A Few Reasons to Self-Publish Your Nonfiction Book

If you're writing a nonfiction book—or even just thinking of writing a nonfiction book—you're probably trying to decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Here are just a few reasons why self-publishing might be the better choice for you:

1. Your book will appeal to a very small niche market.

If you think your book will only sell a few thousand, or maybe even a few hundred, copies it might be tough to find a traditional publisher.

But you can create a small print run (or publish through a print-on-demand publisher) and establish yourself as a credible expert among your niche market.

2. You want or need more control over the finished product.

With a traditional publisher, the finished book can be quite a bit different from your initial manuscript.

Many authors prefer the control they have with self-publishing.

3. You want to publish your book quickly.

Generally, it takes time to find an agent and/or publisher for your manuscript.

And, once you find a publisher, it can take a year or longer before the finished book is released.

But when you self-publish your book can be ready almost immediately.

4. You want to be able to set your own royalties and make more money per book.

With self-publishing you can usually set your own royalties and typically earn 20 to 30 percent of the cover price of the book.

5. You do a lot of paid speaking engagements and you need something for back-of-the-room sales.

Most speakers will tell you that even when they are paid to speak at special events, the real money is made from back-of-the-room sales.

But you have to have something to sell.

A book of your own is perfect for this, which is another reason to get it published quickly if you have many upcoming speaking engagements.

6. You want to use the success of a self-published book to attract the attention of a traditional publisher.

This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

A writer self-publishes and creates a demand for his nonfiction book.

A traditional publisher gets wind of this through the author’s blog, social media presence, etc. and offers the author a publishing contract, with wider distribution and more extensive marketing than the author can do on his own.

These are just a few reasons to self-publish your nonfiction book.

If one or more of these reasons is right for you, then finish writing your book and self-publish it.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 35 published books and a book coach.

Visit her website at www.writebythesea.com to learn more about her books and her coaching programs.


Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, great reasons for a nonfiction writer to think about self-publishing. It's so easy to self-publish now - more and more authors are going that route.

Terry Whalin said...

Suzanne, thank you for this terrific article.You give some great reasons to self-publish. As an acquisitions editor at a NY publisher, I'm not a strong proponent of self-publishing=--because I understand that most self-published books sell less than 200 copies during the lifetime of the book.

Smart authors with a market and a solid plan can buck this statistic but they have to go into self-publishing with realistic expectations. So many authors believe (wrongly) that if they build it someone will read it--and without marketing,that simply isn't the case.


Suzanne Lieurance said...


Yes, so many self-published authors don't have much of a marketing plan, which is why they sell so few books. They need to create the marketing plan even before they write the book.

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