[Self Publishing Guide] What is Self Publishing?

This post is second in a series of articles which are excerpts from our Self Publishing Guide for Indian Market. If you have not already, please read the first article of the series before proceeding with this one

What is Self Publishing

Self publishing in strict sense is a special case of publishing where author herself is the publisher. The author takes the complete control and responsibility of all the aspects of publishing – preparing the book, printing and marketing the book. In fact, anyone – be it an individual or an organization – can self publish. In our discussion of self-publishing we include publishing carried out by any individual or organization whose main business is not publishing, even if it is not self-publishing in the literal sense of the word (that is the author is not the publisher).

Self Publishing: Advantages and Disadvantages


No need to spend time convincing publishers/agents.

  • The author is the boss and has complete control over content, design, pricing.
  • Faster way to get your book published.
  • Easy to publish books for a niche audience.


  • Needs financial investment for the publishing process – editing, designing, printing, marketing.
  • Lack of sales and marketing expertise. No pre-launch publicity, no launch hype with celebrities and media.
  • Chances of lower credibility because the book is not validated by an independent/traditional publisher.

When to self publish

Given the pros and cons of self publishing, there are certain cases where it work well. Some of them are listed below

  • Experts: If you are some sort of expert in anything, you could self publish a book targeted towards that audience. Expertise need not mean global fame. You could be a blogger on environmental issues with a following, for example.
  • Niche publications: The way the economics of traditional publishing works, if your audience is niche and small, publishers may not be interested in your book. If you have a way to access this niche audience and market your book, self publishing is the way to go.
  • Publishing as gift: A book can be published for gifting purposes or for distribution to friends and family. For example, you may want your book just for your family, or may want to surprise a friend by publishing his/her writings as a birthday gift.
  • Support to profession and brand building: A book can be published to establish your credibility and thought leadership in your profession. Coaches, training institutes and other professionals/organisations can publish a book themselves and distribute or sell them. It will help brand building.
  • Complete control over the book: If you do not like to succumb to the demands of the editors on how the book should start, read and end, self publishing is the option for you.

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