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Why Self-Publishing is Better Than Other Side Hustles

Maximizing Your Income

From dog walking to freelance writing, there's no shortage of ways to make a little extra cash these days. The problem is these side hustles don't work for busy people, and the return isn't always all that great. That's where self-publishing comes in!

Why Self-Publishing is Better Than Other Side Hustles
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If you're looking for a side hustle that offers more control, flexibility, and earning potential, self-publishing is the way to go.

Unlike other side hustles where you're at the mercy of clients or customers, you get to be your own boss. Plus, with the rise of eBooks and print-on-demand technology, it's easier than ever to get your work out there.

The icing on the cake? According to the Alliance of Independent Authors, self-published authors earn more per sale than those who work exclusively with traditional publishers. And with the ability to set your own prices and keep a higher percentage of the profits, the earning potential is even greater.

Stick around 'till the end of the blog post, and you'll see why self-publishing is better than the other alternatives.

Fast forward to the part where you start making money online. Check out our free Amazon mastery webinar!

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing...What's Better?

If you're considering publishing a book, you have the option of self-publishing or going through the traditional publishing route. While working with a traditional publishing house has its advantages, self-publishing is becoming the norm across the publishing industry for more reasons than one.

Here are some pros and cons as to why you might choose self-publishing over working with traditional publishing companies.

Creative Control

When you self-publish, you have the complete creative control over your book. Unlike the traditional publishing process, where editors and publishers may request changes to fit their market or preferences, self-publishing allows you to present your work exactly as you envision it. This freedom empowers you to develop your unique style and make decisions concerning the book's content, cover design, and formatting.

With self-publishing, you choose the:

  • Title and subtitles
  • Chapter headings and organization
  • Cover design and layout
  • Interior design and fonts
  • Launch date 
  • Pricing and promotion strategy

This level of control also gives you the freedom to pivot, work with other people, or adjust timelines whenever you want. 

Ownership Rights

Traditionally published authors often sign over their rights to their books. When self-publishing, you retain full ownership rights over your own books. This means you can decide how your self-published book is distributed, marketed, and sold. Having ownership rights also enables you to:

  1. Go after your ideas without literary agents gatekeeping the publishing process.
  2. Keep 100% of the royalties earned from your book sales.
  3. Set your own publication timeline without waiting for traditional publishers' schedules.
  4. Make updates or revisions to your book as needed without needing approval from others.
  5. Tap into a global market at the touch of a button.

Higher Royalties

Through a traditional book deal, you may receive an advance payment, but you'll typically earn a much smaller percentage of royalties from your book sales. With self-publishing, on the other hand, you can earn up to 70% of the royalties from your book sales from the get-go. 

In the world of self-publishing, higher royalties translate to:

  • More money in your pocket for each sale
  • Greater control over pricing and promotion strategies
  • A more direct connection between the publisher's efforts and earnings

Traditional publishing works, sure. But self-publishing works better.

Passive Income Potential

Another major advantage of self-publishing over other side hustles is the potential for true passive income. Once you've gone through the work and published your book, it can continue to generate income for you without any additional work on your part. 

This is because, unlike many side hustles that require your constant attention, self-publishing allows your work to be available for sale 24/7, earning you money even while you sleep...or travel...or even take three months off from work to do nothing at all.

Here are some factors that contribute to the passive income potential of self-publishing:

  1. Online bookstores and marketplaces: Platforms like Amazon KDP and Draft2Digital provide a global reach, letting your book be discovered by readers around the world.
  2. Longevity: Books often have a long shelf life, and well-written books can generate income for years without the need for constant updates or revisions.
  3. Scalability: As you publish more books, your potential income streams increase, allowing you to capitalize on the collective success of your entire catalog.

Ease of Distribution

Self-publishing also offers the advantage of easy distribution. When you work with a traditional publisher, your book may only be available through physical bookstores and a limited number of online retailers. With self-publishing, you can sell your book on Amazon and other online bookstores and marketplaces, making it available to a much wider audience. These retailers and distributors also take inventory management and shipping completely off your plate, which can help you reach more readers and increase your book sales.

Self-Publishing as a Side Hustle

Let's look at some more of the perks of independent publishing versus going the traditional publishing route.

Flexible Schedule

Unlike other side hustles that may require a specific time commitment, self-publishing allows you to work on your project at your own pace. You can dedicate as much or as little time as you want, depending on your availability and personal goals. This is especially beneficial if you have a full-time job or other responsibilities (like being a parent).

For example, you can spend:

  • Weekends working on your manuscript (or partnering with a ghostwriter)
  • Early mornings before work for editing and revising (or investing in experienced editors)
  • Evenings for marketing and promotion (or working with a marketing company)

The point is you are in control of your schedule, allowing you to maintain a work-life balance while pursuing your passion for publishing (and making money online).

