Ten Self-Publishing Myths—Debunked

by Peggy on February 11, 2012

There are many myths about self-publishing and many of them go unchallenged. I want to change that.

The Top Ten Myths of Self-Publishing

  1. People won’t buy a self-published bookJohn Locke and Amanda Hocking are both are self-published authors and both have sold a million plus e-books. They did most of the promotion of their books using social media and blogging. There have been several self-published authors on the New York Times Bestseller List. The most recent one is Victorine Lieske. Victorine is the author of Not What She Seems, with over 100,000 books sold.
  2. I need an agent to sell my book—Making a deal with a traditional publisher is more dependent on the size of your author platform and your proven ability to sell books than on acquiring an agent. In today’s publishing environment, traditional publishers are looking for a proven track record of sales. Choosing which book to publish is a financial decision for publishers. If you have strong book sales as a self-published author your chances of being picked up by a traditional publisher are good, with or without an agent.
  3. A self-published book is too expensive—I love this one. There was a time, in the old days of vanity presses that publishing a book could cost thousands of dollars. There are still some print-on-demand printers out there who charge near-vanity-press prices, but if you use CreateSpace.com, Lightningsouce.com or lulu.com for your print or e-book, the costs are minimal. If you are publishing an e-book, and you are technically skilled, you can upload the e-book yourself—free.
  4. Big publishers won’t expect me to market my book—if your name is Tom Clancy, you may not have to market your book. Tradtionally published mid-list authors (an author who would be expected to sell fifty-thousand books), are expected to market their books and pay their own marketing expenses.
  5. I can’t be a bestselling author if I am self-published—in 2010, 2011, and I am sure in 2012 there will be many more self-published books appearing on best sellers lists. Amanda Hocking, John Locke, Victorine Lieske, and Seth Godin, just to name a few, have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List.
  6. If I self-publish I won’t be signed by a traditional publisher—for most traditional publishers, choosing a book is an economic decision. Publishers are in the business to make money. In today’s competitive publishing environment, publishers look at sales. If you have a good sales record and are actively marketing your book, there is a good chance you will get the attention of a traditional publisher.
  7. Bookstores will never stock my book—it’s true that Barnes & Noble may never stock your self-published book, but, they most likely won’t stock your traditionally published book either. There are too many books written and not enough floor space. But take heart, most independent book stores will be happy to carry your self-published book. Indie bookstores are supportive of local authors, and self-published authors of all types. My favorite indie bookstore is Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky.
  8. Traditional authors make more money—The average traditionally published (TP) author is paid between eight percent and fifteen percent of the list price of their book. A TP author who is making a fifteen percent royalty is, in most cases, is being paid fifteen percent of discounted price of the book when it is sold to a book store. A self-published author can make much  more profit per book. Self-published authors don’t need to sell as many books as traditionally published authors to make the same income. For example, a traditionally published author making a ten percent royalty earns $2 per book on a $20 book. To make $100,000 he or she would need to sell 50,000 books. A self-published author, with a $20 print book and a 70% royalty, or $14 profit per book, would only need to sell 7,143 books to make $100,000.
  9. I can’t self-publish because I don’t know how—you don’t have to be a computer science major to self-publish. With easy to use websites like Createspace.com, self-publishing is doable if you are willing to read a book or two, watch a webinar, or YouTube videos about how to self-publish. With a little confidence and some stick-to-it-ness, and you can do it. If you are a technophobe and want help, then hire a book coach.  I encourage you to read my book, Self Publishing for Virgins, but there are many other great books available on the subject.
  10. I can’t write my book because I’m not an expert—I hear this in my classes on self-publishing. I had one author who was writing a book about Turner’s syndrome, a genetic disorder. Her daughter had been diagnosed with Turner’s syndrome and she wanted to write a book to help other parents with children suffering from the same disorder. She was worried because she wasn’t a medical expert. If you are writing a book that requires professional expertise, have an expert read your book and write the forward. In this way you can borrow their expertise. Many excellent resource books have been written by non-experts.


Whether you decide to self-publish or go the traditional route with your book, there is one overriding prerequisite; you must write a great book. A great book will be one that has been professionally edited, and one that is compelling or solves a problem for the reader.


What are your feelings about self-publishing? Comment on this post, and share  your experience.


“There has never been a better time, in the history of books, to become an author.”

Peggy DeKay


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

google adwords keywords May 12, 2015 at 2:19 am

Great info. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident (stumbleupon).
I have saved as a favorite for later!


Peggy June 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Thank you.


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