The Downside to Self-Publishing

I’ve been looking at distribution through Barnes & Noble and Apple and I have to tell you, I can’t bring myself to do it. They won’t just write you a check for royalties. They want all your bank routing information to dump money into your bank account and they want a credit card number on the off chance that they need to charge you for returns.

Am I wrong for feeling creeped out by this?

While I’m sure places have a lot of financial information on me, just handing over that stuff and saying “I trust you! And your security!” just seems foolish.

So, I know I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of self-publishing, but, as things shake out, the drawbacks I see are that folks don’t take your publicity efforts seriously, that you don’t have the depth of knowledge to find places to distribute your book, and that companies want information from you, an individual, that requires you to take a disproportionate risk to what a company takes (meaning that, if I need to dispute an erroneous $5,000 charge to a credit card, the stakes in it not being resolved quickly are much higher for me as a regular person with a five figure income than it would be for a company).

Having someone you can turn the money hassles over to is not to be scoffed at, if that’s not your thing.

6 thoughts on “The Downside to Self-Publishing

  1. I’ve put my book up on both Amazon and B&N as ebooks and, like you, wasn’t thrilled with the B&N treatment.

    But, if I were a customer, it might be a good thing. I share your concern, but I decided to give it a try. If the sales aren’t worth it, I can always take it down.

    Like it or not, the distribution folks still have control.

  2. Yeah, that is the downside. I’m sure it’s one of those things that, in three years, I’ll be like “I don’t know why I thought this was such a big deal. I give everyone all my banking information and a credit card number and nothing bad has ever happened.”

    But this is just a hangup I have now. Can’t bring myself to do it.

  3. Hm. I don’t know much about incorporation, but I believe if you spent a little to make yourself a business (LLC) then your personal assets would not be so much at risk. In other words, you could use a business credit card. Lots of paperwork, though, and extra taxes.

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