Self-Publishing Vs Small Presses: Can Your Publisher Do More for You Than You Can Do for Yourself?

I recently attended an author event where numerous authors were included. One of the authors made a point of commenting upon what is wrong with self-publishing and that “legitimate” writers do not self-publish but seek to improve their writing by having it reviewed by a press with an editorial board. I tried to point out a couple of the advantages of self-publishing to this author, but she had formed her opinion and would not listen to me. When I brought up the fact that many authors make more money self-publishing than being traditionally published, she replied, “If it’s about the money to you, there’s no point in our talking about it. A real writer enjoys going through the agony of working with an editor to make the book better.” I pointed out that many self-published books are edited, but there was no changing this woman’s mind.

I went home and did a little research on this author and her book. She had claimed that her book had been her publisher’s bestselling book for something like thirty weeks. Had she said she’d been on the New York Times Bestseller list for thirty weeks, or an Amazon bestseller for thirty weeks, I might have been impressed, but being your publisher’s bestselling book doesn’t mean a lot. I did find the publisher online. They’ve published twelve books. Being the best out of twelve books just didn’t seem that impressive to me.

A male author at the event agreed with this other author. I Googled his book and could not find a website for him. All he had was a page at his university’s website under faculty information that mentioned he had written a book. I tried to Google his publisher, also a small press, and it did not come up as even having a website.

I looked up both authors’ books on Amazon. Both were there, which was a good thing. I looked them up at Barnes & Noble. Only the female author’s book was there. I went back to Amazon and read the reviews. There were a few, some good, some bad for both books. I decided I would see whether these books were really worth reading, but neither book had a “look inside” feature for the Amazon listing. And guess what? Neither book was available in Kindle or any other eBook format.

Curious to see just how good these books were, I went to the local bookstore. The male author was from out of state so I wasn’t surprised the bookstore didn’t have his book. But the bookstore didn’t carry the female author’s book either, even though she lived nearby. When I asked the manager why the store didn’t carry her book, he informed me, “The publisher refuses to work with our company. The only way we can carry it is if the author buys her own copies from the publisher and sells it on consignment to us and she says that’s too much trouble for her to do.”

Interesting, I thought. Here was a traditionally published book, published by a small press I’d never heard of that wasn’t even willing to work with the bookstore in this author’s hometown to sell that author’s book. The press did not produce an eBook version for the author, it did not have a separate author page for the author at its website, and in the case of the other author, there was no website. In short, I was not impressed by either of the authors’ publishers or their efforts to market their books. And I especially wasn’t impressed by the female author who thought she was so ahead of the game because she had a book published by a small press. Perhaps she truly didn’t care about the money part of selling books, but I had a hard time thinking her book was selling well at all, even if it were the bestselling out of twelve titles. Who’s to say any of those other books even sold a hundred copies each? I looked up a few of them on Amazon and their sales ranks were very low-in the millions, and even her supposed “bestseller” had a sales rank around 400,000. That’s actually not such a bad number, but it’s not all that impressive either.

So what makes this author think her book is somehow superior to the self-published books? Simply because a publisher chose to publish it for her, no matter how small that publisher is or how bad at marketing. This author said it’s not about the money, and I have to come to the conclusion it’s not about book sales either for her, or she’s deluded into thinking her book sales are truly impressive. I wonder whether it’s even about good writing. I think, ultimately, it’s about the “prestige” of being traditionally published, and she was ready to rub the self-published authors’ noises in her achievement, even if her publisher is some small press hardly anyone ever heard of.

I wouldn’t have given her the satisfaction of buying her book from her at the event, but I did decide to order the book off Amazon and I read it, and I found it to be a fairly well-written book stylistically, though lacking on plot and rather depressing. It wasn’t my kind of book, but I couldn’t fault it for its writing. Still, the cover was not that well done-I would have thought it was self-published upon first sight if I had not been told otherwise, and honestly, I’ve read plenty of self-published books as good as or better than her book.

