clock - estimated reading time  Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Self-publishing means more than just uploading a manuscript to KDP or paying someone to publish your book. In a world domineered by traditional publishers who cherry-pick which manuscripts get to be published, self-publishing gives authors’ back their freedom and autonomy. This is because self-publishing gives authors—not publishers—the ability to decide that their stories are worthy of being heard.

Authors who self-publish their books feel the empowerment and fulfilment that self-publishing provides. When you hold your beautifully, professionally designed and printed book in your hands, and you know that you alone have ownership over it, it can be extremely rewarding. The satisfaction and pride you feel when you realise that you have made something that is out on bookshelves and in the hands of readers is unparalleled.

1. It means authors regaining control

With the advancements of technology and the internet, self-publishing has become so much more accessible and viable for authors who want to publish their book outside of traditional means. It also means that authors can take more control of their publishing journey. There are many ways that you can self-publish a book, including completely independently through services like Kindle Direct Publishing, or assisted through a self-publisher or a hybrid publisher.

1.1 Publishing your book completely independently

Choosing to publish your book without the assistance of a self-publisher / hybrid publisher can be quite difficult, but is possible. There are a few things you need to be aware of when considering this option:

Editing is integral

Everyone would like to think that their book is perfect, but it’s rarely the case. Readers will be able to tell pretty quickly whether a boo has been edited or not. This means that it’s important to consider having someone—if not a professional editor, then a at least a well-read and literate friend/family member—look over your manuscript and correct any errors that are present. There are different kinds of editing, which we go over in our blog post about editing.

Book cover design matters

Everyone knows the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we’ve even said it a few times in other blog posts, and this is because it’s not true. The first thing that your potential readers will see when they look at your book is the cover. Your book cover is your front-line marketing salesman—its main purpose is to persuade readers to first pick the book up and then to keep it. Having a professional designer create your book cover is an excellent way to ensure that you’re presenting your book well to your potential readers.

Typesetting also matters

The design of a book’s interior is just as important as the book cover, only for different reasons. It focuses on the look of a books interior and how the design interacts with the text, but also focuses on readability, searchability, and accessibility. This means that if your book is typeset correctly, the readers will have an enjoyable reading experience and won’t be distracted by errors in typesetting that draw their eye. If you’re unsure if you can do this properly, it’s always best to hire a professional.

Every book needs an ISBN

While there are some exceptions (read our blog post on ISBNs), every book in the market is required to have an ISBN. ISBNs are International Standard Book Numbers that are required by distributors and retailers for sales tracking and cataloguing purposes. Because ISBNs are unique to their assigned book, while titles and covers can be very similar to each other, ISBNs are instrumental to your book’s online searchability. You must purchase an ISBN for your book. If you live and publish in Australia, Thorpe Bowker is the ISBN provider you need.

You have to organise your own printing

Most if not all self-publishers and hybrid publishers have connections to printers. If you publish your book completely independently, however, you’ll have to approach printers yourself to discuss printing. This can be daunting and confusing as there are many different options out there regarding printers, book formats, paper types, and more.

You’ll need to set up your own distribution methods

If you publish your book through services like KDP, you will automatically be set up on Amazon and can then take it further by approaching other retailers to sell your book. Some online retailers do have specific requirements regarding the formatting and distribution of their books, so make sure to check their guidelines before you publish on them. Bookstore distribution can be a little difficult for self-published authors. This is because bookstores are wary of the quality and sales-value of self-published books as some authors cut corners and do not properly produce their books.

Book marketing is ongoing

Self-published authors have to work hard and continuously to get their books into the minds of readers, but there are certainly strategies that can help. For help on how to do this, read our blog post on marketing for self-published authors.

1.2 Publishing your book with a self-publisher / hybrid publisher

If you decide to publish your book through a self-publisher / hybrid publisher, they will usually assist you with all aspects of your publishing journey. This is not to say that they will force you to do something you don’t want to, however. You, the author, are still the primary authority on all decisions made during the publishing process of your book.

When you choose to go with a self-publisher or hybrid publisher, you can get assistance you with the following:

Editing your book

Whether they do this in-house or out-source editing to partnered companies, they will help you to get your book professionally edited.

Designing your book

These companies often have their own design studios or out-source to freelance designers. It’s good to look at their past covers to determine whether you’re happy with the quality of work they can produce.

Getting the right printer

As I said earlier, printers and publishing companies deal with each other often and usually have connections with one another. When choosing to go with a publisher, they will advise you on format, paper, appropriate printers, and more, taking the stress out of this step.

