Have you been asking, “should I self publish a book“? If so hopefully this post will give you some much needed direction.
I mean, you’ve put your heart and soul into this work of art. You are proud of it, and you want to share it with everyone.
Is self-publishing the best way to do that?
How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book? – The Numbers
I think anyone can self-publish a bestseller. I strongly believe everyone reading this blog has the content inside of them to write a book. If you want to stand out in a world of content, you need to underline your expertise. Publishing a book is not just putting your thoughts on a blog post.
Maybe you think being in control of the publishing process sounds like a fun experiment. Maybe you’ve tried the traditional publishing route, gotten some traction, but ultimately didn’t get a deal. You still believe in your book, and readers like it too.
These days, self publishing probably won’t hurt your chances with a publisher in the future, so the only real downside is the cost of time and money. However, if you’re still bitter and angry about rejection, stop! take some time off to get your mojo back. You’ll produce a better book and sell more copies when you’re feeling confident and having fun.
One of main perks of traditional book publishing is that most everything is taken care of by the publishing house: publishing and printing costs, copyright and legal services, and some book marketing, even book cover design. You will have some involvement, such as re-writes and interviews or signings.
The biggest drawback to this method that makes some authors prefer not to publish traditionally is that the publisher is assigned the rights to your book, meaning you will lose some of the ownership to your work. If you want full control over edits, the cover, distribution, and marketing, traditional publishing is probably not the right choice for you.
Should You Self-Publish Your Book?
Now that you understand the fundamental differences between the two book publishing processes, you still might be stuck wondering which route is the right one for you. Use the table and guiding questions below to help you decide how to publish a book. If you meet one of the listed criteria, then the “x” means that you should consider that type of publishing.
To self-publish or not to self-publish? for many aspiring book authors, that is the question. In fact, it’s one of the questions i receive most frequently.
While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to publishing, i believe that fully understanding your options can help you decide.
How soon do you want to release your book?
The internet is a great place to post information. You can reach hundreds of thousands of people by getting the word out about your book.
You can submit your press release to places like prleap.com , pr.com or prweb.com, where it is possible your article may also be picked up by regular media.
Even though the review process looks fast by these numbers, allow at least a couple of weeks before your hoped-for release date. Technical issues with interior and cover art files can cause delays. Best practice is to allow a few months, if you can be patient, and opt for “preorder” availability of your book so you can begin promotional efforts while the technical issues are worked out.
Like other decisions in publishing you can certainly skip this step, do it just before your book’s release date, or after you’ve already published a few books. But i believe you want to do this early for one important reason: marketing a book before its release date—sending out advance reader copies (arcs)—is one of the most effective marketing activities you can do. You will naturally be promoting your arcs and doing pre-publication pr using the name of your imprint or website.
Social media can be very helpful too in promoting your book.
How much control do you want over your book?
Control over content: one of the biggest values a traditional publisher brings to the table is a professional editor. A good editor will help take your book to a much higher level without ever losing site of your vision. Sometimes, though, they can push for changes you’d rather not make. Self publish and you can write it your way, accepting all glory or criticism yourself.
Unless you are a john grisham or e l james you will make much more money by professionally self-publishing. It’s not just money on sales but also foreign rights and special packages that you can offer if you control all the rights to your work. Packages that the traditional publishers almost never go for. Incidentally, both of those authors self-published their first books. El james, in fact, sold 250,000 copies of “50 shades” via createspace/amazon before publishers even noticed her.
Self-publishing: why you shouldn’t go it alone. Along with full control granted by self-publishing comes full responsibility—and self-publishing your book is a big job. Get your book into top shape before self-publishing. Hooray! you’ve typed “the end” and your manuscript is finished. But before you start comparing self-publishing packages, take another critical look at your manuscript with an honest eye.
And now for the million dollar question: does this model scale? can other people adopt this model of writing and apply it to their own work? i don’t see why not! i’m not going to say it’s the best choice for everyone who’s thinking about writing a book, but i think it makes sense for people who have built up some goodwill in their field, who want total control over their work, and who are willing to dive into areas of the publishing process that are normally handled by traditional publishers.
Which Is Better: Self-Publishing Or Traditional Publishing?
Most people i know have a strong opinion one way or another. I have two strong opinions.
1. I think self publishing is of tremendous value to readers, writers, and the publishing field.
2. Way too many writers self publish for the wrong reasons.
For context, i’ve traditionally published myself, and i’ve helped my clients publish both ways. More than one has even earned a prestigious ippy, or independent publisher book award. I think both ways have value, and the choice is very personal.