Part of this author’s argument was the value of working with an editor. I always recommend authors find good editors to work with them, and plenty of self-published authors do (the ones who don’t are usually the ones who give self-publishing a bad name). That said, I’ve read plenty of traditionally published books that have mistakes in them, and not just by small presses, but very large well-known publishers as well. When a big name publisher like Oxford University Press can make a statement that it no longer feels it is necessary to correct split infinitives in its books (see http://oxforddictionaries.com/page/grammartipsplitinfinitive ), you have to wonder whether the quality of the editors at large presses is any better than many of the editors you can hire who do freelance. Oxford University Press has an academic argument for why split infinitives are a fallacy, but even so, they still sound awkward to me. Furthermore, many editors who work for large publishers do freelance editing on the side for self-published authors. I know a couple of such editors myself. So I don’t see why hiring a qualified freelance editor will make any difference.

So what is the real difference? As far as I’m concerned, if an author is self-published and produces a professional looking book with an attractive cover, has the book edited and proofread, and has enough business savvy to know how to promote the book, then he is a step ahead of the game, regardless of whether some big name or small, largely unheard of press, did not publish his book.

Basic Math-It May Not Be About the Money, But….

I know for that author, it wasn’t about the money, but when did a little extra money ever hurt? Traditional publishers pay royalties to their authors. Self-published authors receive complete profit on book sales. The standard royalty runs around 10 percent. Let’s crunch a few numbers to see how many books a traditionally published author needs to sell to equal what a self-published author needs to sell.

An author who self-publishes his book can get the book printed at $7 each with a print run of 500 copies. That’s $3,500. The book’s cover price is $20. He works with local bookstores to sell the book at 40 percent consignment, meaning he receives 60 percent of the sales price or $12 a book; that’s a profit of $5 per book for every book sold in the bookstore and $13 for every book he sells himself. Let’s say he sells half his books at bookstores and half directly to his customers. That’s 250 books x $13, and 250 books x $5. The total is $3,250 + $1,250 = $4,500 in profit after he pays the initial $3,500 to print the books. That’s equivalent to almost 129 percent in profit.

By comparison, if the same book is traditionally published and sells for the same $20, and the cost is still $7 and the publisher is providing 10 percent royalties, the author makes $2 a copy. The publisher is keeping the other $11 in profit (getting rich at the author’s expense, perhaps, especially if he’s not using any of that profit on significant marketing efforts). To reach the profit of $4,500, the author will need to sell 2,250 copies as opposed to the 500 if he had self-published.

Now I know it’s not all about the money. True authors write because they love to write, but what’s the point of selling your words for less than they are worth? If your publisher has the marketing and distribution capabilities to sell those 2,250 books and faster than you can sell your 500, then by all means go with that publisher. But if you have a feeling that the publisher’s ability to sell 4.5 times as many books as you can sell on your own is unlikely, you may be better off self-publishing your book. Sure, you want more copies sold, but do you want them sold so you can make your publisher rich while you get only a small percent of the income?

Many great small presses are out there that have been around for years, and they are keeping up with the changes in publishing and are truly business savvy when it comes to marketing. But there are other presses run by book lovers who have little business sense. They may not be in a position or have the “know how” or the stamina and enthusiasm to make truly significant marketing efforts. So make sure you know how experienced and how business savvy your publisher is before you sign that contract. Here are some questions to ask your potential publisher-and don’t forget to get the answers included in the contract:

Questions to ask the Small Press/Publisher:

  1. What is your marketing plan for my book?
  2. Will my book be listed at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other websites?
  3. What kind of distribution do you have?
  4. Will you work with my local bookstore(s) to sell my book, even if they only do consignment or want a buy back policy if the books don’t sell?
  5. How many copies will you print?
  6. What is the likelihood of the book being reprinted vs. going out of print?
  7. If the book goes out of print, when can I buy back the rights and publish it myself?
  8. Will you offer eBook versions of my book?
  9. Do you have a website where people can purchase the book?
  10. What can I do to help?
  11. Can I buy and sell copies of my own book?
  12. Do you have any budget to help me with my personal marketing efforts?
  13. Will you build a website for me or help me promote mine, link to mine?
  14. What else can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?

