In my post “Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish,” I listed several advantages of self-publishing. Although compelling, there are also downsides. Consider these six items:
1) Quality is Often Lacking: Traditional publishers put their books through several rounds of editing to produce the best possible product. The temptation of self-publishing is to skip these steps. Even if a professional editor is hired, the chance of them catching everything a traditional publisher would in their multiple rounds of review is slim. But too often, authors self-edit or tap a friend who, although well-intended, lacks the needed experience. From a production standpoint, there’s no reason for substandard output anymore. But it’s too easy and too tempting to cut corners.
2) Credibility May be Illusive: Although self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it once did, some people still consider it a second-rate option.
3) Self-Promotion is Required: Self-published authors are responsible for their own marketing, promotion, and sales. No one else will do it for you.Self-published authors (indie authors) must be entrepreneurs if they hope to be successful. Click To Tweet
4) The Author Must Become an Entrepreneur: Self-publishing is a business, requiring an investment of time, effort, and money—all with no promise of a return. It’s risky, and you could lose money.
5) Limited Distribution: Although some distribution options are available, they don’t match the reach of a traditional publisher. Don’t plan on your book being in bookstores.
6) No Advances: Self-publishers must shell out money to publish; advances are not part of the equation. You must spend money ahead of time and then hope to earn it back later and make a profit.