Chris A. Baird | August 27, 2020
What Is The Self Publishing Definition?

You may be curious about the exact definition of self-publishing. Find out more about the self publishing definition below and as well as tips that will help you on your self-publishing journey.

Today's question has three answers and the third answer is a secret you're going to want to stick around for. Because it can save you a lot of frustration other people have had with self-publishing.

Do It All By Yourself

The question that was sent in today is, what is the self publishing definition? If somebody is trying to figure out what exactly is the difference between self-publishing or traditional publishing.

Or maybe there are some hybrid options available and it becomes a little bit unclear. But before I get into that check out my free Self-Publishing Checklist. It will help you get started today on your self-publishing journey.

So, what is the self publishing definition? When I first got started, I had understood that there was, okay, you had self-publishing where you sort of do it yourself.

Then you had traditional publishing where I would send it into somebody. Then a company would do all the work. They would then publish the thing underneath their label.

I would get paid maybe in advance or something along those lines. But that was when I was first getting started. So there wasn't a question. I didn't have too much of a question about this one.

I saw a lot of people were asking questions like, if I self-publish am I really an author? How many copies do I need to sell to be a real author? This seemed to be an issue that a lot of people were caught up in.

But for me, I was just interested in self-publishing which as I understood at the time was just you know, put out a book and you're good to go. Since then, I've discovered that it's a little more complex.

Check out this related article: What Can You Learn On Self Publishing Reddit?

So, what is the self publishing definition? The answer is anything that doesn't go through traditional publishing. If there's no gatekeeper or in other words, you can pay somebody some money and they will put a book out for you.

That is self-publishing if you're just going to do all the tasks yourself. The second one is there are different options regarding self-publishing. For example, you can do every single task yourself.

You can make the cover yourself. You can write the book yourself. You can write the description, the meta-tagging, and you can put in the keywords yourself.

Also, you can run the marketing yourself. You can do every aspect of the entire job yourself. So that is self-publishing and maybe it's the most extreme form.

Maybe for me, when I got started, that was sort of along the lines where I was starting as well. I was doing everything myself which wasn't such a bad idea.

Tricks To Get Sales

It taught me the skills that were necessary to succeed at self-publishing. But then you have the second one which is as the money starts to come in, you can pay people to do each of the steps.

You can pay people to help put the book together and formatting it. You can pay people to write the book, those ghostwriters. Because you find like certain topics make a lot of money but you don't have the time to write these 20,000-page word books.

So you can find authors who will go about writing them for you. Also, you can pay people to do the cover for you. You can also pay people to write the description and to figure out the keywords you should be targeting.

To do the ads, there are all sorts of things. You can pay people to take each of those steps. You take the steps that you feel comfortable with.

I've done this over the years where I've handed over a lot of the tasks to other people. Since the money starts to come in, then you have an excess of money that you're able to pay other people to do those tasks.

And the final thing is with self-publishing, you can also pay a company to do the entire job. That is to say, you can literally talk to somebody. They will write down what you say and create a book out of it.

Mark it into all of the steps. But today's secret sort of gets into that final option. To pay somebody else to do the entire job for you.

I just want to give you a warning from lots of self-publishers who are out there. They would say be very careful with companies that will do it all for you. You pay them a fee and then they do it all.

Check out this related article: What Vanity Publisher Definition?

But there's a catch and like there's always a catch with these sorts of things. I'm not speaking of every company out there that does it. I'm just speaking of the people I've been in touch with who have tried these services.

You think, "look I don't have any time. I need to get a book out. I'm just going to pay somebody to take all of the work from beginning to end and get the book on the market". So what happens is they sell you with one fee.

But then they have all of these upgrades, you can do it for every step. So far so good because you're starting to be pulled in now. At this point, the cost is starting to go up on you.

Then the next thing, you discover is they want to own the rights to the books. So that even after all of this work, you don't even own the book itself.

Be Careful With This Route

You give them all the ideas. You maybe even wrote the basic manuscript but they own the rights to the book. You don't get to even see how many copies are selling.

They control the rights to those books. This is brutal and the final thing is if there are changes to be made or they find issues without even doing it upsells to you, they can then say you have to pay us another $5,000 to fix this issue or fix that issue.

Or they might say, "oh wow, it's not selling as we thought it would because you're not running the right ads". That's going to cost you $5,000 here and $1,000 there.

Before you know you could have sunk $15,000 to $20,000 into a project for which it isn't even giving you any money back. You don't even own the rights to your own book and you didn't learn anything in the process.

This is the reason why my secret answer of the day is to tell you that you need to be very careful when going down this route. I'm telling you it's better to pay people to do each of the steps and you upload the books.

You control the rights to the book. You can pay people to do all of the steps and if you don't like something, you can ask them to fix it many times. You can have them fix it without charging you an additional fee if there's a problem.

But you are still owning the rights to everything. Even the formatting, you can pay people to do that. You can hire virtual assistants to do the formatting but doing it on your platform.

Check out this related article: How To Convert Kindle Books To EPUB?


I have them do it on Jutoh and then I can go back make the corrections if mistakes are found at a later time. But usually, if the editing is done correctly, we aren't going to find those mistakes later.

And so, this is just a little bit of the things that I found regarding this definition of self-publishing. But you have to remember it really comes back to it's anytime you're not going through a traditional publisher, it's going to be self-publishing.

So what is the self publishing definition? What have you found? Go and let me know below in the comments. I'd love
to hear if you found may be a slight variation on that definition.

Maybe you've had some different experiences than I've had. Or the people I've been exposed to have had regarding self-publishing. Just let me know below in the comments. Check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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