Self-publishing: Is it worth it?

  • SVS OG

    Hi, everybody! Lately, I've been toying with the idea of publishing a book on Amazon. Nothing too complicated just something to test the waters with. What are your thoughts on this? Is it worth it to self-publish? If yes, what are your tips to help market the book? If no, why so? Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge guys. I truly appreciate it.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    there are pros and cons to it. here's some thoughts:


    • It gives you the chance to test out doing a fully finished project. It's amazing how hard it is to actually want to do something, then do it all the way to completion. Most people stop a big project at 50-75%

    • You learn the ropes and it might give you confidence to do a real project once a client comes asking. it will also alert you to your real working time line and you will be able to estimate your project both financially and time wise a little better

    • it will show a potential client that you can finish something and what that process looks like when working with you. Save your sketches and be sure to show that work as well.


    • It is fairly easy to do the work to self publish a book (provided you know how to finish projects). The hard part is actually selling a book. This is what most writers don't understand when they try to self publish a book.

    • It can shake your confidence if you aren't able to finish it. it's hard to work on something alone and without real feedback the quality can suffer. Your family and friends are terrible guides to quality. You need to find real crits from people who are more experienced than you.

    • It will probably end poorly. Most of the projects get a lot of attention early on, but as the project labors on most people lose interest or fail to have the actual time to finish it well. All the time you are working on a self published book could be spent actually shopping your work to agents and real publishers.

    • Stock. if you go the route where you are printing actual books, you need a place to store them. Books are heavy and take up more space than you can imagine.

    So that's my quick short list. I'll add more if i think of anything. : )

  • SVS OG

    @lee-white I agree with your Pros and Cons list having gone down the route of working for a self-publishing author a number of times. The experience taught me that I could illustrate a book, but it also revealed my mammoth discomfort with selling. Consequently, the author ended up doing all the selling and marketing. Is there a class on SVSLearn that addresses the selling aspect of this business?

  • SVS OG

    @lee-white Hi, Lee! Thank you so much. Wow, seeing all the cons is really daunting. I actually wanted to be familiar with self-publishing so that if my book doesn't get picked up by agents and publishers, I could always sell it myself. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's really great to hear a professional's input on the industry and the whole art process.

  • SVS OG

    @johanna-kim Same here. Selling is also not my strength. It would be really interesting to learn how though.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @nyrryl-cadiz I did a self publish book with my son. Of course sales were great when I first pushed it on social media to friends and friends of friends. But after that first few months it died down. I had only 10 copies left and eventually sold those. I had some orders through Amazon but most of them were orded through me.

    The overall experience was great to actually finish a project. I have another that has just been taking SOOOOO long to finish. Still not sure if i will do a book or a series of web stories with the characters.

    My advice, set a timeline and work towards those goals just as if it was a real job. With no timeline you will just keep pushing it off.

  • SVS OG

    @chip-valecek Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm really happy you managed to sell all of your books. I hope this new project of yours does the same. I'm curious. Did you use Createspace, Kindle, or did you have another publisher print your book and you just shipped them off to whoever made an order? How did you handle the marketing for your first book? Did you advertise it on social media? How did you get reviews for it? Thank you so much for responding.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @nyrryl-cadiz I mostly pushed it on social media and word got around. I created a site for it which i used to direct people if they wanted to purchase it online or they could just PM me if they wanted a signed copy from my son. Also by purchasing it from me I made more money. I used createspace, so for example I have the booked priced at 9.99 if bought on Amazon I made around $2 dollars. Since I published it I could buy bulk around $3.00 or $4.00 per book. Then sell it for $12. Most people went with the $12 cause it would be signed. So after shipping I made like $6 per book. FYI anything purchased through Amazon you have to claim on your taxes.

  • SVS OG

    @chip-valecek Hi, so since your the author, you ordered the book from Createspace at a lower cost and then sold it yourself. Didn't it hurt your amazon standing?

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @nyrryl-cadiz i didn't know there was some sort of amazon standing. I really did publish to make money. It was more of a project with my son to work on and finish. Something he can look back on and say, hey I did that with my dad.

  • I'm no good at promotion, either, so I also feel that marketing is the hardest part. Even when you have an audience built, sales still taper off fairly quickly and it's hard to keep the momentum. The self-published authors I've worked with usually do a lot of leg work talking with local bookstores, doing school visits, setting up at trade shows and book festivals, and so on. They say reviews on Amazon are also incredibly helpful, but it's like pulling teeth getting people to leave a review.

    I haven't worked with any big publishing house, but I've heard authors say lately they've had to do more self-promotion because the publishing houses aren't promoting like they used to. I believe it was author Tim Wynne Jones that said that.

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