Publishing a book has become easier in recent years due to self-publishing alternatives such as vanity publishing, print-on-demand and e-books. The abundance of on-line publishers and stores seems to grow almost daily.
So is it a viable alternative to traditional publishing? This really depends on your outlook and goals as an author. If you suffer badly from continual rejection, then self-publishing will certainly be better for your morale. In the end though, it really is about selling books. And lots of them. This is where traditional publishers and their marketing advantages truly come into play. The resources at their disposal are enormous, and justifiably, they need to make money out of your book to recoup these costs. So it has to be marketable. Hence the number of rejections from hopeful authors.
Even if you are fortunate enough to be signed by a publisher, remember that they will also want your ‘pound of flesh’ from you to promote the book and your royalties per copy will be quite small. So you and your publisher both have to sell a lot of books to make money.
On the other hand, your profit per book is much higher as a self-publisher so you don’t need to sell as many books. But here’s the catch. You have to do ALL of the marketing work yourself. Not only this, but also the editing, proof reading, cover design, typography and general management of your title. As a rule of thumb, I say that all of this extra work accounts for about three times the amount of time I spent writing the book.
Then you have another choice. Will you also publish an e-book version? With Apple now entering the market, the next year or so may prove to be interesting. It’s worth mentioning that this involves more work for you as the formatting for an e-book is totally different from the printed version, and is very time consuming. Just add a few more days work here.
So who will win this new book battle? Books or e-books? Big publishers or self-publishers? Lastly I suppose. Do you want to be in the contest?