Am I Self-Publishing If I Use a Self-Publishing Company?

When you decide to publish your book, there are essentially two well-traveled paths you can take – seek out an agent/publisher or self publish. Of course, there are a few other options in between but most authors fit into one of either of those buckets. Traditionally published books are those that the author doesn’t have to pay to publish. Normally the author secures representation by an agent, is sometimes provided an advance, and allows the publisher to do all the “work”. Of course, these authors still have to market their books, but all of the production costs are absorbed by the publisher. When you self-publish, you pay all of your own costs and are in complete control of your book.

Some that are from the school of thought that if you use a self-publishing company to publish your book, you aren’t really “self-publishing”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You are as much of a self-published author as any other author.

Let’s take it one step further. defines the adjective “self-published” as “having published one’s own work independently: a self-published author”. The site also defines the adjective “independent” as “not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction”. Most self-publishing companies, including Outskirts Press, allow authors to have complete control over their book. So, by definition, authors that are able to exercise full creative freedom over their own work are self-published authors.

Using a self-publishing company is much like hiring a freelancer to work on your book. Why pay someone else to publish your book? The answer is simple – because you are a professional in your field, but not necessarily as well-versed in the world of publishing. Do you plumb your own toilet? Repair your own car? Wire your own electricity? Probably not. Can you? Sure – but you would lose more money in the time it takes you to learn how to do those things than it would cost to hire a professional. The same is true for publishing a book. In the end, will your “savings” really be worth it?

Have you ever published a book on your own? Would you do it again?

Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

2 thoughts on “Am I Self-Publishing If I Use a Self-Publishing Company?

  1. Thanks for sharing this Wendy. I think you nailed the main distinction for self-publishing with a company. I am a writer, in the process of getting a book out, and I am also working for FriesenPress and am learning so much about the industry that I would not otherwise have learned. It is great to work alongside a team of experts who know things that I don’t know and it means that I can feel better about the final product. Thank you for clearing that up!

    1. Hi, Matthew:

      We are always happy to clarify anything about the publishing industry. It’s understandable that things can sometimes be a bit unclear for those who haven’t made a profession of this. Let us know if we can help you in any way.

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