Self Publishing vs. Finding a Publisher – Which is Right for Your Book?

It seems like everyone has a book out today. If not in the bookshelves of your local store, then at least a pdf version online. I even have a few books of my own that I’ve written and released over the years.

However, with more and more people moving towards digital readers and the demand for paper back books on a sharp decline, the future of writing and publishing books is changing more and more every day. In the past you would need to get a publisher, write a book and send it out to a million companies and then have to sign one of their horrible contracts that ends up making you no money in the end… now everything has changed.

One of my good friends, Jim Kukral, has been boasting about the future of publishing for years now. Having his own published hard cover book in stores, then self publishing many new books over the past couple of years and getting them all listed on Amazon, Jim knows a thing or two about the pros and cons of self publishing versus finding a publisher. If you’ve even been to Affiliate Summit, you will most likely have met with him or noticed him as the announcer and Emcee for the event.

I sent over a bunch of questions for Jim to answer, and to help everyone who ever thought about writing a book of their own, but simply didn’t know where to start.

1.) Tell us about yourself and how the world of self publishing and digital books are changing everything.

I had my first traditionally published book called Attention! released by Wiley in 2010. It was shortly after that experience that I realized that self-publishing was the only way to go. The entire model has shifted. You don’t need an agent or a publisher to write and market and sell books anymore. As a matter of fact, it’s easier and better to do without them.

2.) How easy or hard is it to get a self published book listed on Amazon?

Too easy. Anyone can have a book up on Amazon in 24 hours or less. You just log in and upload your manuscript and cover and choose a price and put in your description, and… well, it’s really that easy. And you can make up to 70% on every book sold if you price it according to Amazon’s rules. That certainly beats out the measly 17.5% commission you get from a traditional book deal.

3.) What is the best process for taking an idea, writing out content and making it into a book?

It’s just like any type of content. Figure out who the target audience is, and what their biggest problems are. Then solve them. In this case, just do it in book form. Give them high-quality, helpful advice and strategies and answers to their biggest problems. You can answer questions about your industry right? You can sit down with a potential customer and give them helpful advice, right? Then there’s no reason you can’t write that in a book, is there?

4.) What are the benefits to self publishing over finding a publisher?

The list is too long to cover. Here are just a few. 1. Ownership. When you sign with a traditional publisher, you sign away the rights to your content, usually for decades. That means you can’t do anything with your content that they don’t want you to. Does that sound like a good business decision? 2. Commissions. I previously mentioned this. If you go with a traditional publisher, you earn almost nothing on your books, and of course, you also only start earning on your books until after the first run of books is sold. So it could be years before you ever see a commission. There are so many other reasons. Check out my book called Write A F*$%’ing Book Already for more at

5.) Will self publishing a book on Amazon give you the same exposure and credibility as a paper back?

It’ll give you more actually. Because digital books are more easily bought and read and distributed. But you can do both. Just put the digital version up, then also have the print on demand version done as well. Let the reader decide what they want to buy. Look, a book is a book, period.

6.) Why would someone posting a free pdf book on Amazon versus building a mailing list off their own site?

If you’re on Amazon you can’t make your book free. If you choose to enroll in their Select program, you can make your book free for five days every 90-days, but that’s it. So that’s good for promotion, but if you want to make it totally free all the time, you can’t do that on Amazon. Depends on what your strategy is.

7.) Why are some books listed for free on Amazon, while others cost money?

See what I said above. The advantage of using Select with free promo days is you can have your book shoot up the free lists and get tons of downloads. If you are using the book as a lead generator, that’s good news because the more your book gets in the hands of potential customers, the better it is for your business.

8.) Of all the books you have on Amazon, it looks like one of your recent books “Write A F*$%’ing Book Already – The Insider’s Guide To Increasing Your Sales & Improving Your Career With A Book ” is getting the most attention. What have you learned through writing this book, and what feedback have you been getting from your readers?

People want fast, helpful, inspirational, no-nonsense guides to doing stuff. Don’t waste people’s time. Write concise books that help and motivate people into action and that help them immediately.

9.) You already have a ton of books on Amazon, what are your future plans for writing and in the online book industry?

I plan on having 25-30 books for sale within the next 3-4 years. Successful authors have told me that if you want to make money as an author, this is what you have to do. You have to write a lot of books. Rarely does a one-time author make a career off of book profits.

10.) What’s your favorite digital reader… Amazon Kindle Fire of Apple iPad?

I love my iPad, using the Kindle app. But what a lot of people don’t realize is the Kindle app is free and can be downloaded and used on all kinds of devices. For example, you can read Kindle books on your PC or Mac, you don’t even need an eReader.

If you have any other questions about self publishing versus finding a publisher, or anything else relating to writing your own book, be sure to leave your questions and comments below. Jim will be reviewing and answering all comments.

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  1. You’re spot on. Self-publishing is so much better and has so many more benefits, especially for small marketers.

    I’m not sure about the credibility issue. I do think many people have the perception that a self-published book is somehow “lower” than a traditional book. But how many people ask “who’s your publisher?” 🙂

    1. Times are changing… anyone can publish a book these days, though I still feel a solid paperback in the stores can do wonders for making your name and brand even bigger. That can be the difference between going with a publisher and not.

    1. There are a few Amazon ebook writers that have sold over 1 million ebooks, and they have also created books on how they have done it. Be sure to search around for these on Amazon.

  2. thank you for this. if you've published anything about finding an agent who DOESN'T take you up for his "final job before retirement" only to bail on you after a few months of sitting around and doing nothing but gulfing in Philippines, i would love to hear! i mean read it!
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  3. Zac Johnson posting about self-publishing. Well done on covering the correct questions Zac. I haven't heard of Jim before, but I'll definitely check him out. He's the emcee at the affiliate summit, right? I like the title 'Write a book already' and love the fact that the affiliates is getting wind of this.
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  4. There is a lot of discussion going on lately about the difference that self publishing has over traditional publishing. There is also a lot of vested interests screaming to maintain the status quo. These traditional publishers, editors, agents and distributors are aware that self-publishing digitally is more financially rewarding for an author than the small percentage that eventually flows down to the author who published via traditional means.

    1. That's true. There is a huge difference between self publishing and on traditional.
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  5. I didn't know about the Amazon Select program. I have created several free eBooks in the past but would like the additional exposure on Amazon.

    My recent post New BOGO Glade Sense & Spray & Plug-Ins Scented Oil Refill Coupons on

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