Writing and Publishing

Six Downsides of Self-Publishing

In my post “Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish,” I listed several advantages of self-publishing. Although compelling, there are also downsides. Let’s also look at the downsides of self-publishing.

Consider These Six Downsides of Self-Publishing:

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.

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 is 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.

These are the six downsides of self-publishing. Consider them carefully and if you opt to go this route, be sure to avoid them.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.



By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.