Easy Entry

Another advantage of self-publishing is the easy entry into the world of publishing compared to the traditional route. There's no need for you to go through the often lengthy and competitive process of finding a literary agent or publishing house to accept your work. 

Self-publishing platforms like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Draft2Digital offer user-friendly interfaces that make it simple to upload and publish your work for free!

Here are some key benefits of these platforms:

  • No upfront costs to publish your eBook, audiobook, hardcover, or print books
  • Set your own prices and keep a larger share of royalties (up to 70% of every book sold)
  • Access book marketing tools to expand the reach of your published books

These platforms are open to anybody. You don't need a degree to self-publish! Check out our list of top self-publishing companies to work with.

Leveraging Existing Skills

Self-publishing also allows you to leverage your existing skills. If you're a writer, editor, or proofreader, you can use those skills to create a book that reflects your unique perspective and style. Additionally, if you have experience in marketing or promotion, you can use those skills to help promote your book and build your brand.

Some students of ours worry that they don't have any transferable skills that would help them build a publishing business, but that's simply not true! If you're a parent, you've probably had to learn a lot of multitasking. If you're a college student, you've probably had to learn a lot about discipline.

These are all skills that can be put towards crafting high-quality self-published books!

Marketing and Promotion Strategies for Self-Published Authors

As a self-published author, you are responsible for marketing and promoting your book. If this sounds overwhelming or confusing, just remember that there are thousands of indie authors and publishers out there, from New York to Idaho, who started with ZERO knowledge or experience. 

You don't have to be perfect. If you just create something of high quality that people will actually want to read, the rest will fall into place.

Here are some effective strategies to help you get your book in front of your target audience.

Leverage Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you connect with your readers and promote your book. Start by establishing your social media presence on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (or X these days), and Instagram. Share updates about your book, engage with your followers, and build relationships with other indie authors and publishers in your niche.

Consider running social media ads to reach a wider audience. You can target your ads to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors to ensure that your message is reaching the right people.

Build a Website and Email Newsletter

Building a website is an excellent way to establish your author brand and promote your book. Your website should include information about yourself, your book, and where readers can purchase it. You can also use your website to host a blog where you can share updates, behind-the-scenes insights, and other content that your readers will find valuable.

An email newsletter is another powerful marketing tool that can help you stay connected with your readers. Encourage readers to sign up for your newsletter by offering exclusive content, such as sneak peeks, bonus chapters, or freebies. Later, you can use this email list to connect with beta readers for future book releases or gain more book reviews.

Give Paid Advertising a Try

Consider running ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. You can also use Google AdWords to target readers who are searching for books in your genre.

When running ads, be sure to target your audience carefully and use eye-catching visuals and copy to grab their attention. Keep in mind that advertising can be expensive, so be sure to set a budget and track your results carefully.

Comparing Self-Publishing to Other Side Hustles

Actors, entrepreneurs, business owners, moms, and dads are always looking for ways to supplement their income…but most side hustles are really just dead ends!

In this section, we'll compare self-publishing to other popular side hustles to help you decide which one is the best fit for you.

Freelancing and Online Platforms

Freelance writing, editing, designing, accounting, and offering other skills can be a great way to earn some extra cash on the side. However, finding clients and building a portfolio can be time-consuming and challenging. Online platforms like Fiverr and Upwork can help you find clients, but the competition is fierce, and the pay can be low.

Online Courses and Tutoring

Teaching online courses or tutoring can be a rewarding side hustle, especially if you have expertise in a particular subject and like meeting new people. Platforms like Udemy can help you find students, but you'll need to create high-quality content and market your courses to stand out from the crowd.

E-commerce and Product-focused Side Hustles

Selling products online through platforms like eBay, Shopify, or Amazon has become a lot more common, but actually finding success with it is pretty much one in a million these days. You'll need to invest time and money in sourcing products, creating listings, and handling shipping and customer service. Plus, competition is high, and it can be challenging to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Self-Publishing a Book

Compared to other side hustles, self-publishing a book is much less stressful and much more lucrative for many reasons. First, each book is a one-time effort that can continue to generate passive income for years to come. Second, you’re in charge 24/7 with no one else to answer to. You don't need to invest a lot of money upfront, and there are many resources available to help you along the way. (Hint: Like the blog you're on right now).

If you're looking for a firsthand account of what’s possible with publishing, just ask Rasmus Mikkelsen, one of our co-founders. While he was trying out drop shipping, his brother, Christian Mikkelsen, gave self-publishing a try on a whim. Self-publishing went on to make the Mikkelsen Twins more than all of their other side hustles combined in less than 6 months.

And our Student Success Hub is filled with hundreds of success stories from everyday people.

Challenges and Solutions in Self-Publishing

Unfortunately, you can't just hit a button and print money (though self-publishing is about as close as it gets these days). It will take work to publish a book and distribute your book, but in this industry, you have a say in the rewards you reap. 

