Should You Publish Digitally or in Print?


Writers who plan to market their books themselves have to decide whether to  publish digitally or in print.

So which format is best for publishing your book?

How you publish your book will depend on your goals. Consumer neuroscience reports that digital information gives readers easier access, but print invites longer book engagement.

Your purpose for writing the book should drive how you will publish it.

Digital publishing

The Publishing Association reports that digital books gained enormous popularity until 2016 when sales dropped 17%. At the same time, the demand for printed books grew 8%.

People like the convenience of digital books, easy to carry space-savers that are often less than half the cost of printed books.

Go the digital route when you:

  • Want to retain all creative rights. You get to decide on the cover, format, and more.
  • You have time to explore the options between Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple for your electronic publishing needs.
  • If you plan to publish internationally, add Kobo to your list.
  • Want to create an online presence. Digital books are a perfect choice.
  • Want new readers to take a risk on your writing skills.
  • Are willing to collect and analyze metadata about your book sales. You’ll want to track your performance.
  • Want to sell erotica, paranormal or alternative thrillers. Some readers like to cloak what they’re reading.
  • Have written a novella of 15,000 to 40,000 words. This size is e-reader perfect.

Traditional publishing

Consider going the traditional route for books that are keepers. People love holding real books in their hands.

Print your book traditionally if you:

  • Have a longer book people will want to reread.
  • You have an unusual layout and design in mind that can’t be produced in electronic format.
  • Have written an emotional or sentimental Holding a real book is a tactile experience that enhances empathy.
  • Have a profound message to share. Print creates a better impact.
  • Will be speaking at conferences. Print books are better for signing.
  • Hope traditional publishers will give you a shot. The big houses take print more seriously.

What about BOTH?

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can also have your book on your e-reader and on your shelf.

For writers looking to maximize their profit, this may be the direction in which to go. An ebook might not generate substantial profit per individual sale, but it is less costly to publish. Fewer digital books are read to completion than print books, however, so you may also want to have a few physical books for sale and promotion.

Can’t decide? A book writing coach an help you explore whether to publish digitally or in print.

Do I Have A Book in Me?

Grand adventures and humble experiences make tremendous stories in the book that is you.

It’s only natural to share your stories with others. Telling our stories is an integral part of humanity. Through storytelling, we learn how to understand.

Author Brian Boyd explains in On the Origins of Stories that the art of storytelling comes from play. By telling our stories, we learn how to think, collaborate with others and advance our creativity. When we take time for storytelling, we become part of an evolutionary chain that improves our understanding of humanity.

We are all storytellers. You tell your stories during the day, with co-workers and clients. You recount the events of your day with family and friends.

It’s only natural to wonder, Do I have a book in me?

The quick answer is YES!

Everyone has a book in them, full of pages waiting to be written. The better question may be, “Who will tell your book?”

Not knowing the answer to this question can prevent your book from ever reaching print. Consider these three ways to take your story from an idea to a book.

Author your own book

You have a story, and you consider yourself a good writer, so of course, you want to write your book.

There’s something insanely enriching about completing a written work. You carve out time to write a little each day, develop characters and encourage them to take immense risks, and you write their actions in the words of your life.

By devoting yourself to book writing, you create the space you need for developing art. You establish your existence and the difference you have made in the lives of others.

Hire a ghostwriter

Ghostwriters are your behind-the-scenes-writers. They take your ideas and bring them alive with words on the page — your ideas written in their voice.

So should you hire a ghostwriter? That depends on your goals, but one of the best reasons for bringing on a hired writer is to get the job done. Your ghostwriter will dedicate the time you might not have and get your book completed. If you find yourself short on time, or writing isn’t your thing, this may be the way to go.

No two ghostwriters are the same. They take on varying levels of commitment to writing your book, according to your needs. Do you want the writer to come up with the ideas and the words? Or do you already have the story and need it written?

Even the best ghostwriters aren’t without their drawbacks. Your pen for hire might not have the voice and tone for which you were hoping. The ghostwriter could be less likely to discourage your ideas. Not all ghostwriters will tell you if your book ideas won’t work.

Collaborate with a co-author

The third option is to co-author a book with a writer.

Two heads are better than one, and with a hired writer, you have someone with whom you can collaborate – as much or as little as you want. By working with a hired writer, you are more likely to discover the book within you and get it published.

Once find the book in you, should you prepare to self-publish or go the traditional route?

We’ll take a look in our next blog.