • outsourcing the tasks you cannot do yourself 
  • building up your own team of professionals, and 
  • having the potential to make more money.


Marji Hill

Author and Coach


Join Facebook Group: Fast Self-Publishing Online


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