In 2007 Amazon did something new, they allowed authors to download their books directly to them, the distributor, without having to go through a publisher. So, when you download your book directly on Amazon or Kobo, or Apple, or B&N online, etc. you’re also publishing it at that time. That’s Self-publishing. That move by Amazon totally changed the publishing industry.
Once I got the rights to all my books back from publishers I'd sign contracts with, I stopped submitting to publishers, and now I Self Pub only. There are many advantages of self-publishing for authors, including:
1. You don’t have to sign a contract that gives away all your rights to a publisher that then keeps them for your lifetime and beyond (per term of copyright).
2. You keep the rights to your books
3. You control your release date.
4. You have total control of your book cover
5. You get to choose and have the final say on your title
6. You have total control of your pricing and any discounting
7. You get to choose your own editor—one that fits you, your books, and your writing. And, you can't lose them due to layoffs.
8. You get to choose your own cover artist. One that gets your books and your voice and understands what you're trying to project. And you get to use the same cover artist on every single book.
9. You don’t have to worry about losing your books in bankruptcy as you would if you were with a publisher that went bankrupt.
10. You receive a great deal more money per book, a lot more than from a Big 5 publisher
11. You don't have to take the time and trouble to submit to literary agents or go to expensive conferences to pitch your book to them.
12. And, since you don't need an agent to Indie Publish you don't have to share a percentage of your royalties with them.
13. And since you don't use an agent you don't have to worry about agent embezzlement which happens and has happened at a lot more places than just at Donadio & Olson. Mainly because agents are not regulated. They don’t undergo criminal records checks or have to adhere to bylaws.
14. Moreover, you can release books quickly, within weeks of getting your book back from its final edit.
15. You can write an entire series without ever having to worry about your publisher canceling your series
16. You aren’t asked to make major changes to the story such as your character’s race or culture or the time period or add more sex or less or put in paranormal elements are take paranormal elements out, or all the other types of changes Big 5 publishers have asked authors to make.
17. You don’t have to write a book proposal to submit your book.
18. You don’t even have to write a book synopsis to submit your book.
19. You don't even have to write a query letter to submit your book.
20. If you find an error after the book is published you can correct it and republish it right away. All you have to do is make the correction in your finished document then reformat it or if you or your formatter use Vellum you can make the correction right in the formatting. Traditional publishes won't make corrections after a book is released except some small presses will do it for ebooks, but never for print.
21. You get to pick the categories – 10 of them at Amazon that you want your book to show up in. With a publisher, you don’t have control over how your book is categorized.
22. If your writing voice lends itself to cross genres and niche writing you can write that and publish it, whereas the Big 5 are not fond of that type of writing.
23. Your books won’t go out of print.
24. You can refresh your books later—change the covers or the title, put a couple of novels or novellas together in a collection. You just have to reformat it or get a new cover or in some cases both. That’s it.
25. You have access to your eBook sales reports daily. And you are paid royalties monthly. If you are with a publisher, usually you have to wait 3 months or longer to get paid and to see your sale reports.
26. When you see tweets about late pay or no pay from an author, along with the drama of the publisher and other authors ostracizing them for "foolishly and selfishly" (that's not how I look on it) expecting to be paid for their work per terms of the contract they signed, you can let out a sigh of relief and mutter under your breath, "I'm glad I'm not with that publisher or those authors and never will be because …I don't sign contracts with publishers anymore."
27. You don't have to keep up with the latest small press publisher that is going down or being sold or showing signs of trouble, after all, you don't have anything with them or submitted to them—thank goodness.
28. If you've gotten rights back, you don't have to research the few publishers that will accept a submission for a previously published book, you can just indie published it yourself and make any changes to it you want, including the title. In other words, this time you can do it totally your own way.
29. Your books won't be pulled by a publisher just for tweeting about some type of personal experience you probably shouldn't have tweeted about. For example the Rare Bird/Natasha Tynes situation.
30. You have a better chance of getting on Amazon's Bestseller List. Just 16% of the e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists are published by the Big 5.
31. You have a better chance of selling lots of ebooks. Over 30% of book sales in Amazon’s Kindle Store are self-published eBooks.
32. Your books won’t contribute to pollution by ending up in a landfill due to traditional publishings return policy. 30 to 40% of traditionally published books are returned to the publisher each year often without the book ever going on a bookstore shelf. For mass-market books, the covers are ripped off and returned, not the actual books, they go straight to a landfill or to pulp. Because publishers overprint and, unlike any other retail items, books are shipped to booksellers on consignment rather than wholesale purchase.
33. Your book can be published even without comp titles. In other words, even if it does not compare to 10 books that made the Big Five lots of money in the last three years or so. So you can publish a book written from a different viewpoint than usual, aiming at an audience that may not be mostly white or mostly male.
34. You don't need a platform consisting of some five-figure number of engaged people to get a nonfiction (including memoir) book published like you'd typically need when submitting to the Big 5.
35. You can create other products from your books through what used to be called Box Sets and now, if you publish them on Amazon, are called Collections. I took five individually published Celtic fantasy novellas and put them in one book. I took my duology novels, each published individually, and put them together as one book. I took my novella series and published them as one book. This allows you to offer a bargain to your readers to buy several books in one for one price. And it gives you another product with your name on it to draw more readers in. With traditional publishing, the publisher holds the contract. You can't do anything else with that book until the rights revert back to you.
36. You don't have to worry about your literary agency or your publisher going viral on social media because of charges of racial discrimination of sexual harassment.
37. Supply shortages due to Coronavirus or other disasters will not disrupt digital publishing, neither ebook or print on demand unlike Big Five print runs.
38. Online book sales are all you need. Most print books are sold on Amazon. Additionally, in 2020 online book sales rose 43%. Book Industry Experts expect that trend to continue in 2021.
Please note that nowhere in here is the reason people presume we self-publish, that is that our books were rejected by publishers. I worked with 5 publishers before I decided to Self- Pub all 39 of my books. I have never regretted the decision to go with Self-Publishing.