Why do authors self-publish?  Some people say that writers self publish because they aren’t good enough to be traditionally published.  I say speak for yourself!

And so do many other authors, such as Ruth Cardello, who has turned down a 7-figure publishing deal to continue to self publish. Other’s like Holly Lisle, are fighting for and gaining access to backlisted titles so they can self publish them.

So why are so many authors, many successful and well known, choosing self publishing over traditional publishing?  There are a few reasons I see.


A self-published author has full control over the entire publishing process. They can  choose their own cover design, one that suits the story as they see it.  They can set their price, anywhere from 99c up, or even sell the first novel in a series for free!

They have the freedom to choose a different story length.  Many authors are successfully publishing ‘novellas’ at around 40,000 words.  Others are publishing novels much longer than the norm, something that is proving quite popular with readers.

And finally, authors have a chance to choose to follow themes that publishers may not think will sell well.


It is no secret that authors see only a relatively small percentage of the sale price of their books, and many never earn out their advance.  A self published author sets their own price, and recieves 35-70% royalties.  This is a return traditional publishing just can’t match.


When I first began writing, one of the things that looked appealing about traditional publishing was having someone else do the marketing for me.  But these days, that isn’t the case either.  Even traditionally published authors are expected to run their own blogs, facebook pages, twitter accounts, and build their own following.

Books on shelves

This is the one area where traditional publishing still holds sway.  Getting your books onto bookshelves in a brick and mortar store is still difficult without a publishing house.  But how important is this going to be?  I don’t know about other parts of the world, but here in Australia, bookstores are going out of business at a great rate.  Most shopping centres are down to only one bookstore, whereas previously they had three or four.


I see many self published authors who seem to view self publishing as a new road into traditional publishing, but I see it as a new way to get my book into readers hands.

How about you?  Why do you plan to self-publish?  Or why do you think other’s self-publish?