hi guys so today's video is going to be a list of reasons why I decided to go down the self-publishing route rather than the traditional publishing route there are a fair amount of misconceptions about both options and there's definitely a ton of work involved regardless of which option and author chooses to go with but I personally decided to go with self-publishing because the main reason being the freedom that comes with it I'm not gonna do a side-by-side comparison of both of them I'd have an older video where I do that if you're interested in hearing that but I will give some context so that my decision and anybody that's also in this position where they having to decide makes a little more sense first for most people who want to traditionally publish they have to get an agent wearing an agent is generally what it's called when you're trying to seek an agent out and have them represent you and it can be very very overwhelming it could be very time-consuming and very stressful for a lot of authors once they get an agent for most people that's so so exciting but that does not mean that they have a guaranteed a book deal because then the agent has to work on their behalf to try to get them signed with a publishing house this process can take years and beyond that agents and publishing houses are going to sign the people that they think will make them money so even if you have the best story idea in the world and it's clear through your queering that you are a talented individual and that your story is very good and well-written even if all that is true if at the time that you're trying to get your book published it just doesn't seem like the right time for it to sell and it doesn't come across as oh this is gonna make me money for the agent and the publishing house you could miss it there's a reason of course that when a Stephenie Meyer wrote the Twilight books and they blew up all of a sudden there were so many other vampire stories and that's true nowadays I think of fairy tale retellings I think that's true of fairy and face stories but when somebody has to query an agent the way it works is you don't send them your entire book agents do not have the time to read your entire book to see just how original your story is they get sent you send them a little thing summarizing the book you let them know what your qualifications are that's kind of gist of a query letter and then you send them a sample and that sample is a couple of pain and while I have a lot of faith in agents and publishing companies in finding really good material out there and finding really awesome and unique stories I just don't like the idea of having to wait and put in all this effort to convince somebody that my book is worth telling based off of a couple of pages of it when in the end after all the work I've put into it they're gonna make money off of me if you know absolutely nothing about how payments usually work in the publishing industry just a quick little gist of it is that the agent will make 15% and then the publishing house pays the author an advance so let's say they paid you a $10,000 advance then when the book starts to sell you don't actually get any royalties until that advance has been met so really the publishing house is making that money back and then they continue to make money after that and then you get a very small percentage of the royalties so that's what I mean when I say I don't necessarily like the idea of working really hard to have those people tell me yes your story is worth selling only to have them make money off of me there are of course reasons why a lot of authors still choose to do the traditional publishing route even though I'm making it sound kind of like a bad thing a lot of times if it's a series you're gonna get money after that you are gonna get royalties and then once you've kind of got your foot in the door you're more likely to get other book ideas signed a lot of people also feel that the traditionally publishing route just has so much more prestige to it that people take books more seriously if it's got one of the publishing houses stamped on it somewhere I absolutely agree with that actually I even though I'm choosing to self publish I think that the self-published community of authors out there unfortunately a lot of their works are saturated with not the best content it is incredibly easy now to self publish a book it's not incredibly easy to be a successful self-published author but it's very easy to get your book print it out in some kind of form and say hey look I wrote a book because of this it is unfortunate but I do think that right now there are better books in the traditionally published realm doesn't mean they're all fantastic but your chances of picking up a really awful book that's being sold in a bookstore are generally lesser than if you picked up a book in the same genre that's self-published and I hate saying that but uh that's just my opinion and it's what I think despite this I still think the pros for self-publishing outweigh the cons when it comes to some of the other things that I really want in the book that's also where I'm getting at when I say I like the freedom that comes with self-publishing for example I like having a say and what the cover looks like although I think it's getting a better it's really embarrassing to walk down the aisle of adult fantasy in a bookstore and see how many covers have scantily clad women whose chests are just like smashed up and together and they're holding a sword or bow and arrow and they're just they have no practical armor on and you're like well is that and I just hate the idea of working so hard on a book I mean heck I know who we're not supposed to judge books by their covers but I touched those books hard well yeah I just hate the idea of working so incredibly hard on a fantastic story and amazing character development and a cool magic system and all the things that make a great fantasy book only to have somebody else have a bigger say and what gets plastered on the cover and displayed in bookstores and that's a quite extreme example but there are other covers that I just they could be beautiful but if it's not what I want it's not what I want and it's my book and maybe that's too unselfish but I just hate I hate the idea that somebody else gets to tell me no and get to tell me like we know what's best for what we'll make money because I'm not out to make a ton of money I'm out to tell a good story going along with that many of you know that there's going to be my character art in the book there is going to be monster art that my monster artist did and there's going to be a lot of extras at the beginning of every chapter there's just a lot of other really fun elements that I wanted to include in the first edition I think there are beautiful 10th anniversary editions out there or there are really cool special editions that come out but I wanted the first edition of my book to be pretty much its best that's not to say that maybe someday there won't be a really cool awesome edition of the book that comes out but I want the first edition to be awesome I wanted to be amazing I wanted to include all those extra cool little details that I as a reader really enjoy in books I know a lot of you really enjoy seeing them in books and while I'm very aware that this is something that is going to cost a little extra because it's more to print and it means extra pages I'm okay with that but I don't like that somebody else that's higher up would be okay with that and they would get to decide that for me basically I'm a control freak they're also just elements within the book that have to do with the writing and the storytelling that I'm not a particularly big fan of for instance sometimes publishing houses will tell new authors to make the first book in what they're hoping will be a series sometimes they will tell them hey can you make the first book and a little bit more in a complete fashion so that that way if your book doesn't do so well we can just sell it as a standalone this is why sometimes you will read a book that you think is fantastic and you'll wonder wait is there a sequel I mean it felt pretty wrapped up but is there gonna be another one and you won't find out for awhile and that's because everybody else in the publishing company is waiting to see how well the book does before they sign for sure the rest of the books in the series and sometimes worst case scenario the books don't make the publishing house as much money as they were hoping and what they'll do sometimes is they will hold on to that person's contract so they're not allowed legally to release their book they're not allowed to release it on their own they're not allowed to release it through another publishing company and they have to wait the author has to wait until they get the rights back to those books to then sell them on their own or try to sign with another publishing company and sometimes they're really successful and other times the publishing house completely ruins their career some people think that this does not happen very often they think that this is just some kind of outlier problem that most people don't face but here's a tweet from ve Schwab who most people have heard about if they're fans of fantasy and it says I wish publishing would stop overpaying untested debuts thus condemning most to a series of harsh reality checks and punishing the majority who couldn't live up to their inflated and unrealistic expectations I certainly don't want to deter anybody who wants to have their books traditionally published I think it's a huge accomplishment and there's so many barriers that people who traditionally published have to cross over and get through in order to have their book published that for the most part usually their books are pretty darn good maybe not always – everybody's liking but you know that they're gonna have gone through things that ultimately a good product for me it really came down to the amount of freedom that I have to do I want with my book to put in what I want with the content and to deliver it in the way in which I want to deliver it it of course helps that I have all of you all of you have been so supportive throughout this whole process I have so appreciated all of the kind things that you all have to say I love your enthusiasm and your excitement for the book so of course as always a huge thank you to all of you thanks so much for watching have a great rest of your day and I'll see you all later bye