If you don’t have or don’t want to spend the money to self-publish your book, finding a traditional publisher may be the best route for you. If the publisher can do things for you that you can’t do yourself or can do them better, it may also be the best option, but most of these things you can do for yourself or find people you can pay to do them for you, still resulting in you making a larger profit. Nor do you want the publisher to prevent you from selling books because it doesn’t care to produce an eBook or spend time building a website to promote your book. I urge you to do your research and make the best business decision possible. It may not be all about the money, but after all the time, research, and energy you put into writing your book, you deserve to get adequate compensation for it.

5 Things To Look For When Self-Publishing A Book

Today with all of the amazing technology, self publishing a book has become a more attractive option. Gone are the days of someone’s dreams and visions being placed on hold or forced to wait because they are in search of a publisher to accept their book. I remember hearing so many stories of how many attempts, how many companies, and how many rejections it would take before an author could get published. I don’t know about you but I always had this image in my mind of traditional publishers sitting on a throne deciding the fate of the literary world. To me it was like a secret society that allowed a select few to enter and those that did had very little control.

Today that image has changed for me. When I set out to publish my first book, going the traditional route was not a consideration. “Why?” you might ask. As I alluded to earlier technology has revolutionized the publishing world. The internet along with the social media platforms have empowered and given a voice to so many talented authors; many of whom would never have received even a rejection letter from a traditional publisher. Traditional publishers, like so many industries because of technology, have been forced to develop new business models. Major publishers are faced with downsizing and cut backs making it even more difficult for a new kid on the block. Most of the traditional publishers today want authors who have a celebrity size following or a distribution list that equates to immediate ROI.

There are a lot of opportunities in self publishing a book. You can do it completely yourself. When you publish your work yourself you are responsible for the editing, formatting, securing distribution, communicating with the printer, and copyrighting it to name a few. The other option is selecting a publisher that will handle all the previously mentioned items, but allows you to remain in control. If you are a writer and perhaps run another business, the latter option would more than likely be the most beneficial for you. Here are top 5 things you should consider when looking for a self-publishing publisher:

1. Is it a good fit?

Believe it or not personality means everything. Your book is your baby. It’s a project and not a drive-thru menu experience. Ask yourself, “Are you comfortable with their style of communication?” I know its cliché, but communication is the key to everything. Does the publisher make you feel like you are valued and not just a number? Is there a real interest in your project? What’s your publisher’s background? Many times I have seen authors when self publishing their book forfeit the importance of literary and business experience of their publisher. Make sure when selecting a publisher they have literary experience and business acumen.

2. Make sure you maintain all your rights.

In the traditional world of publishing you generally give up a large portion, if not all of the rights to your book. This means all of the control on editing, characters, book cover design, etc, are determined by the publisher. This is primarily because you have received an advance for your book. When you are self publishing a book there are publishers who cater to authors who desire to self publish. In this case if you are not receiving an advance you should maintain all the rights to your book. All of the decisions from editing to the book cover design as mentioned before should be your final say. You should also have the option of taking your book with you if you decided to leave that publisher.

3. Royalties

When self publishing a book it is my opinion that you as the author should receive the higher percentage of royalties. In the traditional world it can be viewed slightly different because they have a larger distribution, they have provided you with an advance, and there is more at stake. There are some self publishers who will do a 90/10, 75/25, or 60/40 split, with you receiving the lower percentage. In this case I would make sure you get the higher, because there is no upfront investment in you from the self publishing publisher.

4. What type of services do they offer?

Do they offer various editing services from rewrite to copywriting? Editing is extremely important when self publishing a book. Be mindful of a company that will publish your book that doesn’t offer or require editing. In most cases if they don’t offer editing, your publisher should have a list of editors they can refer. It is true today with technology and a fast paced society the standard grammar has become more relaxed. However, you still want a quality product that will stand the test of time. Other services you should look for are marketing that includes social media, graphic and website design.

When self publishing a book often authors assume the publisher is automatically going to promote your book. This is not the case. You as the author should have an option of acquiring those additional services.

