Why are some people against self-publishing


What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing (less often self-publishing) means that an author publishes his work himself and does not require the support of a publisher. Accordingly, the author has to control and be responsible for the entire process of publication and bears the costs for production and distribution. Of course, he can use self-publishing service providers for this - and when it comes to printing, he will hardly be able to avoid it.


How to publish your own book

More and more people, both amateur poets and part-time and full-time writers, are interested in how books can be printed using the print-on-demand process. Thanks to digital printing technology and the right processing, the printing industry now offers services as required.

Even a small number of books, even in an edition of 1, can now be produced economically. The e-dossier “Self-Publishing” shows how ideas can be turned into books and introduces professional digital printing companies.

⇒ Here you can find the e-dossier “Self-Publishing” for 4.90 euros! ⇐


Self-publishing book or e-book?

Whether a work should appear as a self-publishing book or as an e-book is a fundamental decision that the following information should facilitate. E-books are the norm, and their share has even increased recently. “At the same time, there is an amazing revival of print,” says Matthias Matting. He has published numerous books on his own and runs a self-publisher advice blog (“Self-Publisher-Bible”).

Good advice is really expensive here: Anyone who wants to publish a book on their own suddenly finds themselves confronted with all sorts of difficulties that they had no idea of ​​before. This includes the fundamental decision between electronic and printed books.

Pure print-on-demand service providers do not create electronic books. The cloud-based, networked production environment that publishers now use to bring their digital content to customers could be transferred to the printing industry. Via Amazon, on the other hand, you can create an electronic or printed edition or both. You can find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of the online shop in the section “Pure self-publishing via Amazon”.


Advantages of the e-book

From a technical point of view, the printed book presents the greater challenge: While an electronic book does not have a type area and does not need formatting, a printed book adheres to the rules of book typesetting. Whether it is about getting the manual hyphenation done or correctly applying a bleed: Publishing a print title requires a lot more know-how than an electronic one.


Advantages of the printed book

But self-publishers should also think of their readers: In the local bookstore, at readings, at book fairs and for most reviewers, the print edition is all that counts. And last but not least, it is the dream of every future writer to hold their own novel or specialist book in their hands. Fortunately, there are more and more service providers today who have recognized the needs of the growing self-publisher scene. It is no longer a secret that the number of self-publishers is steadily increasing.

The bookpassion.de website operated by print.de also shows what needs to be considered when creating your own book, which programs are useful and which service providers are available. It is generally about the professional production of beautiful books. Under “Self-Publishing” you will find useful tips and questions about the most frequently asked questions.

⇒ www.bookpassion.de/selfpublishing


What do self-publishing service providers have to offer?

What you can expect from self-publishing service providers depends on their business model - in the following we present the Amazon model and a German print-on-demand company. First of all, self-publishing means simply creating an e-book or printed book, i.e. print on demand. But a service provider can also be of great help beyond pure production, of course for an appropriate fee.


Pure self-publishing via Amazon

One possibility of self-publishing is the pure creation of an e-book via Amazon or Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): The platform belongs to the Kindle shop at Amazon, here writers can publish their works as e-books free of charge. Using CreateSpace, Amazon's print-on-demand service, paperbacks can also be produced free of charge, provided the authors do not wish to use any other services.

There is no minimum term, notice periods or assignment of usage rights here. The disadvantage is that the distribution takes place exclusively through Amazon. If an author has registered his or her book with KDP Select, it is automatically available from the Kindle Lending Library (KOLL) and from Kindle Unlimited (KU or Kindle subscription in France).


