bookshelfPublishing 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?

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And The Winner Is……
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2 thoughts on “And The Winner Is……

  • 19/05/2010 at 6:47 am
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    I don't think traditional publishers know how this is going to "flesh out"
    It will be interesting. I heard a guy from the music industry address the publishing industry saying " don't make the same mistake the music industry did – move with the times."
    Will they listen???

    thanks for visiting my site – an honor my friend

  • 19/05/2010 at 3:03 pm
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    I decided to go the self-publishing route after my stack of "Sorry, I'm too busy to look at your book" rejection letters got to avalanche proportions. I went with CreateSpace, which is a POD service owned by Amazon.com. I reasoned that the benefits of a free ISBN, a listing on Amazon.com, and the ability to add my book to bookseller lists made this service worthwhile. Low barrier to entry and multiple perks!

    You are absolutely right, of course. Marketing, cover design, editing … it has all fallen to me. But luckily, I have a marketing and graphic design background. And as for editing, I placed a free ad on Craigslist and found a wonderful line editor who helped me clean up the goofs in my first edition (which all went to print, unfortunately. The second edition will be as error free as possible!) for a very reasonable rate.

    I think that the publishing industry is on the verge of a major change, though. Just as with music, independents in publishing now have far more advantages. With more and more people moving to electronic formats for reading (thanks to Kindle, Nook, and iPad), the “little guy” has as much chance of being discovered by new readers as anyone else, with or without promotion.

    I’d still like to have a nice, lucrative book contract with a major house. But until then, I’m perfectly content to keep writing and publishing myself. At the very least, I can point to a body of work whenever I approach a literary agent or publisher, and prove that I’m good for it.

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