5. Time

Yes, I know everything is done at the speed of light today. We no longer have to wait on the 6 o’clock news to find out what’s happening around the world. We can email a document that used to have to travel by what we now have labeled “snail mail”. Although this has made our lives easier, when self publishing a book, we still want to value the time it takes to create a quality product. Again, self publishing should not mean you should compromise and produce an inferior product. That’s what the big guys and critics expect and/or automatically assume. I have seen companies that promote one to two week turn-rounds. That might be the case. However, please allow yourself the time for editing, correct formatting, the right cover design, to receive a proof (an actual copy of your book), etc. A reasonable amount of time should be 60 to 90 days, but this is determined by so many variables. How long it takes you to submit your work, and to sign off. You may realize that an entire chapter needs to be deleted. Allow for creativity which is often something that shouldn’t be rushed. Remember experts say today a book is the new business card. What do you want yours to say?

Do You Want to Write a Book? (Traditional Publishing Vs Self Publishing)

Do you want to write (and sell) a book? Well you’re not alone. There are literally millions of us out there who want to (and now, due to technology) we actually can. The good news? If you want to write a book, yay! Whoever you are, it is now quite possible, (and in the case of the e-book-easy) to write and actually publish a real book! Hooray!

The Bad News

The bad news… the technology is moving so fast that the book as we know it is quickly becoming obsolete! (That hasn’t happened yet, but, you best believe that in the next twenty or so years, paper books will be a thing of the past.) The other bad news? There are millions of us (really good writers out there blogging, publishing traditional books and e-books) so the competition (if you are hoping to make a buck off of your writing) is ferocious. The even more bad news? The publishing industry is in such a state of transition and confusion, that getting a book deal from a traditional publisher, (if you’re a first time author) is nearly impossible. But here’s some good news: there are other options. Self-publishing is quickly becoming one of the best!

The Good News

I personally think, (given the state of the publishing industry) self-publishing is the way to go. Let’s take a look at why traditional publishing is such a limited option for first time authors.

The Deal with Traditional Publishers

Traditional publishers hate first time authors. They consider them a huge risk, so it takes anywhere from two to five years to even get a deal with a traditional publisher.

What They Do

Once you get a deal, the advances for first-time authors are really small: $1000 to $10,000. Once they pay you that advance, the traditional publisher takes ownership over certain parts of the publishing process: they will edit the book, they will format the book, they will title the book, they will have their designers design a cover for the book, they will print a certain number of copies of the book, and they will be responsible for distribution of the book. (Distribution is a huge part of the publishing process.) While traditional publishers will take on a limited amount of marketing for the book, they still expect the author to do most of the marketing for it. (Marketing makes or breaks the book. It’s also the most expensive and time-consuming part of the publishing process.) Finally, if you can’t sell a certain amount of books, (typically 25,000) in a certain amount of time, (typically three months), a traditional publisher will consider your book a failure. They won’t be offering you any additional book deals.

What it Costs

The down side to going with a traditional publisher? You lose control of your book. You no longer own the book, you share the rights to the book with a publisher, who is going to make the most profit off the book. And, with a traditional publishers, this is understandable because they are bearing a greater amount of risk in the publishing process. They take on all the costs of publishing the book, from editing to marketing, and quite honestly all of that stuff is pretty expensive. Due to technology, these costs have gone down. But anything that requires live human effort: (editing, book formatting, cover design, distribution, marketing) is going to be expensive.

Why They Do It

So, why do they do it? Why do publishers take the risk? Well, much like everyone else looking to make a buck in the entertainment industry, publishers are looking for the next big thing. And, in order to get it, the will act like bullies. If your book becomes a huge commercial success, publishers will bully you into playing by their rules. Even if your work doesn’t become a huge commercial success, publishers will still bully you into playing by their rules. Once they pay you that advance, they really want you to dance to their music. They push you to sell the book on their terms, not your own. They expect you to invest in your own marketing. (I’ve known authors who spent over $20,000 on marketing, when they only got a $5000 advance. That just doesn’t make any sense to me!) But, they did it because they were pressured into it by the publisher. After all the money these authors spend on marketing, the publisher makes the most off of every book sold. Most authors with traditional publishers only get $1 to $2 per a book in royalties, some times even less than that. So, if you’re thinking of pursuing a traditional deal with a traditional publishing house, just remember, all that glitters is not gold.

