4 Myths about Book Publishing Today

There is a lot of confusion, controversy, and questions surrounding the terms self-publishing, vanity press, print-on-demand, etc. As you decide the best publishing path for you, let’s clarify some misconceptions some may have propagated.

1. MYTH: Whoever owns the ISBN owns the rights.
FACT: This used to be true. Nowadays, it is no longer true. Good self-publishing options assign the ISBN for the authors’ convenience, but still allow authors to keep 100% of the rights to their books. Be sure to check the contract.

2. MYTH: Independent self-publishing is different from publishing with an established organization because that publisher owns the ISBN.
FACT: It is true that the ISBN identifies the publisher of record. With reputable options, authors can supply their own ISBN as an option. Of course, if an author prefers the publisher to assign an ISBN for them, that should be an option too. And that’s what self-publishing is about – author choice and author control.

3. MYTH: New York publishers promote and market all their books.
FACT: New York publishers usually devote the lion’s share of their marketing budget to the top 1% (Harry Potter, for example) of the books they publish. The other books published during that season are victims of the sliced marketing budget. The majority of traditionally published authors are referred to as “mid-listeres” and don’t get much support from their publisher at all.

4.MYTH: Printing a book with an off-set printer is the same as self-publishing it.
FACT: Printing a book is one facet of publication. Before a book can be printed, it needs to be designed. Then it needs to be printed. Then it needs wholesale distribution through Ingram and availability online with retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Then it needs fulfillment of orders and invoicing.

Printing a book with an offset printer accomplishes one of those steps. Publishing a book with a leading self-publishing option accomplishes all of them. Almost anyone can “print” a book, but what about all the other stuff that is required?

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Self-publishing Book Marketing Advice – Readers that Count

Placing your book in front of readers that matter is one of the most important elements in successful book marketing of your self-published title. This  should be high on your long range radar even as you write.

What does this mean? The smaller, most identified reader base the better off you’ll sit. Does your non-fiction piece focus on Green Building and Design? Your fiction take place in the US Civil War? Or your title introducing relevant ways to manage a company during a recession?

Each of these examples presents you, the author, with a strong, identifiable reader base. Should you care if someone who blogs incessantly about the Harry Potter series doesn’t know or care about your book? Without question, no.

Should you take note if Robert Morris mentions your B2B management or effective leadership piece? Absolutely. He is an individual influential on a specific topic that will bring others to your book.

The bottom line challenge is finding which circles, critics, and resource that matter to your book and convincing them of its value. Its in trying to please everyone that we become invisible – something like the law of diminish returns.

Doesn’t writing sometimes seem to be the easiest part?

– Karl Schroeder