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  • Writer's pictureAmy Guan

Debunking 3 Myths about Self-Publishing

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Don’t let these common myths turn you away from publishing your book yourself.

Aerial view of closed books
Photo Credit: Dom J | Pexels

In the past, self-publishing just wasn’t a thing. And even though self-publishing is getting more and more popular, a lot of myths have stuck around. Check out these three common self-publishing myths and see why they just aren’t true.


1. People only self-publish because their work isn’t good enough to be picked up by a traditional publisher.

This is one of the more common myths about self-publishing. Your book just wasn’t good enough or else it would have been picked up by a publisher, right? Wrong.

Publishers always have one eye on the market and how much potential profit they could make from the books they acquire. So, they may pass on a book because it doesn’t fit their target market or they don’t think the book will sell. It’s not always about the quality of a book. Just think about some of the Youtubers or celebrities who get massive book deals and their books are . . . well, not good. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter manuscript was turned down by 12 publishers before getting picked up, and we all know how great those books are. So, if your book is declined by a publishing firm, it may be that it doesn’t fit their target audience. Or it may be that the publishing firm doesn’t think it lines up with their marketing strategy.


2. Self-published books don’t make money.

Ever heard the book-turned-movie The Martian? How about Eragon? (Let’s just pretend the Eragon movie doesn’t exist, shall we . . .) Did you know these books were originally self-published? It’s true! And they were definitely successful. Quality books find readers, no matter how they are published.

Publishing through a traditional publisher is not a guarantee of huge financial success. And self-publishing doesn’t mean you won’t see any money—that’s the nature of the publishing world.

It is true that making money through self-publishing takes more work and marketing on your end than if your book had been published through a publishing firm. But it’s definitely possible to self-publish a successful book. And as more readers turn to eBooks or digital marketplaces over traditional bookstores, self-published books have found even more success.


3. Self-publishing is easy.

Nope! Let me clarify: Self-publishing a quality book is not easy. There’s the editing, the revising, the formatting, the designing, the marketing. There’s a lot of work that goes into publishing a book.

One of the hardest aspects of self-publishing is finding those people who will help you take your manuscript and get it ready for publication. Writers should hire a professional and supportive editor who will help resolve any issues with plot, grammar, and punctuation. Writers should also seek out companies or people who will lay out their books for publishing, design an eye-catching cover, and help the author form and carry out a marketing plan. These steps are all very important to creating a successful and professional book. And each of these steps will require significant research. Self-published or not, expect to spend time and money on your book.


Don’t feel held back from self-publishing because you think you won’t be successful. These myths are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning what is and what isn’t true about self-publishing. Do your research and see if it’s right for you.

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