The Deal with Self-Publishers

Now, let’s compare traditional publishing to self-publishing.

What They Do

With self-publishing the author does and pays for everything themselves: editing, formatting, ISBN purchase, cover design, printing, distribution, marketing… all of it.

What it Costs

It used to be nearly impossible to do this without a huge investment of time and money, (at least $25,000) but now, publishing your own book is much more affordable due to advances in publishing technology (Print on Demand) technology and E-book technology, for starters. It’s still not cheap – well it can be, if you eliminate certain steps. But if you do that, you’ll probably end up with a crappy book that won’t really sell. So what’s the point? (If you hope to make money.) To do it right, you do need to spend some money, but it is something that is within reach for most professional people. (You can probably publish a print book for about $5,000 to $10,000, and you can follow up with an e-book version for a few hundred more dollars.)

Why They Do It

So after you go through all of these steps, and pay for all of this money for various services, what’s the benefit? You completely own and control the work. All of the profits from the book will be yours and yours alone. If you build a substantial platform (and audience for your book and future books). (For more on platforms, check out my article on Publisher’s Weekly), you can actually expect to recoup your initial investment of $5,000 to $10,000 and begin making a profit- your own profits for you to keep- on your book! These days, traditional publishers won’t even look at authors who can’t prove that they can move 100,000 books.

Here’s my question: If you can move 100,000 books, why do you even need a traditional publisher? I guess for the wider distribution. I decided to go the self-publishing route, because I wondered if traditional publisher doesn’t invest much in marketing, and they want you to build your audience before they sign you – what are they doing exactly for you (the author) exactly? Yes, it’s true they do pay for many different aspects that go into creating a print book – editing, formatting, cover-design, etc. But is that worth all of the rights and control and profit that you, as the writer, give up to the traditional publisher? I don’t think so! It just didn’t make sense to me, to give up control of my book if my publisher would require me to invest so much of my own money into it anyway. I figure, just go all out and pay for all of it. History shows that self publishers who have done that, and have made it big on their own terms had the traditional publishers coming after them. At that point, they could negotiate on their own terms. When and if that happens, to you, as an author, you must be very careful. Always remember traditional publishers want to get as much work out of you and money from your book, while paying you the smallest percentage of profits that they possibly can.

So, after researching the traditional publishing industry, I decided, I just didn’t want to go that route. I decided that I wanted to self-publish, simply because I wanted to be in control of the product, by selling it on my own terms, my own way. I’ve done my research and I’ve finally decided on how to go about self-publishing my own book. But, I haven’t actually done it yet. (I’m still in the process.) I purchased a publishing package from Lulu, a print on demand publisher. (POD) I decided on Lulu, because honestly, there are very few reputable “self-publishing” companies who will actually allow you to “self-publish.” Out of all of the self-publishing companies out there: Lulu is one of the biggest and arguably cheapest, though, probably not the best. But they have a fairly good relationship with Amazon…and that is key in the world of book publishing.

Oh that Vanity! (Watch Out for Scamming Vanity Presses)

Most of the so called “self-publishing” companies are vanity presses, who do everything that a traditional publisher does, (including con you out of your rights to the your book) and to add insult to injury… they make you pay for everything! (And I do mean everything, editing, book-formatting, cover design, distribution, marketing.) What happens with a lot of vanity presses, is that they make you spend thousands of dollars on these services, which they do not perform all that well. I actually had an author complain about how, after a $4000 edit, her manuscript came back from a vanity press editor with even more errors! Not only did she end up editing her manuscript herself, she even had to fix the errors the vanity press made! What a clever scam! You pay for everything. You clean up the messes! You lose all of your rights! You end up paying thousands of dollars in time and money trying to buy your work back from the horrid vanity press. That’s why vanity publishing is such a dirty word in the publishing industry.