When people dream of being traditionally published, they often get excited about the prospect of a book advance. While it might be nice to receive an upfront payment for your book, it’s important to understand how advances really work. First, the amount isn’t as much as many people imagine. If you’re getting a publishing deal for the first time, you’ll probably receive an advance of around $5,000 to $15,000 dollars.
Of course everyone is going to give you a different answer depending on their own experiences, beliefs and prejudices.
Self-publishers might rave about their followings or talk about how the publishing industry is going down the toilet and they don’t want to get flushed with the tangled mass of red tape and old-school ideas. Traditionally published authors might talk about the support they get or natter about social media and blogs and twitter followers. But no matter how compelling any of it might be, don’t ever ever let anyone else tell you what to do with your career.
Self-publishing is a great alternative for many writers; for others, not so much. You can have a positive self-publication experience if you heed my advice and proceed with caution and patience. It all begins with creating a book manuscript that’s comparable to traditionally published books.
Self-publication does not excuse you from meeting commercial publishing standards. This is a fatal mistake for many authors, thinking that.
Should You Copyright Your Book Before Submitting It?
Loss of freedom: your book will need to fit their brand. Loss of control: what you can do with your book (or even say about your book) will be limited. Loss of ownership: you may be signing over your ip and copyright. Lack of speed: traditional publishers are slow, cumbersome and full of political, financial and shareholder pressures. This leads to a long delay between submitting and then getting a response to your proposal; then landing a deal and selling any books.
There is no need to copyright your book (with the u. S. Copyright office) before submitting it. Always remember that the moment your work is in tangible form—once you type it, save it, write it, or otherwise commit words to paper—it is protected under copyright law without any formal registration, even if you do not use the copyright symbol. However, registering your work with the copyright office (which does cost money) allows you greater power to litigate and collect damages should someone steal your work.
Self-Published Authors Can Increase Revenues
I know of one guy who was making a solid living self-publishing science fiction novels told me that he always made an audiobook. I thought that was a horrible idea, and told him so. But two things about audiobooks: he said, “when people see you have an audiobook, they see your book as even more credible. It stands out from the average self-published book when you have an e-book, a print version, and an audiobook. Plus, the audio book is more expensive, so even though there are fewer sales, it’s decent money.”
Another problem faced by traditionally-published authors is a lack of contractual freedom over their work. This impacts everything from the ability to sell books in a foreign market to the right to create an audiobook or other adaptation. Self-published authors have none of these restrictions. As an indie author, you can sell your book wherever you want, whenever you want, and in any format of your choosing.
It is a well-known fact that traditional bookstores don’t really cater to self-published book, and this has been a concern for a multitude of writers through the years. Writers republic has taken notice of this need. The company has its own online bookstore that sell their authors’ works. Through this online bookstore, clients can now reach out to potential buyers. They will no longer have to feel the sting of rejection from traditional bookstores. They also don’t have to stockpile copies of their work and risk them getting damaged in the long run.
Smashwords founder mark coker is a longtime critic of author solutions, pointing out in his blog that they make more money from selling services to authors than selling authors’ books: “author solutions is one of the companies that put the ‘v’ in vanity. Author solutions earns two-thirds or more of their income selling services and books to authors, not selling authors’ books to readers … does pearson think that author solutions represents the future of indie publishing?”.
Formats: hardcover, paperback, ebook. Distribution: ingramspark is a book distribution company. They distribute to 40,000 libraries and retailers, including barnes & noble and independent bookstores, as well as major online retailers including amazon, apple, kobo, etc. Xinxii blurb i recommend if you use an ebook aggregator, use more than one. Often, these ebook aggregators distribute to different retailers or libraries. That way, if you use both (and uncheck publishing options covered by the other), you have a wider reach and your book will be available in more places.
Lee foster has published a new book about the independent publishing movement. After doing 16 books with traditional publishers, why did lee switch to doing four books “independently” published or “indie?” why does he now recommend this path for most authors? the book describes lee’s advice on the publishing of printed books (print-on-demand), ebooks, books-as-websites, apps, and audiobooks. The book is an author’s perspective on independent publishing: why self-publishing may be your best option.
You can hire a professional formatter very cheaply and a full-length book can cost you less than $100. This is the easiest option obviously, but not without its downsides. If you are just outsourcing then you won’t have the ability to make any changes yourself. Some recommended formatting services like bbebooks will fix a number of typos for you at no extra charge though.
A lot goes into producing a book. Now you have to decide if you should self publish or not. I hope this information helps you decide.