A few weeks ago I attended a self-publishing class put on by Beth Jusino. She had some great insight into all aspects of the publishing and self-publishing process.
As I (and many of you) have discovered, writing a book is often the first step in a very long journey. Depending on why you started writing in the first place, you probably want to publish your work. Some of you may write for writing’s sake, in which case, great! Sit back and have a beer. For the rest of us, there are lots more decisions to make.
Does the next step in your journey take you through traditional publishing, indie publishing, or self-publishing? Well, it depends in large part on what you hope to get from your publishing experience.
Good for: Authors who want to work with a team of professionals, who want help with pre-release marketing, who are looking for no up-front financial cost and hopefully some up-front royalties, a feeling of validation from getting a “book deal” and making it past the gatekeepers.
Bad for: Control over the publishing process, a quick turn-around (your book will likely be published 12-18 months from when you turn in your manuscript), post-release publicity, authors who have a unique concept that doesn’t fit in an easy marketing box.
Good for: Authors who have a project in a niche market, who want to have a personal connection with their editorial and publishing team, who want to make connections with indie bookstores, who want to submit directly to a publisher without going through an agent.
Bad for: Certainty in quality of editing, publicity, and the book itself. Small or indie presses vary wildly in quality, the degree of vetting, even financial stability. Make sure to check out the quality of books, covers, interior design, etc. before committing to a small press.
Good for: Authors who want to maximize the revenue they derive from their work, who want complete control over their work, who want a quick turn-around on their project.
Bad for: Authors who don’t want to learn all the tech stuff or make decisions about each step of the publishing process, who can’t make an up-front investment, who don’t want to select and vet their freelance vendors.
There are a lot of trade-offs in each type of publishing, so it’s worth a serious heart-to-heart with yourself about why you are publishing and what you hope to get from your book.
Another eye-opening aspect of the various options had to do with the money!
Beth went over the differences, dollar for dollar, between traditional and self-publishing. An example for a print paperback and ebook is below. Self-publishing nets an author more money every time, so that’s certainly a factor to consider!
Ultimately, I decided to go the small-press route. I still have one publisher considering my manuscript and I sent our queries to four more over the weekend. I like the idea of working with professionals for my first book, since I don’t have a strong sense of what industry standards are yet. I like that I wouldn’t have to take the time or jump through the hoops to get an agent, and that I wouldn’t have to make an up-front financial investment.
Everyone is different, and so each route is a legitimate choice for certain folks. But it’s exciting to be publishing in an era where we have so many choices!
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