Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing, by Raine Thomas

It’s such a pleasure to be a part of Accendo Press’s author series this summer. When I reviewed the list of topics to be covered, I was so impressed by the scope. I wish I had found resources like this before publishing my first book!

Who am I, you’re wondering? I’m Raine Thomas, wedding planner and author of a series of YA fantasy/romance novels about the Estilorians. I thought if I was going to chat with you about the pros and cons of self-publishing that I’d give you some background first…establish my “credentials,” if you will.

After attempting to secure a traditional publishing contract, I self-published my Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy (Becoming, Central and Foretold) on July 24th, 2011. I then released an Estilorian short story, The Prophecy, last November. My latest release, Defy (Firstborn Trilogy #1) came out on April 30th, and I’m in the process of editing Shift, (Firstborn Trilogy #2), for release in August. I anticipate having six novels and two short stories available by the end of 2012.

Yes, I did say that I work full-time in addition to writing. I’m also a wife and mother.

I don’t sleep much. I miss sleep.

Any-who…why am I sharing all of this with you? Because, in the spirit of Accendo Press, I want to inspire you. Wherever you are in your publishing journey, don’t ever give up. If I can do it, you can, too!

Okay, I think we’ve got a baseline established. Now I’d like to share what I consider to be the pros and cons of self-publishing:


1.      Full control over every aspect of your work. I’m a Type A personality. The idea of giving my beloved book over to a team of editors who’d then ask me to change it to suit their needs never sat well. By self-publishing, I control the content of my books, the look of the covers, how they’re marketed and priced, when they’re released, etc.
2.      Visibility of sales. Most traditional publishers send out royalty statements only twice a year. As a self-published author, I can check my sales throughout the day, and those royalty checks roll in at the end of every month.
3.      Greater retention of royalties. Self-published authors retain on average between 30 to 70% of each sale. This percentage depends upon the book’s price as well as where it’s sold. Most of my sales bring in 70%. Traditionally published authors typically retain between 1 to 15% of each sale. That’s a huge difference!
4.      Quick production time. From start to finish, I can write and publish a book in about three to four months. Manuscripts that go through traditional channels often take more than a year to actually hit the shelves. As a first time author, in particular, it’s hard to retain the interest of readers when they have to wait a year or more for your next book.


1.      Full control over every aspect of your work. I know…I listed this in the “pros” column, too. But it really is a double-edged sword. As a self-published author, you are responsible for every part of producing your book, even if you hire people to provide services for you. There is significant money and time involved in working with an editor and cover designer, creating a website, producing promotional materials, etc. If sales flop and you’re hit with extensive criticism because you’ve produced a steaming pile of a book, there’s no one to point the finger at but you.
2.      Less retail avenues. Like many self-published authors, my books are available everywhere eBooks are sold, including internationally. I also work with Amazon’s affiliate, CreateSpace, to offer paperbacks, but they must be ordered online. Unless they’re working with an agent, self-published authors don’t usually have books available in brick and mortar stores. For people who don’t own e-readers or smartphones, this is prohibitive, which means self-published authors are missing out on a market segment. And a movie deal? Just about unheard of for self-published authors.
3.      Stigma. There’s no getting around it. The vanity presses of old left a notable tarnish on the image of self-publishing. There will always be people who think that if you didn’t go through the traditional channels, you’re not a “real” author.

Thanks so much for letting me wax lengthy on this subject, Angeline, Heather and Jenn. I’m sure there are points I didn’t cover, and I’d love to hear from your readers on this. As for the third “con” above, I encourage anyone who feels that way to pick up an indie book…and I hope you’ll change your mind!

AP says: Thanks for stopping by, Raine! So glad to have you on our summer tour! The info here was great. If you have another pro or con and would like to share, leave it in a comment below. Here's a little more about Raine:

Raine Thomas is the author of an award-winning series of YA fantasy/romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the Firstborn trilogy. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer's Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Stalkable links: 

Seventeen-year-old Tate is about to make her parents’ dreams come true. Unfortunately for her, their dreams foretell her death. Eager to explore more of the Estilorian plane and prove her abilities, Tate goes against her parents’ wishes and leaves the area of protection surrounding her home. Her choice puts her on a deadly path…one that leaves her alone, severely injured and battling for her life. Her possible savior arrives in the form of Zachariah, a male who has removed himself from Estilorian society for more than fifty years. Fighting an unexpected connection to Tate, he must decide whether saving her life is worth destroying his. As Tate struggles to find a way home, she ends up drawn into a dark Mercesti plot involving multiple murders and a powerful ancient artifact. With the unpredictable Zachariah as her only source for aid, she’ll soon find out if her abilities are strong enough to help her defy her Fate.

Available now on Amazon!

In honor of Shift coming out, Raine is offering an e-book of Defy, book 1 in her series. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below. Thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


AuthorTiffany said...

Great post!!!! I love Raine Thomas <3

Shevi Arnold said...

CreateSpace does give you access to bookstores. It depends on the sales channels you choose. Of course, there's no guaranty your book will be sold in brick-and-mortar stores, but that's also true if you traditionally publish. Those CreateSpace sales channels just make it possible for those stores to order your book.

I published my book with CreateSpace, and as you can see, it's also available at It's even discounted.

I have a more detailed article on traditional versus indie publishing on my blog: Check it out if you're interested. It's one of my most popular posts.

Raine Thomas said...

Thanks for the love, Tiffany! :)

You're quite right about CreateSpace offering the possibility of in-store access through their expanded distribution option, Shevi. Right now, the odds are slim that brick-and-mortar stores will purchase an indie author's books for in-store placement over those books offered through traditional channels, however. I foresee that changing in the years ahead, though!