I frequently get asked, “What, if any, benefit is there to traditionally publishing a book?” This question typically comes from an aspiring writer who has just learned they must do the same amount of promotional work to help sell their book if they land a contract with a traditional publishing house as they will need to do if they self-publish their book.
My answer tends to be the same each time: “A traditional publishing house still offers a writer a bit more credibility than self-publishing, although independent publishers are no longer seen as just vanity publishers. That said, when large, respected publisher puts money and their name behind you and your book, you and your book become respected by association. Plus, a traditional publisher can offer you additional distribution mechanisms; for instance, they can get you into physical bookstores. This often can be a difficult feat for independent publishers.”
After that, I have no other reasons to add. Self-publishing today offers aspiring writers many options—and it has become much more accepted and respected. The publishing industry has made it so difficult for new authors to break into traditional houses that most authors feel they have no choice but to strike out on their own. Yet, writers must decide if this is their best option. Self-publishing is, indeed, like starting a new business.
To help you decide if you want to become an independent publisher—an “indie publisher,” as they are called these days, Sue Collier joins us today with a post that outlines the key points you need to consider. Sue, a publishing consultant and author of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, claims self-publishing offers entrepreneurs a great way to make money while realizing their dreams of publishing their work.
Want to see if you are cut out to be your own publisher? Read on.
Do-It-Yourself Publishing: Is It For You?
By Sue Collier
What motivates entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses? Most want to be their own bosses. More personal freedom is a second reason. Some do it out of necessity during tough economic times. But most people dream of becoming self-employed. You can turn that dream into reality.
Here is a dynamic, proven way to shape your own destiny. It is an answer not only for city folks but for urban escapees seeking to prosper in paradise. Self-publishing can be the road to independence.
For those who use creativity, persistence, and sound business sense, money is there to be made. In today’s electronic age, self-publishing options abound. (Just make sure you research your options and put out a well-edited, well-designed book.) With print-on-demand, you don’t even have to worry about storing inventory. (Of course, you’ll pay more per unit, which will cut into your profit margins.)
Becoming a self-publisher also provides a helpful tax shelter. After forming your own company and meeting certain requirements, you can write off a portion of your home and deduct some expenses related to writing and to marketing, such as automobile, travel, and entertainment costs. Always check current tax regulations and restrictions.
Another advantage is that you can begin your business on a part-time basis while keeping your day job. Why risk your livelihood until you’ve refined your publishing activities and worked out any bugs?
Want control over your work? In self-publishing, you guide every step. You’ll have the editorial control you crave, the cover you like, the typeface you choose, the title you want. Your decision is final. Nothing is left in the hands of an editor or publicist who has dozens (or hundreds) of other books to worry about. You maintain absolute control over your own book. (Along with this advantage, however, comes the fact that you also get stuck doing everything.)
Independently publishing your work also gives you the advantage of speed. Big trade houses typically take from a year to a year and a half—or even longer—to get a book out. Self-publishers can do it in a fraction of that time. No longer do you have to be satisfied with the meager 5 to 15 percent royalty these commercial publishers dole out; self-publishing also offers the potential for nice profits
Entrepreneurs and professionals today often write books to position themselves as leaders in their industries. Publishing books also gives these individuals a fresh reason to attract media attention and be a source of news. Once they’ve written books, they are perceived as instant experts.
The publishing business is a constant flow of exciting events. You will never forget that supreme moment when you hold the first copy of your very own book, just off the press. Some people compare it to holding their first child. When the book starts making the rounds, things happen. There’s a domino effect. One day you get your first fan letter (most likely read with blurry vision). Then a prestigious person gets wind of the book and requests an examination copy. Magazine editors and bloggers begin to review and mention it. Library orders start flowing in.
And, lo and behold, the biggies—those publishers that previously rejected your work—just may decide to reverse their decisions. Self-publishing can be the springboard to lucrative contracts with traditional publishers who were afraid to gamble before. Once the marketability of your book has been proven, they may be eager to take it off your hands.
So do you have what it takes to be successfully self-published?
About the Author
Sue Collier is a publishing consultant and head of Self-Publishing Resources, a book writing, production, and marketing firm that assists authors in all aspects of the book publishing process. She is also co-author with industry guru Marilyn Ross of the newly released The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition and the upcoming Jump Start Your Book Sales, 2nd Edition. Sue blogs about the publishing industry at http://www.SelfPublishingResources.com.
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