Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Go traditional or self-publish - good advice on LinkedIn

I started a discussion on LinkedIn in the Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors, and Writing Professionals group asking: “If your publisher went out of business, did you look for another publisher or take the self-publishing route?” I got a lot of encouragement for trying to get another traditional publisher and a lot of good solid information about how to self-publish. I even had an offer from a self-publishing resource. 

Here are a few helpful comments that came back:

Dottye: If you had one publisher interested in your book, your chances may be good another will - if you are considering self-publishing, Mark Levine wrote a great book on the top self-publishing companies to consider and those to avoid. Check out for a 100% royalty free company.

Lori: If you self-publish, whether you go electronic or not, you still need to be prepared to take care of the distribution and marketing yourself. Typically, folks with niche markets that dovetail with their business do very well in self-publishing. Self-published books often have a longer shelf life, whereas a book by a traditional press may need to shoot out of the sales gate for a publisher to keep it in its stable of titles. As far as genres, these days, novels and short stories can do very well as self-published titles, if you are prepared to pay attention to promotion and publicity. Some authors enjoy those aspects of the business and others don't. So, now would be a good time for you to assess your goals and strengths, to see what you are prepared to undertake and how you want to spend your time.

Donald: Yea, sure, 100% royalty free and you keep "all" of your money. Let’s see, Mill City Press has publishing packages for sale. They start at $1697 and run up to $5997 and that's before marketing and royalties are even taken into consideration. If you are self published, by definition you keep "all" of your royalties from a sale anyway. If you need help, look at CreateSpace by Amazon. Use it as a benchmark when looking at different companies. Lulu has a good rep and is reasonable for publication services. If you need help, consider comparing them to the others out there. Last, look at what the traditional publisher takes from the sale. What does he do for it that you can't do for yourself?

Rachel: That happened to me, too. I found an agent who would take it, and she's beginning to shop it to other publishers. It sure slowed things down, but I think the fact that you already had a publisher will help as you look for a new one.

Charlotte: I had two publishers go out of business. I got the rights to my books back and re-sold the very same day. I know we have a lot of self-published authors here in the group but I would strongly recommend trying to get a traditional or e-pub interested in your book before you self-publish. 

And more from Donald: Look at Lightning Source Printing (a subsidiary of Ingram Distributors) and look carefully at what they will do for you for a whole $12 (yes that is twelve dollars) a year. In fact, I'll save you the trouble of looking it up. They do all the logistics and accounting for just $12 a year. They take care of the business and you get a check, based on your books' sales, in your bank account each month just like you did before. You still have to do your own promotion, which you were doing anyway. Yes, Lightning Source will do everything that the publisher you lost did or what a new publisher will do - for a whole $12 a year - and what did your publisher make off of you last year? Figure it out. Yes you paid him a huge portion of "your" royalties. If you can look realistically at these numbers and want another publisher I'd be surprised. 

If you really want a new publisher, you won't have the least problem finding one, if your books are selling. It's free money you will be giving him. Any publisher will jump at it.

To double your profits, or better (assuming sales remained the same as last year), all you have to do is pick a business name and in less than a half a day you can get a tax ID and a business bank account and you are now a publisher and are ready to do business. It takes about ten minutes to set up your account with Lightning Source, and less than a hundred dollar file set-up fee per book. The books will automatically be listed on Amazon.

If you are looking to sell to Barnes and Noble too, (hard copies) look up Aaron Shepard on the internet. He has a blog that will show you how to set up files at two printers, "CreateSpace" for Amazon sales and Lightning Source for Barnes and Noble sales and you will pick up a 15% premium on your Amazon sales. (Barnes and Nobel discount is 55% off list price Amazon through create space is 40%) All of this with no logistics work for you.


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