  1. I have self-published too. If you have written a book and you feel confident about it and are willing to do the work then I recommend self-publishing it

  2. How the hell can you judge a book by just reading the first couple of pages? Crime & Punishment doesn't get interesting until page 72!

  3. Thank you for your video mam. I totally agree with you. I wanna self- publish my book too. Could you please tell me how to add testimonials to my book while self-publishing?

  4. Elliot Brooks, I am from New York City I would like to self-publish my novel. Do you know any writers or agencies in New York who can help me self-publish my novel? Thanks

  5. If it takes more than 3 years for the agent to find a publisher, wouldn't that mean they are bad at their job? V.E. Schwab is wrong to blame the publishing companies. Say by some miracle, they offer you $50k for your book. It's up to the author and their agent to be smart and negotiate to bring that offer down to a more realistic amount.

  6. what a great video! you mentioned some things I didn't know about and I completely understand why you prefer self publishing ^^ I'm sure you'll be very successful x

  7. A very coherent and well rounded video 🙂 I can definitely see the merits to both paths and it totally depends on the individual. Sadly I've had the worst luck with reading self published novels :S There are amazing ones out there, but also plenty that feel under-edited. Mind you, you can say the same thing about some traditionally published novels 😛 It sounds like you're putting in a tonne of effort into making your novel the best it can be! Can't wait to read it

  8. This was really informative and interesting. Your book is something you brought to life, so it would make sense you want to have complete control.

  9. I totally respect and understand your decision to self-publish. I think they are tons of pros and cons to each side, and it all just comes to down to the author and what they are most comfortable with–which is the most important thing. I also have seen (particularly in fantasy) so many fantastic self-published books comes out these past few years, and a few of my favorite books this year have actually been self-published! It's entirely possible to have high quality "traditionally-published" quality books in self-pub. I wish you the best! 🙂

  10. None of that makes you selfish! It's YOUR book and I totally understand why you'd want more say and control over it. … I would too.

  11. That is some great info you provided Elle, I have not read a lot of self published books. I think this book series will be really successful for you.

  12. My son showed me, and I was surprised by, how many popular books that have been published lately that were actually on Wattpad first!! I don't know how that works but think that's great.
    I wish you all the success in the world and look forward to buying your book bc it just genuinely sounds like a book I'd like to read!
    Thank you for explaining all of that! I had no idea..I'm not a writer but my 15 year old son is a budding writer so I'm grateful for this information that I can pass on to him!

