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eBook Publishing: Is it Worth the Trouble?

Self-publishing an e-book requires a considerable amount of time and effort from the author when compared to other publication methods. However, aspiring authors often turn to e-books as a starting point for a career in writing. Even seasoned authors who have worked with publishers in the past sometimes consider abandoning their publisher in favour of the e-book. With the added work involved and the significant criticisms levied against the e-book industry, are e-books a valuable investment?

Once work is completed, the differences in the very nature of bound-copy books and digital reading products poses problems going beyond the obvious publishing issues.  With an ever widening number of e-readers, each with its own software compatibility issues – at least for now – even the format onto which you place your writing is a consideration that can’t be overlooked. Hence, the various conversion services. All in all, the deliberations about whether or not to publish your own work are many, but worthwhile for the more adventurous writers.

Pros of E-Books
  • E-books are less expensive to publish than the traditional paper variety. Because of the lower cost, more authors are able to afford this form of self-publishing.
  • New or unknown authors can access a larger readership by publishing an e-book instead of a traditional book.
  • E-books often provide a greater monetary return for the author than traditional books because the author does not have to share his or her profits with a publisher.
  • An author who self publishes an e-book will retain rights and control over the work he or she creates.
  • Any author can publish his or her work without first finding a publisher who approves of the book and is willing to promote it.
  • According to the Huffington Post; self-published books enjoy a wider distribution than most traditional books.
There are both sound reasons for self-publishing, especially on digital media and there are also alluring reasons that may receive temporary weight far beyond that warranted by the facts. Vanity is no stranger to self-publishing and neither is regret stemming from too much pride. The temptation to avoid costs, including rejection, not just money, is another strong motivator for self-publishing that needs to be tempered. Weighing the following drawbacks is an important part of any comprehensive evaluation.

Cons of E-Books
  • E-books are more labor-intensive for the author than traditional books. When an author self-publishes a book, he or she will be responsible for all aspects of publishing including editing, cover design, and distribution.
  • While traditional publishers may prepay advance royalties to the author, an e-book does not earn money until it sells.
  • Self-published e-books will not appear on any bookstore's shelves, which mean that they can reach only online readers.
  • Though e-books may provide a larger monetary return to the author per sale, e-books often sell fewer copies than traditional books because e-books do not benefit from a publisher's marketing strategies. This is especially true for e-books written by unknown authors.
  • Though the choice is ultimately that of the author’s, the cost of seeking a neutral professional’s wise counsel is hardly frivolous given the stakes.
To Publish or Not to Publish?

The right publishing decision is not the same for every author. Though self-published books provide a greater return, some authors do not feel that the extra money is sufficient compensation for the work required to publish the book. Other authors believe that self-publishing an e-book is not "real" publishing and will not lead to a respectable career in writing. On the other hand, even some best-selling authors, such as Seth Godin, have discontinued traditional publishing efforts in favor of self-publishing.

To decide whether or not self-publishing is a valuable investment for you, consider your specific situation and personality traits. If you are a hard worker with a significant amount of time on your hands, you can probably self-publish a book without any problem. In addition, self-publishing an e-book may be beneficial to you if you have already tried traditional publishing without any success. Conversely, a working adult with multiple responsibilities, such as a family or another career, may not have the time and energy required to successfully self-publish an e-book.

Melissa Crossman

About the Guest Author:
She blogs on behalf of AIU. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two kids.


  1. Where in the traditional publishing industry can an author command a greater or equal to 70%? where can an author have complete control over his/her cover art? illustration? formatting on content? marketing? The answer from e-retailers.

    Where in the standard publishing industry can an author revive a book that he had written 10 years back, that was sold to a publisher who printed it, didn't sell many copies and was thus taken off the shelves. It's from publishing digitally where you get your rights back. intelligent authors (local or international), sell directly to their readers, online. This is because more and more people have the technology to read this eBooks. eBooks is the future. It's either you Adapt or Die!


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