Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years. What’s stayed the same? And what’s changed? We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.
Things every author consider when considering self-publishing vs. the old-fashioned model…
7 – Traditional publishers lose money on over 85% of the books they publish, so they only accept around 2% of those that are submitted.
6 – They typically accept manuscripts only from established authors who have demonstrated a proven track record.
5 – Authors lose content control of their work during the editing process.
4 – Authors must still invest an enormous amount of time, energy, and money promoting a traditionally-published book.
3- Authors typically receive 5-10% royalty on the wholesale price of the book, and from that have to give 15-25% to their agent. Do the math.
2 – The majority of books published by old-fashioned publishers go out of print within 3 years. Many books that are stocked on book shelves remain stocked for as little as five weeks before being returned, unsold, to the publisher.
1- Old-fashioned publishers acquire all rights to your book and keep them, even when the book goes out of print or the publisher goes out of business. Yikes.
Publishing is hard and weird, and the process takes far more energy and attention than it rightfully should. If you’re lingering in the balance between opting in to the traditional publishing mechanism or choosing to pursue a self-publishing option, this list from 2010 may just provide the last swing vote. To pretend that we are unbiased would be disingenuous, I know, but isn’t there another side to this list? Isn’t there some dirty laundry to air about indie, hybrid, and self-publishing companies, too?
Yes, no doubt. That’s the honest answer. The self-publishing model isn’t for everyone, and there are certainly the requisite number of soulless opportunists who have spotted a new means to exploit newcomers, as there are in any industry, but for the most part I do find that the people who work with and alongside self-publishing authors are a good lot. They’re genuinely interested in helping you succeed–according to your own standards and expectations, not under the unrealistic ones set by traditional publishing.
So here’s my claim for the day, with a proviso:
When self-publishing is done right and all of the people involved in a project operate by the foundational tenets of the indie spirit, the experience provides authors the exact opposite experience of traditional publishing.
7: Self-publishing has no gatekeepers, censors, or men in suits wagging their fingers at innovation.
6: Anyone can self publish, no matter their background or prior experience with publishing (traditionally or otherwise).
5: Authors retain full artistic and legal control over their work.
4: Authors get to see a direct proportional relationship between the time, energy, and money they spend promoting and marketing their book–and sales figures.
3: With no middleman to split the earnings, self-publishing authors can keep anywhere up to 100% of their own royalties. That’s, well, a lot better.
2: Self-publishing authors have a weapon in their artillery that traditionally published authors do not which resolves both the overstocked and the understocked problems facing traditionally published authors and their distributers: Print on Demand (POD). Because you can always go back and print more copies of your book, there’s no danger of running out. And because you get to choose how many books you print in the first place and how they’ll be distributed, you’re not shipping crates of untouched books to distributers who will never be able to move copies. Precision targeted sales, that’s what POD enables!
1: Nobody will ever own your work except you. Nobody.
When you cast things in a certain light, it gets really and truly hard to see the benefits of opting in to a broken system that has yet to meet the rapidly-evolving needs of a digital market where they live. And I’m not just saying this because I’m biased–I am biased, 100%–but because I’ve been through the wringer of traditional publishing. I know what it’s like. Like most self-publishing authors, I’ve dipped my toe into the world of traditional publishing and come away angry, hurt, and disappointed. And I’m committed to making sure as many authors get to move on to far better and more positive things, as I have. I’m committed to making sure authors know they have another, better option.
And yes, it’s called self-publishing.
Thanks for reading. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them. Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can. ♠