  13. I feel like the traditional publishing route has more and better support for significantly less cost which is a huge plus to me. You do end up having to do more work up front than “back in the day.” The lack of control does get overblown as well if you see what traditional published authors have to say. I also don’t trust myself to have the fullest sense of what’s best since other people do all of this for a living. Things like not being able to switch publishers or go online are things you can work out in the contract as well; they’re not automatic.
    Not that your decision is wrong, but misinformation abounds with this one.

  14. I learned so much from this, Elliot! I genuinely did not know about any of this! Is there a place you recommend to look for self published authors for adult fiction that I could check out?

  15. it totally makes sense that you decided to self publish so you could have more creative control! i love how thoroughly you discussed this and all the rationale behind this. i can def see this video being very helpful to other authors who are debating between self publishing versus traditional 🙂

  16. I’m so glad you made this video. I also chose to self publish and even though I like having more freedom, it still scares me that people will think my work is amateurish or that I’m never going to have the same prestige as traditionally published authors. I’ve done my research and I really respect indie authors like you who go above and beyond to make their books look professional and handle their marketing. Self publishing does have its cons, but I just couldn’t live with myself if my book didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it.

  17. Girl you don't need to defend your decision to self publish! I'm glad you're doing your own thing and you feel so passionate about it 🙂 also I noticed you have malice by john gwynne on your shelf have you read it yet? It's a series I just finished and really enjoyed 🙂 xx

  18. uhhh I can't wait to buy your book!!!!! I'm getting super into epic fantasy lately and your story sounds incredible! ❤️❤️❤️

  19. I feel like fewer people see self-publishing as something inferior these days. Knowing how much money comes into the publisher's pocket vs the author is one of the main reasons why it seems smart to do the work yourself if you have the time, money and knowledge.
    Personally, I'm in such a turmoil over this and have no idea what's going to be better for my novel. Writing a debut especially contributes to self-doubt because if someone professional had not stamped it with their approval can I really be confident that it's a good book?

  20. You voice the reasons why I'm self-publishing my book series. TradPub has its place as some authors like having the support offered. From what I've seen IndiePub is harder because we have to go out on a tightrope alone. I like the challenge.

  21. If you ever need advice, reach out to Michael J. Sullivan. He jumps back and forth between major publishers and self publishing. His current series is set for 6 books and he’s self publishing the final three.


  22. Oh I totally judge books by their covers but I also judge them by their words lol

    I know what you mean about traditionally publishing but I still plan on going that way because I don’t care as much about some of those things. Generally though I do think the traditional publishing horror stories happen much less than people think they do. It just when they happen they are much louder… if that makes sense.

    I personally am choosing to go traditional route because of distribution and because I don’t want to do all the self publishing stuff… create cover, format… etc

  23. I totally try not to buy books on there cover, but I know it influences me… If you can believe this, I saw Pierce Browns Red Rising in the bookstores for over a year and passed it over because the Cover was so Plain. it wasn't until word of mouth forced my hand. CAN YOU IMAGINE IF I PASSED UP ON RED RISING!!!. That's what I'm hoping happens with your book. more word of mouth influencing people then the cover, which is really great. love the color, I see shades of the UK versions of Mistborn which are one of my favorite covers.

  24. What is the spine of your book going to look like? And I'm sorry to ask too many questions but do you know when we will be able to order it pre order?

  25. It's good that you're very honest with yourself and us about both options, because you said why you specifically chose self publishing. I think traditional publishing is a good option for someone who doesn't necessarily have an established audience in the bookish community, so the publisher takes care of a lot of the marketing process; however I must say that even a lot of traditionally published authors are very active on social media and other platforms nowadays and in the end I think self promo does make a difference in sales.
    Schwab spoke the truth, lack of balance is setting up both writers and publishers for failure in the long run.

  26. Hi Elliot, I'm just wondering if you have a rough estimate as to when the paperback copy of peace and turmoil will be available in Australia? Will I just need to purchase it over amazon or through your website?

  27. Not judging a book by its cover is something I only follow metaphorically 😂 In the most literal sense, you bet I judge a book by its cover hahaha!
    I really loved listening to your thought process on this decision, and it is perfectly fine to want the most/all control on your own work. I always feel for authors who are stuck with covers they despise or in situations they can't get out of over their own work. I am so glad you mentioned V.E. Schwab because when I think of the obstacles of traditionally publishing- I think of her. I started reading her books before she was really big like I think she is now and I started on her series, The Archived, which I believe is no longer in print in some form. She is very open about when she has an up or down publishing wise and basically what I am getting at is that the whole thing sounds so stressful lol. I wish you the absolute best with your novel and I commend literally anyone who gets a book published
    great video as per usual

  28. We are definitely living in a time when self publishing ensures everything about your work is yours.
    One of my favorite books is self published and I felt good knowing when I bought it, 75% of the money I spent went to the author (in his case).

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