Many authors self publish these days, that way they can avoid the hassle of dealing with editors, and slow moving corporations. Even some established authors have switched to self publishing because they have more control over their book and even their profits.
However self publishing is far from straight forward. This article is not intended to guide you through all the steps, but if you have already decided to self publish, this should help you make the decision about whether to self publish electronically (versus print). I will focus on three major factors: cost, logistics, and career.
Self publishing electronically is free. You do not have to pay any of the major sites. Barnes & Nobles, Smashwords, or Amazon, don’t charge anything up front. Instead you pay them with your profits. Depending on what site you use, and which options you choose, you could end up giving them between 30% and 70% of the money you make. 70% is very close to how much a traditional publishing company takes, but they are using the money to print your book and publicize it.
Publishing an e-book, means that you have to do your own publicity for that book in order to sell copies. Some of that publicity can be done for free, by setting up Facebook pages, starting Twitter accounts, as well as by giving away books, which does not cost you any money directly.
However people regularly spend upwards of $2,000 dollars to promote their e-books, in the hope that the book will take off. They spend this money on websites, conferences, promotional material, and any number of other things. But it is their choice to spend that money, you do not have to.
An E-book is logistically easier to handle than a print book, because there are so many well formed channels that make selling and purchasing an e-book easy. However not everyone reads e-books. There is still a large portion of the market that you will not even reach with an e-book, because they do not like reading on electronic devises.
In terms of career, it may not ultimately matter if you self publish first. Many self published authors have had long standing careers and even sign deals with traditional publishers. Books that were originally published electronically are published in hardcover or paperback by the main stream publishing company.
A lot of emphasis has been placed in the last year on e-book authors that later become even more successful through a more traditional publishing deal. Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James became a print bestseller long after it became an e-book best
In conclusion, self publishing an e-book can be a lot of work and very expensive, or free and easy (if you don’t put much energy into publicizing the book). Just make sure you self publish in a way that makes you happy. After all that’s the best part of self publishing. You get have control over the work you created.