Self-publishing used to have a huge stigma attached, and was considered to be only vanity publishing. and indeed, when I first did this website back in 2006, I advised against going that route. 

However, the publishing industry has undergone a revolution over the intervening years, and things are very different now. Self-publishing has come of age.

The biggest difference is the advent of e-books, specifically for kindle and other readers. I myself am publishing my out-of-print novels on kindle.

Self-publishing used to mean printing your books yourself, and distributing them yourself - and you can still do that for sure using Print On Demand services. The modern world helps there too: social media has revolutionised your ability to market your books in a way that was unthinkable even a couple of decades ago. But many people start off just with publishing books as e-books, and I think that's a good way to start. 

Click here for Amazon's Kindle publishing information.

The disadvantages of self-publishing - and how to overcome them

  • There is no quality control for the reader.

    How do they know your book is any good? At least when it's traditionally published, experts have deemed it good enough.

    Solution: offer free samples. Either by Amazon's 'Look Inside', or by offering free first chapters of your novel. Or, free short stories and novellas. Or a free whole novel, to prove yourself to them so they'll buy the rest. First hit free works for drug dealers; why not for us!

  • Distribution is a problem.

    You just don't have the infrastructure that publishers do.

    Solution: You might decide not to bother trying to get books into the shops at all, and just focus on online sales, either by E-Books or Print-On-Demand publishing.

    Or, you might get a track record from self-publishing and then approach either individual shops to see if they'll stock your books - but this would be hugely labour-intensive frankly. A better option would be to try to get a meeting with the buyers of the big chains and/or the distribution companies. Ironically, this might actually be easier to do after you have self-published.

Dan Poynter is the go-to guy for self-publishing.

Just click on each book's image to be brought to its page in your local Amazon store.

This is the original, classic, book on self-publishing.

Vol II is about using modern technologies in self-publishing.