If you’ve written a novel, you may be wondering what your options are for getting it published. One choice you have is to self-publish your book, which means you take on all the responsibilities and costs of publishing yourself. Another option is to go with a small press publisher, which can help you with some of the tasks of publishing and may provide other benefits as well.
I own Hydra Publications and I am often asked by new writers, what are the benefits of signing with us over self publishing. In this post, I will compare and contrast self-publishing a novel vs. going with a publisher like Hydra, to help you decide which path might be right for you.
Self-Publishing a Novel
Self-publishing a novel means that you take on all the responsibilities of publishing your book yourself. This includes editing, cover design, formatting, printing, distribution, and marketing. There are several advantages and disadvantages to self-publishing, which we’ll explore below.
Advantages of Self-Publishing
- Control: When you self-publish, you have complete control over every aspect of your book, from the cover design to the marketing strategy.
- Speed: You can get your book to market much faster when you self-publish, since you don’t have to go through the traditional publishing process.
- Higher royalties: Since you’re not sharing your profits with a publisher, you can potentially make more money per book.
- Flexibility: You can make changes to your book at any time, whether it’s updating the cover or tweaking the content.
Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
- Cost: Self-publishing can be expensive, especially if you hire professionals to help with editing, design, and formatting.
- No distribution: You’ll have to handle distribution yourself, which can be a challenge if you don’t have experience in this area.
- Limited exposure: Self-publishing doesn’t come with the built-in marketing and publicity support that traditional publishing does, so you’ll need to work harder to get your book noticed.
Small Press Publishing
A small press publisher is a publishing company that focuses on publishing a limited number of books each year, often in specific genres or niches. Small presses can provide many of the benefits of traditional publishing, but on a smaller scale. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of working with a small press publisher.
Advantages of Small Press Publishing
- Expertise: Small presses have experience and expertise in the publishing industry, so they can help with editing, design, formatting, and distribution.
- Credibility: Working with a small press can give your book more credibility and legitimacy than self-publishing.
- Distribution: Small presses have distribution networks that can get your book into bookstores and libraries, which can be difficult to achieve on your own.
- Marketing support: Small presses may provide marketing and publicity support, which can help get your book noticed.
Disadvantages of Small Press Publishing
- Limited control: While you’ll have input on many aspects of your book, you’ll likely have less control than if you self-publish.
- Lower royalties: Since you’re sharing your profits with a publisher, you’ll make less money per book.
- Limited exposure: Small presses may not have the same reach as traditional publishers, so your book may not reach as many readers.
Deciding whether to self-publish or work with a small press publisher is a personal decision that depends on your goals, resources, and preferences. If you’re looking for complete control over your book and are willing to invest time and money in publishing and marketing, self-publishing might be the right choice for you. If you’re looking for more support and expertise in publishing and want the credibility and distribution that comes with working with a publisher, a small press might be a good fit. Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure your book is ready for the reading public.