You are an author, or you are trying to be a published author. Your first manuscript is finally ready, or you’ve already published your first book and you envision yourself becoming the next “big thing” in the writing world. However, according to a 2013 article in Forbes magazine, between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published in the United States every year, and less than half of those through traditional publishing houses. Just any author with a drawer full of rejection slips. An even more sobering statistic is that less than 1% of published books are stocked in brick and mortar bookstores—the few bookstores that are left, that is.
So what is an author to do? Many authors decide to take control and publish their manuscripts themselves, but they then run other challenges? How? Where? When?
Enter the world of self publishing, which also includes independent publishing, and vanity press publishing. What is the difference? What is the best option?
Fully one-half of the book publishing industry market share includes non-traditional routes, but that is where the confusion starts. Let’s start with definitions and explanations of the different kinds of “non-traditional” publishing options available today.
In the world of traditional publishing, the author can just “write”, and the major publishing house is in charge of all of the other facets of publishing a book, including editing, formatting, printing, and marketing the book. The author just sits back and collects royalties. At least that is how it is supposed to work. Even for those authors “lucky enough” to get a traditional publishing deal, their intellectual property belongs to the publishing house, and all decisions are made by them. Once the contract is signed, almost all creative decisions, including the cover art, as well as all marketing responsibilities are handled by the publishing house. This is the tried-and-true model that worked for centuries, but for just a few authors. For most authors, however, their manuscripts never saw the light of day.
Enter the world of the large conglomerate “pay-to-publish” companies that promise to make you rich and famous, after you pay them thousands of dollars up front for services performed by unknown contractors, and they still are in total control of all of the creative and marketing decisions and may force you to buy hundreds of copies of your own book yourself.
Last, but certainly not least, is the “self-publishing” route that many authors today are embracing. These authors realize that yes, it costs money to publish your own quality book, but just as importantly, it costs time and effort, and writing the book is just the beginning. The most successful self-publishing authors have found that when they take control of every component of the book publishing process, they sell more books, have more control, and most importantly, own their own intellectual property.
If you are an author who has secured an agent and a contract with a traditional publishing house that will benefit your writing efforts, we applaud you and look forward to seeing your manuscript in print!
However, if you are an author who is ready, willing, and able to take control of your own success, including all of the necessary steps to bring your book to market and sell it in various outlets, we invite you to stay tuned to this blog for informational and educational posts about:
- Why you should write a book proposal even if you plan on self-publishing.
- Why you need a marketing plan for your book as soon as you decide to write a book.
- The four types of editing your manuscript should have.
- Formatting your manuscript for eBook and/or print publication: they are two different things!
- The importance of a professionally-produced cover.
- The different POD (print on demand) services and how to choose the best one for your goals.
- How writing a book series helps you to sell more books.
Self-publishing is much more than writing a book and having it printed. Self-publishing is a process, but a process that you can master and that can bring you true writing success. Watch this space for the next post in this series.
Detroit Ink Publishing (http://detroitinkpublishing.com) is a full-service company that provides a range of services to authors to help them bring their non-fiction or fiction manuscripts to market. We look forward to working with you: contact us here.