Wanna pay for an extra date night each month with your husband? Easy. Wanna retire early? Yep, you can do that, too.

Here are some of the common challenges you may encounter as a self-published author and some solutions to overcome them.

Investment and Budgeting

Depending on how quickly you want to scale your publishing business and how big your financial goals are, you may need to pay for professional coaching or outsource some of the publishing process, like your marketing efforts. 

To budget for your self-publishing venture, you can create a spreadsheet to track your expenses and income. You can also consider crowdfunding or applying for grants to help cover some of the costs.

Finding Your Niche

To stand out in the crowded self-publishing market, you need to find your niche and target audience. This can be a challenge, but niche books are the most profitable on the market, so the time it takes to conduct your customer and competitor research is worth it.

To find your niche, you can research popular genres and sub-genres, read reviews of similar books, and survey your target audience. Once you've found your niche, you can tailor your book's content, cover design, and marketing strategy to appeal to your ideal reader.

Professional Editing and Cover Design

Professional editing and cover design are crucial to producing a quality book that stands out in the market. However, hiring professionals can be expensive. To save money, you can consider working with freelance editors and designers, joining Facebook groups to exchange feedback, and learning basic design skills. 

You can also use free design tools and templates to create your book cover through AI tools and websites like Dall-E, Midjourney, or Canva.

Marketing Strategies

In self-publishing, marketing is how you get your book to gain traction among new readers.

Here are some actionable marketing strategies you can follow:

  • Create engaging content, such as blog posts, related to your book's topic.
  • Collaborate with influential bloggers, podcasters, and social media influencers in your niche.
  • Offer giveaways, discounts, or free samples of your book to generate interest.
  • Build a solid review base from readers to build credibility and encourage word of mouth.
  • Network with fellow self-publishers to cross-promote each other's works.

Cover Design

An eye-catching cover design will attract potential readers' attention like a magnet. A confusing or sloppy cover will do the opposite. Although self-publishing provides you full creative control, it also places the responsibility of designing the cover on your shoulders.

Consider these tips when designing your book cover:

  1. Striking the Right Balance: Finding the sweet spot between too plain and overly complex can be tough. Solution: Research covers in your genre for inspiration. Consider using design tools like Canva or Adobe Spark for templates that help maintain balance.
  2. Quality Imagery: High-quality, relevant images are often expensive or hard to find. Solution: Explore royalty-free image websites like Unsplash or Pixabay, or consider investing in custom illustrations and photography for a unique look.
  3. Typography: Choosing the right font and layout can be surprisingly tricky. Solution: Look at successful covers in your genre to understand common typography choices. Tools like Font Squirrel can be useful for finding unique, free fonts.
  4. Color Scheme Selection: Picking colors that complement each other and suit your book's tone is the key to making a good first impression. Solution: Use color palette generators like Coolors or Adobe Color to find appealing color schemes.
  5. Professional Look vs. DIY: Many self-publishers struggle to achieve a professional look on their own. Solution: If budget allows, hiring a professional designer can be a worthwhile investment. Alternatively, seek feedback from writer and reader communities to refine your DIY design.
  6. Back Cover and Spine Design: It’s easy to overlook these elements, but they can make your book really stand out. Solution: Ensure the back cover and spine are consistent with the front cover in terms of style, color, and typography. Don’t forget to include a compelling blurb and author bio on the back cover.

If you hit a snag on your publishing journey, then congrats! You’re human. 

There aren’t a lot of ways to fail at self-publishing, but the one way to guarantee failure is to stop trying. 

Anyone Can Publish a Book

Not sure this path could work for you? These three case studies might change your mind. None of these people had any publishing experience whatsoever, but self-publishing has completely changed their lives.

Kristen had to overcome a lot of challenges with her mindset, routine, and schedule, but she was able to transition from teaching college and counseling to coaching her readers (and making money from it)! She never would have thought any of this was possible if you asked her five years ago.

Karmanjot went from working two jobs to publishing his first book by accident. It wasn't long until it completely replaced his full-time income, and he started coaching others to help them leave their unfulfilling jobs, too.

This married couple of 15 years was about as busy as you can be with two kids, jobs, and other responsibilities. Hear about how they handled the stress and transition to building their own brand!

Take Your Income Into Your Own Hands

Who needs a traditional publishing deal when you can publish your book your own way on your own time? And you don't need to figure out everything out on your own. We've already done that for you!

Our co-founders, The Mikkelsen Twins, went through years of trial and error to get it right. Publishing.com now offers the step-by-step blueprint to self-publish your book without the costly mistakes amateurs are sometimes prone to.

We teach you:

-How to find the most profitable ideas on the market

-How to make sure your book outline is optimized

-How to connect with readers all over the world to snag those 5-star reviews

-How to scale your publishing business to 6-figures and beyond (if that's what you want to do)

It all starts with one free webinar. Join thousands of other freedom-seekers in crafting the life you want today!

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