To Traditionally or Self-Publish – THAT is the Question
Category : Publishing Advice
Myth #2: I’ll finally see my book in the bookstore!
This is simply not true. (Pop! There goes the bubble.) With bookstores going out of business and only one or two larger chains still in operation, the sad truth is, there just isn’t enough shelf space to spend money on printing and shipping for every contracted book. Unless you landed a mass market paperback deal OR you’ve been offered a large book advance, this dream will simply not become a reality. Most books are sold online. That’s a fact of this digital age.
Myth #3: The publisher will do all my marketing.
Nope. I’m afraid this isn’t true either, and that includes those books that actually got lucky enough to secure some of that limited space on the shelves. If the publisher isn’t willing to offer you a book advance, they most certainly are not going to spend any money on advertising. What a lot of authors don’t realize is that big publishers don’t honestly know how to sell books to readers. They only know how to sell books to bookstores. The Big 5 are trying to learn how to reach readers from self-published authors. BINGO! In our opinion, they still have a long way to go.
Every author today—self-published or traditionally published—should count on doing their own marketing unless their publisher has written them a big fat check. Unfortunately, the days of premiere advertising being included in a contract have gone the way of the Dodo Bird. Someone reportedly spotted one in Guam, but we’re not convinced it even still exists.
Myth #4: I’ll finally make enough money to support my family.
By now, you’ve probably figured out this isn’t true either. *Sigh.* Most authors who receive their rights back from their publishers make more money self-publishing than they did their entire career with a Big 5. Royalty rates on eBooks are abysmal – generally 25-45%—and the higher rate is most likely with a small-press publisher who has little-to-no pull in the industry. Print royalties are positively pathetic at 2-8%. If your publishers isn’t doing the marketing for you, then it’s time do the math. 45% of nothing is nothing. So, you’ll be spending your time marketing your books, for basically, table scraps. If you want to make money with your writing, you either have to demand an advance or self-publish, and then, at the very least, you’ll get the lion’s share of the royalties.
NEXT – Let’s Get Real