Why Did You Self-Publish?

The indie world is filled with writers publishing different things for different reasons.

A few weeks ago, someone who reads my articles over at Author Rescue asked me why people self-publish. We chatted a little. I gave her my own, but I told her there were tons of reasons.

What’s the most common?

I have no idea. I told her I wouldn’t even begin to guess. But, I’d ask. So, here it is. What is the primary reasons you decided to self publish? Please make sure if you comment to use the poll as well.


  1. Several of your listed reasons prompted my choice to self-publish. One, I did want to learn the process. I considered it important to my development as a professional. Two, I believe in indie publishing. I think the market will decide what’s good and bad–and that’s a good thing. Three, I wanted to get my stories out there. I do care about the money, but having control of my stories really appealed to me. Good questions!

  2. Oh, yay! Glad to see you included the “my stuff is too niche” option. I was encouraged by New York to self-publish, a number of years ago — before self-publishing was what it is today (before Kindle, in fact!).

  3. I voted ‘Other’ because in addition to wanting a little bit of freedom from publishers, deadlines, cover art I didn’t like, and wanting a larger share of the profit for my work, I had out of print stories that were languishing on my hard drive. Instead of having them collect virtual dust forever, they’re now producing hundreds of dollars of royalties a month.

    • It was a HUGE oversight to not have “backlist” on there – None of us thought of it when making the list. I’m excited to see so many authors taking advantage of that though!

  4. my first self published book (Video Editing) sold like hot cakes and I sold it to a traditional publisher It remained in print for 14 years. Sold other titles to them too. I self-published my first novel (Protecting the Source) cause no one would do it. Sold 1400 copies, there was about a weeks worth of movie interest in the story.
    Latest was a hoot. Had more fun writing it than any of the other titles. (Holly Would, But Stacy Won’t) Kindle and POD.

  5. Tempting to say “other” just because it’s a combination of things. Tired of rejections, being told my subject is too niche, and slowly growing to distrust the amount of control that you lose when you go traditional all factored in. Now that I can connect directly to my audience, I find that awesome!

  6. After what happened with the publisher that handled most of my work I wanted to be sure I had control over the whole process.

  7. I chose for fun. I didn’t expect anything when I first did it. Self Publishing was an experiment for me to see how it worked and how much money I could make without the help of a traditional publisher. I admit it’s been a positive experience and I have made money at it. It’s fabulous to be able to take my backlist as I get the rights back and to be able to upload them immediately and have the control to set my own price.

  8. viviennewestlake says

    I chose ‘other’ because several options fit me and the option “for greater control” wasn’t listed. My primary reason for choosing to self-publish my first book was to have greater control over my career. Money was also a huge factor for me and seeing my NY published friends struggling because one or more of their publishers closed a line or their agent or editor suddenly stopped returning emails/calls or had exceptionally long delays.

    Another reason for me is that I could set my own schedule and write at my own pace and at the length I choose. While I would have this freedom with many digital publishers, I decided not to go this route for multiple reasons.

    Also, when I first thought about writing my current book and self-publishing it, I was doing it for myself. It motivated me and I needed to take the next step in my career and actually put something out for people to read.

    Ultimately, all of these things boil down to the fact that I want writing to be my primary career and I plan to treat it like a business. Self-publishing made the most business sense for me at this stage in my career.

    • Thanks Vivienne – I do have a “greater control” added and you’re not alone!!! That and “backlist republication” were the two big misses when we made the list.


  9. I had six books published, but I wasn’t selling enough. I had no control over the price or over the book cover. Now I create my own book cover and set the price I want. At nintey-nine cents, I hope I can reach more readers.

  10. I also self-published for several reasons. NY rejected my books but I knew they were publishable quality and ready to go. I didn’t want to send them to small presses or epublishers because I wanted to earn more money than they usually generate, so self-publishing was the answer. I’m so glad I did!

  11. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. The impetus was a rejection from an agent who said, in effect, “I love it, I love the hero, I love the set-up, but I can’t market it.” I realized then that agents read submissions and run through their mental list of editors, trying to figure out who might consider it. My stuff (contemporary romances set in a fictional Philadelphia legal community – think “The Good Wife” with happy endings) isn’t what’s being published now.

    But I might not have gone the self-publishing route if it weren’t for my husband who’s a computer software developer with tons of skills that dovetail mine nicely. Pretty much all I need is a freelance editor (and I have a friend willing to moonlight from her job with a Big 6 publisher) and I’m good to go.

    Here’s the funny thing – once we made the decision, I started to think about other stuff our publishing company (I call it our “mom & pop publishing empire”) could handle, so we’re going to have a few authors in at least two distinct genres. I don’t want to be a publisher in the traditional sense, but I like the idea that our company isn’t just handling my niche romances.

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