After you have poured your blood, sweat, tears and a dash of red wine into your manuscript, you now have to ask yourself the big girl question, “Should I self-publish or shop for a publisher?” (Cue dramatic music and lightning sound effects)
With all the new technology and random news stories about how some new author made millions of dollars selling their self-published ebook for a penny, it all may have you believing that self-publishing trumps the traditional publishing option 100% of the time. And that is simply not true. Each side has it’s own pluses and minuses that you need to consider before making the decision. Hopefully I can provide some assistance in that area. So let’s dive in, shall we?
It’s every author’s dream – you come home one day and find a letter from Random House. Your family gathers around as you skim over the words which inform you that your manuscript has been accepted, will be on the shelves in a month, here’s a movie contract for you to sign and, oh, a big fat advance check is enclosed.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but don’t hold your breath while waiting for that letter. Publishing companies won’t even look at your manuscript unless you have an agent to represent you or you have somehow proven that you have an established fan following, marketable platform or sales.
Traditional publishing has many benefits. In the first place, it doesn’t cost you a cent to get your book published. In fact, they pay you! Well, eventually. You will get royalties from the sale of your books.
If you are the type of person that is only interested in the “writing” portion of book creation, traditional publishing may be the best option for you. Many self-published authors have to find editors, graphic design artist, printers and a slew of other professionals to complete the book publishing process. It can be overwhelming for someone who has absolutely no interest in such. Traditional publishers do it all for you. They design, print, ship, sell and market your masterpiece.
Traditional publishers take over the heavy lifting, but it will cost you. It may cost you your intellectual property. Once you sign that contract, you may not own your book anymore. From then on, the publishing company decides how, or if, to release and market your book. In a traditional publishing contract, you get royalties and the publisher gets your book.
If you want to retain all of your intellectual property rights and managing a staff of publishing professionals doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out strand by strand, you may want to consider self-publishing. You make profits rather than royalties.
What makes self-publishing challenging is that there are so many ways you can do it. You can go to a printer and print a couple thousand copies. You can go to one of the on-line publishers, upload your book and have them print it. You can also self-publish using the various forms of epublishing and make your book available through the Kindle®, Nook®, iPad® or other electronic devices. Do you want to know what is even more disgusting? Each one of the above mentioned methods have their own way of doing things along with their own advantages and disadvantages….DUN DUN DUNNNN!!! (Cue horrific scream)
Another major difference between traditional and self-publishing is the access to distribution channels. Traditional publishers have distribution channels already established, which means it will be easier for your book to get into book stores or other retail stores. In contrast, most of the self-publishing options can’t measure up when it comes to placing your books on bookstore shelves.
If you have already established a strong online presence, not afraid to walk in some seriously uncomfortable shoes, and prepared to market like there is no tomorrow, self-publishing can be a very profitable and rewarding option.
So there is the brief overview. Once you delve further into the subject, you’ll find confusing questions that you will need to answer before you make a final decision. Regardless of the direction your decide to go, make sure you understand your options and the corresponding advantages and disadvantages.
Cinnamon McCann is the author of Self-Publishing in Stilettos: A Woman’s Guide to Publishing With Confidence. Learn everything you need to know about self-publishing and sign up for her newsletters to receive the latest tips and techniques by visiting her at http://www.selfpublishinginstilettos.com.