Amazon is King!

In my next article, I’ll go into more details on which vanity presses to avoid, and why. Also, sooner or later we are going to have to discuss the beast that is Amazon. Right now, AMAZON IS KING, not only in the book-selling world, but also, in retail as well. As a result, as most Kings do, Amazon has everyone frightened: traditional publishers, booksellers, (Amazon took Borders out!), writers… Amazon is pretty much feared by all in the publishing world at this point. Why? Because you really can’t publish without Amazon… not if you hope to do it effectively… and so… Amazon knowing this… power trips! But anyway, more on all of that later. For now, if you’re thinking about publishing a book, I say, go for it! If you simply want to publish an e-book, that can be done for hundreds, instead of thousands of dollars. (More on that later.) And, if you need help with any part of the self-publishing process, remember, that’s what I’m here for! Remember my motto: read, write and relax!

5 Ways to Publish Your Book: Self-Publish or Mainstream?

For a writer that wants to see their book published, they can follow either the self publishing route or the traditional mainstream publishing approach. With self-publishing, there are a number of variations on the theme as described in this article, ranging from doing everything yourself, to handing your work over completely to an outsourcing company or various middling approaches with some use of external self publishing services.

(1) Mainstream publishing is the traditional approach to getting a book published. This route to publishing is hundreds of years old and consists of a writer, or their agent, sending a manuscript to an established big-name book publisher in the hope that the readers and evaluators at the company will like their book and offer them a publishing contract. For most writers on this journey, a rejection letter would be the likely outcome, if you were lucky you might get an evaluator’s comments on your rejected manuscript as feedback. For the fortunate few who are accepted, a contract is offered along with a royalty typically in the range of 10% to 15% (sometimes based on the cover price, often based on the discounted price to a bookseller). An advance is often offered on anticipated earned royalties in the future which can vary from a few hundreds or thousands of dollars to millions of dollars for mega-authors or exceptional first-time authors with a best-seller to offer. The great advantage to the writer of mainstream publishing is that they can leave the production, design and marketing of their book to the professionals in the publishing house. Happy days.

In recent years, self-publishing has rocked the foundations of the big publishing houses. As the term ‘self publish’ indicates, the writer takes ownership of getting their work published and can choose a number of paths on the road to the eventual printing and distribution of their book.

(2) The least demanding route to self-publishing for the author, but the most expensive, is the total outsourcing approach. A writer contacts one of the many independent self publishing companies, almost exclusively web-based, and agrees a contract with them whereby, for a hefty sum ranging from many hundreds to thousands of dollars, the writer hands over their work (usually by emailing it) and lets the outsourcing company get on with the publishing. Cover design and page design for the book are left entirely in the hands of the professionals with often limited input from the author. Marketing and sales of the published book is left to the company along with arranging any publicity, distribution channels and allocating and registering the ISBN. Some outsourcing companies now also offer book promotion through Twitter, Facebook and other online social networks. Royalties to the author are usually more generous than with mainstream publishing and can rise to around 80% of the net profit. Notice that some of these contracts require an author to purchase hundreds of copies at their own expense.

(3) The most demanding route to self publishing is where the author takes all responsibility for the page and cover design, obtaining the ISBN, marketing, sales and publicity along with printing copies of the book. Clearly, this is also the least expensive approach offering the greatest royalty, which can be 100% of the net profit if the author arranges printing and then sells the copies through various channels such as eBay, website promotion and local sales.

(4) A hybrid way of self-publishing books is where the writer uses one of the free-to-publish websites such as lulu.com or blurb.com. The writer, on this path, designs the cover and book interior themselves but purchases the ISBN or marketing services from the website company. Or the writer may purchase the whole package: including book and cover design, ISBN, marketing and channel distribution. The author is still mainly responsible for local sales and using such promotional tools as Twitter or Facebook to promote their book sales. Royalties are often at the high end of around 80% net profits and paid to the author by the free-to-publish website company but still allowing the author to purchase copies of their book at print cost for selling locally or nationally by the writer at the cover price.