More service for self-publishers

Other services are also conceivable, such as those offered by Books on Demand GmbH (BoD) based in Nordersted. The company is considered the market leader among European self-publishing platforms and - like all major service provider platforms - is connected to the book wholesale trade. Customers can commission the publication of their own book through his website. First of all, there is a choice of different features (paperback, hardcover, digital edition). Additional services such as personal advice, editing or envelope design can be booked for an extra fee. But well-known support in marketing and sales can also be helpful - especially for unknown writers. You benefit from:

  • Arranging readings
  • Send copies to media
  • Printing of flyers and posters
  • Presence at industry events such as the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fair


Inexpensive overall packages are in short supply

More and more independent authors are looking for a structure similar to that of a publisher, all-round support. There are also agencies, graphic offices or layouters who offer their services - but for expensive money. And as a rule, self-publishers without a publishing machinery behind them have no money. Cheap overall packages from local bookmakers would help him, but - despite the growing number of self-publishers - they are still in short supply.


The current self-publishing market

Numerous platforms for independent publishing have long existed: the self-publisher association, for example, which represents the interests of writers when dealing with service providers, booksellers and other parties involved in the book industry. There are also self-publisher publishers such as Tredition; the book report runs an indie catalog independent = independent). The Leipzig and Frankfurt Book Fairs have been presenting self-publishers since 2013, and they are recognized by the Leipzig Indie Author Prize.


State of the printing industry

Print on demand is a growing business, which, according to Matthias Matting, is not least due to the significantly improved conditions compared to previous years. Even if the majority of self-publisher works appear in paperback, there has been an increase in color printing in recent years. However, in 4C digital printing, the production costs are still relatively high, even if the quality has improved significantly. Intelligent illustration concepts that go hand in hand with inexpensive sales channels are therefore in demand on the part of printers.


Plus points for authors and publishers

Self-publishing offers authors some clear advantages over conventional publishing. From the publishers' point of view, there are also some arguments in favor of producing on demand.


Self-Publishing: The Benefits for Authors

A survey of around 1,800 self-publishers commissioned by Books on Demand GmbH (BoD) in 2014 shows the advantages of self-publishing. The most important findings: Self-publishing is becoming more and more widespread. 38.7 percent of the respondents see writing not only as a hobby, they use it to raise their profile in their professional life or to earn money.

But also the professional authors are particularly impressed by the model. According to the study, almost 60 percent of them intend to publish more publications themselves, while 48 percent want to concentrate even more intensively on writing and marketing. And last but not least: “For 74 percent of the 1,144 German BoD writers surveyed, the best moment is holding their book in their hands for the first time. Print on Demand opens up completely new avenues for authors, ”says BoD Managing Director Yogesh Torani.

The BoD study identified the following four advantages for authors:

  • Every author can publish his work professionally through bookshops, regardless of the publisher.
  • Compared to publishing through publishers, self-publishing is quick and easy.
  • The author does not have to make any compromises in terms of content when writing.
  • The publication is possible both as a digital edition and as a print title.


Print-on-Demand: The advantages for publishers

BoD managing director Torani also sees new perspectives for publishers: “The book market is undergoing a fundamental change that poses challenges for publishers. The growing variety of titles in a stagnating overall market leads to lower print runs per title. The increasing popularity of electronic books reinforces this trend. " As a result, print on demand will continue to gain in importance.

“In addition, the production technologies will make great strides in terms of quality and economy,” says Torani, “so that in future there will no longer be any differences between offset and digital printing, not just in terms of quality, but also in terms of price for small and medium-sized editions."

Further advantages of print on demand for publishers are:

  • The production risk is reduced.
  • Titles that would be unprofitable in traditional print runs can also be distributed.
  • Lower storage costs: The blacklist can be produced on demand.
  • Even titles that are rarely in demand or that are out of print can be delivered at any time on request.
  • The lifespan of the individual titles is significantly extended.

The combination of self-publishing and print on demand can offer publishers even more opportunities: Some of them - including established fiction - are already looking for talent via online platforms, for example the Kamphausen media group with Tao.de or Droemer- Knaur on Neobooks.com. The Holtzbrinck publishing group has been active with Epubli for a long time. These platforms attract authors with seminars, competitions, crowdfunding or the possibility of their own publication - be it as an e-book or as print on demand.

Article based on contributions by Nicola Scheifele and Karla Fabry.

First published in 2014/17, last updated on March 21, 2018.