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Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one. – Seth Godin

It is a great time to self-publish.  Publishing your own book has become easy and affordable and can help you:

  • Promote Your Business
  • Build Your Credibility & Your Name
  • Showcase Your Knowledge

FACTS ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING

  • Self-publishing is fueling an explosive growth in publishing in the United States.
  • Over 50% of the total output in 2008 of 560,626 titles came from print-on-demand books (which totalled 285,394 titles).
  • Print-on-demand publishing in 2008 increased 132% over the total of 123,276 print-on-demand titles in 2007. This marks the second consecutive year of triple-digit growth in the print-on-demand segment, and there is no end in sight to this trend.
  • New publishing technologies have fueled the growth of print-on-demand and short-run books and have opened up opportunities for anyone to self-publish a book for a reasonable price in a short period of time.

IF YOU SELF-PUBLISH, KEEP IN MIND THAT BOOKS WILL NOT SELL THEMSELVES — Many authors think books will just sell themselves. Or they think if they get a mainstream publisher, that publisher will do all the promotion of the book for them. The truth is most publishers expect authors to have a “platform” and to market their own books. So, either way, you are going to have to promote your book. If you self-publish, you or someone is going to have to market your book. Some self-publishing companies do offer services to help you with this promotion, as part of special package pricing or as add-on services.

MOST SELF-PUBLISHED AND TRADITIONALLY-PUBLISHED BOOKS DO NOT SELL MANY COPIES – The average number of books sold by a self-published author is 75. However, only about 2% of books published by traditional publishers sell more than 5,000 copies and only about 8% of books published by traditional publishers make a profit.

Other reasons you might want to self-publish:

  1. To Create A Personal Book for Family and Friends – There are many options for creating personal books for a limited audience. For example, the online service at www.blurb.com offers a variety of easy-to-use templates and layouts for wedding books, photography books, portfolio books and children’s books. These books can be printed and shipped quickly. Blurb also has an option for creating community books or group books, where a number of different people can upload photos to your book. Blurb also has a bookstore where people can view and purchase your book. Or you can choose to make your book private and only viewable to those you choose.
  2. When You Can’t Get A Publisher – Major publishers seek authors who already have an audience, such as a celebrities or media personalities or well-known politicians. Without a platform, especially in today’s economic climate, is almost impossible to get a major publisher. Even getting a mid-list or small publisher can be difficult, although it may not be as difficult as a major publisher. However, if you are writing nonfiction, having the credentials and being an authoritative voice and having a platform are also important and can improve your chances of landing a deal.
  3. To Prove Your Book Can Sell in the Market Place in Hopes of Getting A Major Publisher — If you can sell several thousand copies of your book in a relatively short period of time, you may get the interest of a publisher because you have already tested the book in the marketplace. Sometimes, however, if you sell too many books in too short a time, a publisher may think that you have already saturated the marketplace and might reject you on that basis.
  4. For the Tax Advantages of Being A Publisher – There are expenses related to your publishing business that can be deducted, such as travel to writer’s conferences, purchases of books, subscription fees to newsletters and so on.
  5. To Maintain Control of Your Book – If you want to have control on the final material in your book, and the book title and cover design, you may have to self-publish since it is usual for  publishers to not give the author final approval on copyediting or even to have the right to select the final title or jacket design.
  6. To Print Your Book Quickly– Most publishers work on an 18 – 24 month production cycle. That is how long you will wait to see your book in print. If you want to use a literary agent, which is advisable, it might take several months or even years to secure an agent. Add to that the time for contract negotiations and signing, which can take several months, and it might be years before you see your book in print.
  7. To Earn More of the Profits – The usual royalties for a book published by a publisher are between 6 – 10 %. Sometimes the royalty is based upon the retail price, but more often it is based upon the net proceeds of the book.  If you self-publish and have a distributor, you will usually receive 35%. If you self-publish and use a wholesaler, you usually will receive 45 – 50%.  If you self-publish and sell your book on Amazon.com through its Advantage Program, you will receive 45%. If you self-publish and sell your book through the Create Space online store, you will pay a fixed charge per book and then receive 80% of the retail price. However, if you self-publish and sell directly to the public, you will get 100%.  But, of course, you will  have some expenses in direct sales as well, but the point it that you will receive a higher percentage of the profits than if you go with a publisher.

RESOURCES

Get a book for sale online in just a few days at Amazon.com-owned CreateSpace.com

Recommended books to research options for self-publishing your books

Top Self Publishing Firms by Stacie Vander Pol

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine

Joan Holman Info

Book Marketing Diva Joan Holman is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based author, ghostwriter, book development and book marketing consultant who works with traditionally-published and self-published authors throughout the world, including many top business and thought leaders. Contact her at joan@holman.com or by phone at 952-595-8888. Websites: www.bookmarketingdiva.com and www.holman.com

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