Traditional Publishing? Online Publishing? Indie Publishing? The choice is yours.
I have recently been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, as against publishing with traditional and online publishers.
Obviously, traditional publishers have a lot to offer, editing, marketing, professional support, and your books also hit the book shelves in bookshops and libraries. All excellent reasons for being published by them; that is, of course, if they offer you a contract. They also give you an advance. Not as much as in previous years but it is money on the table.
Disadvantages. You sign the rights to your book away; hence, any alterations the editor wants to do have to be carried out. Be warned your story can be changed! Pricing is set, and you have no say in the matter. You have to wait for your sales information. Plus you sign to say (normally) that they have the rights to publish your next book/or two. You also have to work within the timescale that they set. If you dislike pressure, then it’s not for you.
Marketing? You still have to do a set amount of marketing. Publishers do not have the resources to promote new authors. They tend to stick to the celebrity authors now. They know they are going to make high sales from anything they publish. What they make can then be spent on publishing new authors.
I often wonder what the advantages are for placing your book with an online publisher. Some of them do offer free editing. Okay, that is an advantage, but there are many reliable editors in the market place who will check your work for a reasonable fee.
A few of the online companies do publish in paperback, but the books are a bit pricey. They also pay royalties, but take a substantial amount for themselves. Many online publishers do not publish paperback copies; this is a disappointment to the many readers who are not online. After all everyone deserves to read your book. Not everyone likes reading online or on an e-reading device.
You do not get offered an advance.
The on-line publisher will upload your book for you. Fine, this is an enormous help if you lack the technical skills to do it yourself. The thing is there are many authors who will upload your book for you, or there are small companies (easy to find) who for a small fee will format and upload your book for you. Cover design? Yes, the business will provide one of their covers. I have seen good and bad.
And, as with traditional publishers you have to sign a contract, and this can include future books. Of course, if they should consider that your book has not made enough money for them they can break the contract. If you have written a best seller, they will benefit enormously until your contract has run out.
Marketing? Make no mistake the online company will push you to promote. You will have to do a massive amount of marketing. It will be part of the contract; you will be expected to work with their other authors and push, push, push. Hopefully, you will find new readers, not authors; it’s not helpful to keep selling to authors (who, I agree are readers. I’m one myself). But you need to break away from Facebook and Amazon forums and try to reach the big wide world where readers are. It is difficult, but it can be done.
Paying to have your book published.
This is another option, but it is quite expensive. There are quite a few companies that will publish your book for you. But as mentioned it is very expensive. I know a few people who are happy with the books they have published this way. Very few authors make it to the top, but then surely that is not the goal, is it?
You work for yourself, no-one else; every penny you earn in royalties is yours.
Once you have written and have checked your m/s until your eyes hurt; the next step is to find a professional editor. When you are happy with any changes recommended by the editor your book needs formatting. This should not present be a problem to you. KDP publishes instructions on their site that lead you through the process. They have also published a free booklet which you can download.
What more could ask?
You are in total control of the content; there is no-one breathing down your neck. The choice of the editor is yours. The cover design is yours alone to choose. You set the price. You also choose where, when and how you publish. And a huge plus is that you can check your sales any time of the day or night.
When you upload to kindle your book is normally online within 24 hours.
Createspace is excellent for publishing your paperback copies. Within ten days, (at the latest) your book can be on all the Amazon sites. I have three of my books with Createspace.
There are companies who offer to format your book for you for a small fee.
Remember there is no stigma attached to self-publishing today. It has become quite acceptable to publish your own work.
I have friends who are with traditional publishers. They tell me that they have to market. I also have friends who have books with online publishers, and I have colleagues who own an independent publishing company. The latter use Lightening Source to print their books. They all have to market their books. How else will people know that they are out there?
It all comes down to making a choice. Whichever way appeals to you is the one to try.
There are millions of books are online now. Your book is just one of them. Think about it, you have to get it known. Leading companies market their goods week in and week out; we as authors have to make a bit of noise, or should I say a giant explosion to let the general public know about it. But a word of warning do not over do it. Think of the advertisements on the television, the most annoying ones are those we do not watch. Why? Because they’re on far too often, and so become boring in the extreme.
Publishing a book should not be about making a shed load of money. Not many do. For me it has always been about writing and publishing a book that people will enjoy. If it happens then you have scored the biggest hit ever.