Self-publishing (or independent publishing) is when an author publishes their work without the involvement of an established publishing house. The unfinished manuscript you're maybe holding in your hands right now (or the one you're looking at or thinking about lovingly) can take one of three routes.

There are three types of self-publishing platform you should be aware of before you decide to go indie—four types overall if you include traditional publishing.

Sometimes you can become a 'hybrid' and mix-and-match.

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Before we look at the three routes, let's consider what the benefits of self-publishing are.

If you'd like to keep creative control of your book, set and work to your own deadlines, outsource to professionals of your choice and potentially earn higher royalties, self-publishing could be for you.

But, self-publishing doesn't come with the contacts and reach available through traditional publishing, nor does it offer an advance. It's hard work—there's lots to learn.



An author pays up-front for publishing services when they choose a vanity press. These companies can prey on an author's ego, so costs are usually in the thousands. Many authors complain they aren't as involved as they'd like to be, either.

I've heard a few horror stories (but I've also heard lots of success stories). This option is personal taste and down to what you want to gain from the experience of becoming a published author.



When an author decides to publish an e-book (or audiobook) only using a platform such as Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) or Draft 2 Digital (D2D), they are 'digitally' publishing.

Sometimes chunky books may be too expensive to print or shorter books perhaps not worth the fees. Digital is a great way to get the book out there and test the waters.

Print on Demand (POD)

Some self-publishing platforms guide you through the process step-by-step and require you to upload your documents to their system, which they then print as/when an order comes in, such as Lulu or Ingramspark.

Lots of POD platforms are free, but some charge when you upload a document. Charges are usually reasonable, though.

Then, when a customer buys the book, a copy is printed (to meet that demand) and shipped out.

However you choose to publish your book, be sure you thoroughly research your options, the fees involved and what you can do to prepare.

Remember, there are tons of professionals out there who can advise, plus thousands of authors who have walked this path before you. Reach out and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Good luck!

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This advice has been adapted from The Universe Doesn't Give A Sh*t About Your Book, my independent publishing guide available in hardback or e-book.

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