(5) A variation on the hybrid approach to self-publishing, and one in which the writer of this article has most experience, is where an author engages a self publish service-provider to design the cover and book interior, allocate the ISBN and then use the free-to-publish websites to self-publish their book on their behalf. In this case, the writer pays the self publish service-provider for services rendered – which will be much less than in option (2), typically around $300 to $400. Note that authors are encouraged to provide input to the cover design and the book design. Complementary copies for the author may be part of the arrangement between the two parties. Once the book is published, the service-provider then hands-over the web-based storefront, leaving the author free to manage book orders for selling locally or nationally. At that point, the author is in full charge of receiving royalties from the free-to-publish website and of the marketing and promotion of their book – although the service provider might also offer marketing and promotional campaigns (on social networking sites) to help the author with sales. Royalties are at the high end of around 80% net profits and paid to the author by the free-to-publish website company. Notice that the service-provider does not share in any royalties or book sale monies. A storefront, hosted by the free-to-publish website company, is an important tool in this approach and is under the full control and ownership of the author, the service-provider then has no input (unless requested by the writer) into the management and operation of the self publishing operation.

Each of these approaches to getting your book published has its own attractions and drawbacks for would-be authors wanting to see their book published. Clearly, writers must weigh-up their options and then take those first steps along what will surely be an exciting, and hopefully profitable, publishing journey: welcome to this brave new world.

Why Choose Self-Publishing?

Getting your idea into a printed book could be one of your greatest lifetime achievements. A publishing company can be a wonderful partner for a developing writer out to publish a book. The publisher can help target the perfect markets and work with the writer on writing the best book possible-and the easiest to sell. However, more and more people are turning to self-publishing as their preferred way of publishing a book.

There are many reasons people elect to self-publish. Among the most common is that self-publishers do not want to surrender control of their book. Publishers will want a say in the book’s final draft, from an editorial standpoint and in designing the book’s cover. From a business angle, publishers also want to exert control over the book’s sales plan, pricing, distribution, and marketing, in order to maximize their profit. Many writers prefer to control their work themselves, on both the artistic and the business sides of publishing a book.

Beyond the control issue, there are other reasons a writer will choose to self-publish a book:

· Lower publishing cost.

· To maximize the earnings the book brings in. (Self-published authors can earn up to 70% of sales of books but only make 10-15% when they are contracted to publishers.)

· The writer loves the publishing business, and wants to be involved in every aspect of getting their book into the market.

· To maintain direct control of the customer list.

· To market to a small, specific demographic of readers, to whom the writer has direct access.

· Simple preference, to publish one’s work by oneself.

It’s also possible that a writer cannot have their book published by the “traditional” publishing industry. If an author is unknown, a publisher might not take an interest. If the topic the writer wants to publish a book about is obscure or controversial, the publishers might play it safe and not publish the book.

A case in point is Amanda Hocking, who has earned worldwide fame for selling over 1million books on the Kindle.Amanda Hocking wrote her first novel at age 17-and kept on writing more. She supported her writing career by working as a carer for people with disabilities. The truth is, she had written 17 novels but failed to interest any traditional publisher with her young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. Imagine writing 17 books and getting rejected every single time!

Each time she approached traditional publishers, she was told that the market was saturated with vampire books. But she still believed in her books, so she just kept on writing and believing that something good will come out of her efforts.

So while traditional publishing doors closed, she noticed the emergence of self-publishing and decided to give it a try. So on 15th April 2010, she self-published her first book in the My Blood Approves series and sold it on Amazon. This was followed by a second novel and sales started to pick up as she promoted it on the internet on various blog sites with the paranormal romance fans.

Amazingly, within 3 short months, the income generated from her book sales enabled her to quit her job. By the end of 2010 she had sold over 160,000 copies. The book had reached tipping point and word of mouth helped her sell an additional 450,000 books in January 2011 alone. She is one of the few authors who has sold over a million e-books on the Kindle to date.

Self-publishing is gaining popularity because it has gotten easier, and the success stories more widespread. Take time to do some research and learn more about the advantages /disadvantages of self-publishing to become a published author.

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