The Three C’s of Self-Publishing

The Three C’s of Self-Publishing

With the advent of print-on-demand technology and e-books, more people are choosing to self-publish books. Here are the three common reasons why, and all have control as its basis:

Creative Control – author claims publisher will rewrite or take away their voice. Similarly, the author may want to be more involved in designing the cover or even the layout.

Cost Control – author believes royalty is too low or believes no one else should share in his or her profits.

Copyright Control – authors want to retain full ownership of their works. They see no benefit in assigning anyone else copyright or subsidiary rights.

However, many new authors go straight to self-publishing because they’re missing another, essential C: choice. With all the buzz about self-publishing, it’s easy to forget what other options are out there. Self-publishing is a viable option, but it isn’t for everyone. Before deciding one way or another, let’s first understand the publishing options;

Traditional Publishing: authors can get their book transitionally published usually via a literary agent or a manuscript sent directly to a book publisher. With traditional publishing, the publisher invests their own time and money into the book’s success when they think a book will sell well. Therefore, the author pays nothing and may even get an advance on his/her royalty. However, it can take a lot of tries to get your book traditionally published. J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter fame was rejected by 12 major publishing companies before her novel was picked up by a small publishing house. There are many types of traditional publishers, including genre specific that only publish certain types of books (religious, science fiction, essays, etc.) and volume specific that only publish certain amounts of books (small press, etc.). With these publishers, the author may lose all three types of control but will get better marketing and exposure.

Vanity Publishing: authors can get a book published through a vanity publisher that will take anything submitted. Unlike traditional publishing houses, vanity publishers do not take into account the content of the book; rather, they publish whatever they are paid to publish. The author will retain creative and copyright control but may, in some cases, get paid a royalty rather than keeping all the profits. With these publishers, authors may be able to retain all three types of control and can pay for standard marketing.

Self-Publishing: an author can establish his/her own publishing company. As such, the author is responsible for hiring professionals to work on the book and all the expenses that go along with book production, marketing and distribution. The author remains in control of all facets (creative, cost and copyright) but will have to split profits if the author chooses to distribute the book through a printed or online service, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The author can choose to forgo the profit split with a distributor and ship the books him/herself.

How much is remaining in control worth to you? Here are the pros and cons:

Traditional Publishing


  • The author pays nothing to get published.
  • The author may receive royalties.
  • Publishing house is invested in your success.
  • Professional editing.
  • Professional design.
  • Credibility.
  • Respect.
  • Better marketing.
  • Better exposure.


  • Very hard to break into.
  • Lose creative control.
  • Lose copyright control.
  • Lose cost control.

Vanity Publishing


  • Guaranteed to get published.
  • Retain creative control.
  • Retain copyright control.


  • Pay to get published.
  • Company makes money even if author never does.
  • Responsible for hiring professional editor for “real” feedback.
  • Author may not know if they have an inferior project.
  • No credibility.
  • May lose cost control.



  • Retain creative control.
  • Retain copyright control.
  • Retain cost control.


  • Spend time learning the publishing business and making contacts.
  • Responsible for paying professional fees, including ISBNs.
  • Responsible for hiring graphic artists.
  • Responsible for hiring editors.
  • Responsible for marketing or hiring PR professional.
  • Responsible for exposure.
  • May have to split profits with distributor.

Now that you have a full understanding of the publishing objectives and options, you may be able to find the right niche for your book. We, at Allwrite Advertising & Publishing, are a traditional publisher, but we also provide book production services (design, layout, editing, marketing) for self-publishers. If you are interested in our services, contact us at

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