Which Book Publishing Route Is Right for You? [Part Two]

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Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 9.13.18 PMIn Part One of this article, I began to explore the various publishing options that are available for you, so you can make the right choices for you and your business. So far, I’ve discussed traditional book publishing and vanity self-publishing.

Now we’ve move on to two other great options, independent book publishing, often referred to as ‘indie’ publishing and then wrap things up with e-publishing.

Indie publishing can literally be starting your own publishing company or business. If done right, indie published authors can compete directly with traditionally published authors. Indie authors are also commonly picked up by agents and one of the “Big Six” publishers for a nicer contract with marketing.

The pros to indie publishing include: same speed of vanity publishing, no middle man to take any book sale profits, more marketability (including to bookstores if the book is set up right with a distributor), total control over your project and higher credibility for speakers and coaches.

The cons include: initial investment for a higher quality product, more responsibility in choosing your team and a higher learning curve if you “go it alone.”

When to go indie? If you need your message released soon and care more about a higher quality product that will deliver better results, want to keep your distribution and repurposing rights, want to see your book inside bookstores, want to speak on a high-dollar stage, or if you want to raise your rates for your related business.

When not to go indie? If your budget is extremely limited, you’re publishing fiction, short stories, memoir, poetry, etc., you want a quick business promo item, or if you don’t want to tackle a learning curve or work with an established book production team.

If you’re an entrepreneur and already run a business, indie can bring you the fastest, best results. If you want to explore indie publishing, start looking for editors, book designers, or even an indie publishing coach to help you through the process. And beware that companies that call themselves “indie,” yet put “Published by… X Company” on your book (aka: not you) are not truly indie.


Ebook publishing is technically a format of a book, not a format of publishing. However, I’m including it in this article because it can be a form of publishing if you exclusively publish eBooks.

The pros to eBook publishing include: considerably low investment, super fast (Kindle only takes 12 hours to go “live!”) and  relatively easy.

The cons include: lower credibility than print, some formatting issues can be difficult and, it’s so easy you run the risk of destroying your reputation with negative Amazon reviews.

When to use eBooks? Always! Really, if you’re already published in print or planning to print books, always, always do an eBook, too. The market is ripe and you’d be missing out on major sales if you don’t have your book in this format.

If you’re publishing fiction, memoir, or short stories eBooks are the way to go. Did you know that in 2012 95% of all eBooks sold were fiction? Non-fiction sells equally print and eBook formats. Fiction sells mostly in eBook format.

When not to use eBooks? You may expect me to say, “Never.” However, if you’re publishing non-fiction don’t limit yourself to eBooks. The first thing your readers will ask is, “Where can I buy the print version?”

People still like to dog-ear, highlight, quick reference and notate on non-fiction books, something that’s sometimes difficult with eBooks. And if you invite readers to fill in blanks or have worksheet areas in your book, do your readers a favor and don’t annoy them by including blanks they can’t do anything with on their e-readers.

If you’re interested in eBook publishing, start by reading this article: Four Crucial Steps to Writing and Publishing Your First eBook.

Kristen Eckstein
Kristen Eckstein is a highly sought-after publishing authority, multi best-selling author and award winning international speaker who has started over 50 publishing companies and published over 170 books and e-books. In Fall 2013 she challenged herself to write and published a new Kindle book every week for 18 weeks straight.
Kristen Eckstein
Kristen Eckstein
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  1. Great tips! My book will be self published and available on Amazon for print and Kindle for ebook form.

  2. Thanks for the tips, these are the very same questions I had to ask myself two years ago before I went indie. I would like to add another con to this list and that’s not being taken seriously by others in the publishing industry. Many people believe self-published books are all vanity published and not really competitive with what’s on the market.

    • Rachel,

      Thanks for your comment! While many people do believe self-published books are all vanity published, if the book is done with quality rivaling traditional publishers (which is possible and very realistic), and the author takes steps to make themselves appear traditionally published, no one has to know the book is self-pub to begin with. If you don’t tell them and your book looks just as good as the big guys, no one cares who the publisher is. People care more about quality than who published it.