Digital technologies have transformed the way people consume literature. The dwindling market for physical books has been putting a lot of pressure on an already highly competitive industry.
But there are writers who are still willing to hedge their bets to get their stories out there, even without the help of traditional publishers.
If you are into writing short stories and books for children, for instance, you can self-publish a children’s book. Self-publishing has become a popular option over the past few years, with which many authors have been successful. But if you’re considering going this route, it pays to know that the DIY route comes with both perks and challenges. In some cases, traditional publishing is still the best way. Let’s explore why.
The Advantages of Self-publishing
One of the biggest advantages of self-publishing is flexibility in terms of time, expense, and the work itself. Since you’re not tied to any contract, you’ll get full control of everything about your book—from the cover, price, to content. Every decision is yours. Also, most, if not all, of the royalty fee will go straight to your pocket. Self-publishing eliminates the need for an agent and publisher to print, promote, and distribute your book.
Since you’ll be selling copies yourself, you’re also getting rid of middleman fees, which usually go to bookstores. But the biggest draw of self-publishing is efficiency. It’s fairly easy to implement changes. You’ll get to publish your book in no time. And should you feel alone and overburdened, it’s easy to find a community of self-published authors in your area and get the support and guidance you need.
To make up for the limited distribution channel that conventional publishers have, you can attend book fairs or organize events where you can sell your work with other authors. The process can be more challenging and complicated, but you can be sure that your book will be a labor of love.
The Disadvantages of Self-publishing
Self-publishing appears to have many perks. But it also has a handful of disadvantages that can set you back or even prevent you from getting published at all. Distribution and exposure can be quite limited compared to books that go through traditional institutions.
Traditional publishers would also offer a hefty advance and the services of an editor and agent, which self-published authors don’t enjoy. They have to do the grunt work of editing, formatting, and creating the cover art themselves, unless they get independent contractors to do all these at minimal cost and within schedule. Furthermore, self-published books don’t come with the prestige that goes with books published by established names.
Keep in mind that while the children’s book market is lucrative, the competition can be stiff. For your book to make the cut, you need to make sure that it’s worth buying and reading. But, of course, creating a compelling story and visually arresting illustrations is only half the battle. You need to promote the book effectively, too.
If you have the budget for it, hire a professional to do the book marketing for you on a contractual basis. Fortunately, there are a number of businesses dedicated to helping self-published authors accomplish tasks they lack the resources and expertise to pull off on their own. Such companies help authors navigate the world of self-publishing without losing control of their work.