Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

The publishing game has changed and that is a fact. Gone are the days when an author needed to store a pile of books in their back room and hope desperately that they could sell them. Now, its all about Print On Demand (POD). Someone buys a book -> Book is printed. Perfect!

So what does this mean practically for authors? Well it means we have choices and it means we need to do some research on those choices to make sure we make the right one.

Originally, because I got such great feedback from my editors on Ruthless, I thought I would try and have it published through a proper publishing house. So I started researching some big publishers that preferred my genre and then made a list of those I would like to approach. A while ago, you couldn’t get a publisher to read your manuscript without a reputation or an agent. Now, some publishers seem to be opening their doors a crack and looking for new authors (perhaps this is a symptom of the game change). Two examples I can think of are Pan Macmillan’s Manuscript Mondays and Harper Collin’s Wednesday post. You can go to these web sites at certain times of the month and submit your manuscript- which is pretty cool.

Anyway, after speaking with some REAL authors I found myself being asked the same question- Why would you publish through a publishing house?

Well, I didn’t really have a good answer. Publishers generally take a fairly decent cut of your book sales, if you are a new author they spend ZERO $$ on marketing you and they can take years to actually publish your book. On the flip side, they can provide excellent editing services, cover design and help you with the logistics of producing a finish product and getting it into stores.

I starting reading about self publishing and immediately I changed my mind. Its just so easy (which can be a negative since any clown can produce a book- cluttering the market). You can sell your book for what ever amount you think is fair and you can publish it when you darn well like. Amazon does POD and takes a relatively small cut of your sales. They also “market” it (through their Amazon web site) and distribute it for you! You are in total control. You can pay a bit extra to get it more widely distributed and target book stores. Amazon also provides templates for setting up your book interior and the cover. If you want, you can do it all yourself or you can take advantage of their services to help you.

I did it all myself with the help of a terrific graphic designer friend who did the cover. The hardest part is marketing yourself. To stand out amongst the army of Amazon authors, you need to be proactive in getting your name and your book out there. That is what I am planning right now- a marketing campaign to run for a month or two before I release the book on Amazon. I recently went to a Social Media sales seminar run by Frank Furness. It was excellent and I will soon be posting on that topic.


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