Authors share thoughts on self-publishing

Self-publishing gets your book out there much faster

So you’ve put the final full stop on the last sentence of your first novel. What a mammoth task that was. Now you are ready to get that masterpiece published so that your reading market can experience your well-crafted creativity.

Two questions confront you: “Should I self publish or go the traditional publishing route?”

As with all things there are pros and cons in each case.


“It’s up to you to get your book into bookstores and onto shelves,” says Tanya Haffern, author of Escaping Corporate Bondage. “You have to make the choice between control vs exposure.” “However, there is the risk of putting out a low quality product and it’s up to you to make sure this does not happen.

With self -publishing you have control over the look and feel of the book and once its printed, distribution is in your hands.

With traditional publishing, marketing and distribution is done for you. Self-publishing also gives you the satisfaction of seeing your book in published form. “The cover design is critical for the book’s success,” Haffern insists.

Some assistance

“I use a reputable company who assist with everything other than writing, editing and proofreading,” says awarding winning author Raashida Kahn. “This includes, design, layout, printing, getting an ISBN number, creating the e-book and uploading it to Amazon.” They are also responsible for the design of any invitations and marketing posters for social media, etc. “Once the story is written, editing with a professional editor begins, as many as five versions, each time with a detailed brief  that both parties agree to,” says Kahn.

Author networks

“Then the really tough work begins marketing and promotion on social media and as many other channels as you can reach. Networking with other indie author networks is very important, “Kahn adds.

Kahn says, 10 copies (Author Review Copies ) should be handed to reputable people such as journalists, book club members and book enthusiasts to read the book and share reviews. “Try promote and market to book fairs and events as well, but this is very difficult as traditional publishers are often able to push their titles.” Some book events/fairs target indies (independent authors). Kahn says, “Even then, it helps if you have a distributor who is known and has some contacts.”


“You’ve got to calculate the costs of the editing, layout and printing. You also need an ISBN number if you want your book on shelves,” Haffern says.  (ISBN available through

“Understanding why you are writing the book and who you want to get it may help deciding on the route to take,” she adds.

“It’s very hard to get an offer to traditionally publish, but if you can get an offer, and an advance of $500k or more, you should (almost certainly) take the deal,” says Tucker Max, cofounder of Scribe ( and four-time New York Times bestselling author.

Reputational success

These are mainly the types of people who can get those deals: various categories of celebrities, including high-profile athletes, A-list actors, politicians or CEOs of major companies, Max says. And of course professional writers who already have lists of published works behind their names.

For the rest of us, who may be consultants, entrepreneurs, lawyers and coaches, self-publishing  is the answer.

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