(The first in an occasional series for new or new-ish authors)
If you’ve written, or are writing, your first book, you’re probably at least considering whether to self-publish. There are a lot of good reasons to go right ahead and do it, one of the main ones being that you get to keep more of the money your book might earn. However, you also get to to all of the work involved. most of all the work involved in promoting your book and getting people to buy and read it. If you have written a book, you want people to buy and read it.
Unfortunately there is no guarantee that they will, whether you self-publish or decide to aim for a traditional publishing deal. But a publisher will only take on your book if they think they can sell a fair few copies. And this is not necessarily a matter of how good your book might be: is it the kind of book that lots of people currently want?
If it could be classed as genre fiction the answer is ‘probably’ – but, at the same time, genre fiction is good to self-publish as well, and you’ll get to keep more of the money.
If it’s a non-fiction book about a subject you know a great deal about, you might do better with a publisher, if you can find one that publishes books on the same topic, or at least a related one. This publishing company specialises in history but the submissions page offers pretty good guidance on the way to submit any non-fiction book proposal to a relevant publisher.
Of course, if you have written a book about a specific aspect of a subculture you are already part of, particularly one which holds events that feature trading spaces and/or has an active social media community, once again, you could probably self-publish and… keep more of the money.
(I have self-published a few books and plan to do a few more…Though I have also worked with publishers.)