The basic definition of assisted self-publishing is exactly what it sounds like – it’s self-publishing, with help. But the general category encompasses a lot of different services, and, just like traditional publishing, lone self-publishing, or any other way of getting your work out there to be read, it has its pros and cons.
You might want to shop around individually for each aspect of self-publishing you’d like to outsource, or you might want to choose a single company (like us!) that offers a selection of services in one place.
Isn’t this just a different name for vanity publishing?
There are a few key differences between assisted self-publishing services and vanity publishing.
One is control. With assisted self-publishing, you retain total control over and rights to your work, and you choose exactly which aspects of writing, publishing and promoting a book you would like to outsource.
Another is clarity. A good assisted self-publishing provider will always explain to you exactly what services you’re paying for, even if they’re part of a package.
Then there’s cost. Broadly speaking, assisted self-publishing is a lot more affordable than vanity publishing in spite of the fact that the service you receive is often of a higher standard.
What kinds of things come under the umbrella of assisted self-publishing?
Publishing a book involves many different skills, some of which you may already have, and others of which you might want to hire an expert for. Any service that contributes to the preparation or sale of your book counts as assisted self-publishing – from proofreading and writing cover copy to jacket design, formatting, distribution and promotion.
If you’re confident in your ability to self-publish, you might just pay for one or two essential services. If the world of self-publishing is entirely new to you and you’d like some support, you may want to look for a more complete package that takes some of the pressure off.
What are the advantages of assisted self-publishing?
Assisted self-publishing lets you balance control over your work with access to specialised expertise to help make it the best it can be.
All rights to your work belong to you, you have the final say in all decisions, and you can choose which parts you’re happy to do yourself while also reaping the benefits of, for instance, professional proofreading, cover design, social media support and marketing advice, all of which can help your book compete in a busy and vibrant market.
What are the drawbacks of assisted self-publishing?
Like all publishing – even traditional publishing with a big marketing budget – there are no guarantees. Assisted self-publishing cannot ensure that you sell a lot of books, make you instantly popular on social media, or get you great reviews.
On the whole, the drawbacks of assisted self-publishing are the same as for self-publishing generally – you don’t have access to the production and marketing power of bigger publishers, so it can be harder to stand out from the crowd. But it’s certainly not impossible, and assisted self-publishing can improve your chances of finding and attracting your target audience.
How do I decide what services I need?
A good provider of assisted self-publishing services will communicate with you to get a sense of what you’re hoping to achieve and what might help you reach that goal, and explain clearly what each of their services is for. If you’re not sure where to get started, just asking is a good bet – and don’t be afraid to question anything you don’t think you need. It’s your book and you’re the boss.
Each book is different, and each author has different requirements, but there are a couple of services that we think no author should be without. All books, no matter how well written, should be proofread before release, and unless you already have design skills and a good knowledge of cover trends, it’s always worthwhile to have a cover designed.
Beyond that, a lot depends on what shape your draft is in, your confidence with learning new technical skills and navigating social media, and how important it is to you to save time and effort.
Why choose assisted self-publishing?
There are many paths to publication, and assisted self-publishing is just one of them. It could be right for you if:
- Your work is difficult to get traditionally published – perhaps it straddles genres or can’t be pinned down to a genre, perhaps it explores experiences that are marginalised in mainstream publishing, perhaps it’s of an unusual length or about a niche topic.
- You’re keen to retain total control over your work and keep all of the proceeds when it sells.
- You would like to see your book available for sale quickly, without the long-ish lead time of most traditional publishing.
- You want a short print run for a particular purpose, but you still want a professional-looking book – for instance, you want to create a recipe book for family and friends, a history book mainly of interest in your local area, or a book of your collected blog posts to promote your business at an event.
- You’re already keen to self-publish and have done your research but you know you want to outsource certain elements
- You want to hold a book you’ve written in your hands and you’d like the process to be smooth and stress-free.
If you’re interested in assisted self-publishing, drop us a line using the Contact Us button on the left for a no-obligation chat.