Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing by Scott Nicholson

Because I’ve been both indie and trad, I’ve blogged this topic a few times but it always comes out fresh. I love every single aspect of my new business—writing, marketing, formatting, conceptualizing, accounting, networking—but you might not.

So maybe I can encourage you or scare you away, whichever makes you happiest. Because happiness is more important than book deals.

Self-publishing pros:

  1. You are boss. The mad scientist in your own lab, cooking up your Frankenstein monster. And you always get the creature you deserve.
  2. You keep all gross proceeds. Actually, you will be spending it on business investments, but instead of receiving 4 to 15 percent of list price, you will be earning 35 to 70 percent on ebooks and probably 25 percent on paper books.
  3. You choose the cover, genre, and overall presentation based on your understanding of your core audience.
  4. You have control of your content and can react quickly in a rapidly evolving landscape, without worrying about what’s best for corporate shareholders or a larger structure, only what’s best for you and your products.
  5. You write whatever you want.

Self-publishing cons:

  1. You are boss, but would you really hire yourself if you had to apply for the job?
  2. A hundred percent of nothing is still nothing.
  3. You may not understand your audience at all, or you may have no audience.
  4. You’re stuck with your content because no one wants it or buys into it.
  5. You may suck and never know it.


More about Scott:

Scott Nicholson is author of 13 novels, including the bestsellers The Red Church and Disintegration.

His new releases are the romantic paranormal mystery Transparent Lovers and the mystery Crime Beat.

He’s also a freelance editor and runs

2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing by Scott Nicholson

  1. Re: “You may suck and never know it”….That’s my greatest fear!Great post. You really summed up exactly how I feel about being indie.Amy

  2. Hi Feckless, Thanks for having Scott. Rather than getting information about Self-pub’ing from the publishing industry, it’s always refreshing to hear it from someone who’s been on both sides. And Scott, thanks for the input. I think people always have this preconception that self-employment is all about working “your own hours” and “being your own boss”, yet clueless that entrepreneurism is actually the opposite. An indie author will work harder and work longer hours and be a slave to his/her books and audience. The indie author, in my opinion, absorbs all the stress and pressure that a traditional “team” would have absorbed collectively…and that’s a lot of pressure. You have to really love every aspect of publishing if you want to step into the indie zone. Obviously you do, Scott, and I applaud you, not only for your example, but for your desire to help other indies!JeffAuthor of REUNION & Killing the Giants

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