Organising proper distribution

Not all self-publishing companies do this, but reputable ones provide their authors with an ISBN and enable their book for distribution with online retailers. Some also have contacts or a good reputation with bookstore distributors and retailers and can help you get your book into places like that, too.

Assistance with marketing

Some companies offer marketing services, some don’t. It’s best to do your research when deciding on which company to go with. Green Hill offers marketing services on an hourly basis to our authors.

Back to Contents

2. It means having creative freedom

In the same vein as maintaining control, self-publishing also allows authors to exert control over the creative aspects of their publishing journey, both the book itself and the author’s “author persona”.

2.1 Control your book design

Only extremely established authors in the traditional publishing sphere have any kind of say over their book cover or typesetting design. On the other hand, self-published authors maintain control over the design of their book—both the cover and the typesetting.

This can happen in one of two ways:

  1. You can design your book yourself: If you have access to design software and an aptitude for design, you may be able to make your own book cover and typesetting. The Adobe Suite is best for this. If you do choose to DIY, however, make sure that you do your research and get in contact with your printer—they will need you to meet specific parameters.
  2. Hire a professional book designer: Whether you contract a freelance book designer or go through a self-publisher / hybrid publisher, having a professional, experience, and trade-educated book designer is always a good idea. This will mean that your book will be up to market quality and can compete with others in the genre. You’ll be able to give the designer a creative brief of what you want on the cover, and they will give you options and suggest great ideas that you might not have thought of.

2.2 Control your author persona

Many traditionally published authors are forced to have their social media accounts filtered by a marketing team. Meanwhile, as a self-published author, you have complete control over your author persona and how you present yourself to readers. More on this point later in point 4.

Back to Contents

3. It means having your book published quicker

Having your book published through traditional means could anywhere from 12 months and three years. This doesn’t even account for the time it takes to find and be accepted by a literary agent or the time it takes for a publisher to accept your manuscript for publishing. On the contrary, self-publishers and hybrid publishers are much quicker plus you don’t have to worry about finding a literary agent. If things go smoothly, you could be holding your book in 6-8 weeks—this is the timeline you’ll get with Green Hill Publishing. That is an undeniably more appealing timeline, right?

A short timeline like this can be especially important for those with ill loved ones, or businesses with strict deadlines that need to be met. It also means that you won’t have to wait a year or more to see your idea be fully realised and achieve the dream of being a published author.

Your timeline with self-publishing can be pushed out if you get editing, ghost writing, illustration, or other extra production services. However, if your self-publisher or hybrid publisher suggests these things, it’s usually for a reason. It’s up to you whether you decide to take it on board or not.

Back to Contents

4. It means getting to interact with your readership

To be in control of your author persona means that you are in charge of your social media, your book events, your launches, your website—everything. In doing this, you have the freedom to interact with your readers in your own way. You can interact with what people are posting about you as an author and your book, allowing you to answer their questions, pose your own, receive feedback, and interact with their creativity (e.g. fanart and fanfiction).

Self-published authors also have control over their own marketing. This includes promotional social media marketing, book launches and events, and author websites. When you have control over these aspects of your author persona, you can write your own blog posts, host your own livestreams and webinars, create videos and graphics, and use any number of other marketing strategies to ger your readers to interact with you and each other. This all means that you can present your author persona how you want—choosing your own aesthetic and strategies without the influence of a marketing team. This lets you show your readers the real you.

Doing all of this fosters a closer relationship between author and audience, building a community of loyal fans and helping you to appreciate your readers more.

Back to Contents

5. It means greater financial reward for authors

Typically, traditionally published authors only see a small percentage of their book’s profits. This can be around 10-15%. On the other hand, self-published authors receive a much higher percentage. If you put time into your publishing project—from the first spark of inspiration, to having a professionally edited and designed book, to organising printing, and finally to marketing—you as a self-published author could see 70% or more of your book’s profits. This is a much higher percentage and more fairly reflects the effort and work that you, the author, have put into your book.

For many authors, this means that their writing is funded and their career as an author is viable financially. While financial success is not guaranteed for authors—self-published and traditionally published alike—self-published authors not only receive more of their sales profits, they can better control their income and what they invest in, like publicists, agents, and their next publishing project.

Back to Contents

Most popular blog posts:

Interested in publishing your book but unsure where to start or what is even involved? Tell us about your project and we will post you a copy of our:


The Little Book of
Big Publishing Tips.


In just a quick 8,000 words, this little book will equip you with the knowledge you need to successfully publish your book.

The Little Book of Big Publishing tips goes into the essentials of self-publishing a book, outlining the business and financial side of publishing, legal issues, design, editing, sales and marketing. There's even a section on how to identify a vanity-publishing scam.