Traditional Publishing, Self or Independent Publishing: Which to Choose and Why…Advice from the Book Coach / Book Shepherd

Ahhh, times have changed—which publishing road does an author take today? With the Internet and today’s technology, traditional publishers are being turned on their heads, self and independent publishers have morphed into new critters—ranging from “Wow—look at these books, they are amazing” to “Wow—these like they were done with Elmer’s Glue at the kitchen table.”thCALEGN10

The publishing road answer: it depends. Authors are choosing to bypass the traditional method that had been so coveted by the majority of authors just a few years ago. The five key factors that have moved authors to seek other avenues are: rejection, timing, control, quality and money.

Rejection that a traditional publisher(s) has said, “No,” have led authors down the do it themselves path. Some choose the vanity format such as LuLu or iUniverse (please don’t–and avoid Author Solutions, Author House, Xlibris, Balboa Press, etc.); others explore POD; pay to publish; eBooks; or create their own publishing house.

beware of publishing

Timingif your manuscript is completed, you can have it edited, cover and interiors designed, printed and in your hands within four months. With traditional publishing, you can have your manuscript completed and it will most likely be in your hands in 18 months.

Controlif you get a group of authors together who have traditionally published, one of the most common grumblings you will hear is that they don’t like the way their book looks—covers and interiors and they really have been in a fog when it comes to book sales.

Qualityin 2009, a close friend had her 5th book published by the same NY publisher that did my second book in the mid-nineties. Over 20 years between our respective publications. The book she proudly gave me was a month old and a trade paper. The interior paper was thinner than mine when we took it off my book shelf to compare; my trade paper cover was still flat—hers was already curling up. Hers, of course, was twice the price of mine.

Moneyis an important thing to look at. Most traditional publishers are pushing for “net” royalty deals. If your book is $20 retail, the net for sales to wholesalers and distributors will be less than $10 per book—meaning that the royalty is based on the less than $10 amount. The last two years have been brutal to the “average” author—non-fiction sales are in the 4,000-5,000 area. That means $4,000 to $5,000 in royalties—those lovelies that are paid twice a year, with a deferral of three months after each closing period; and usually with a hefty percentage holdback for reserves—meaning books get turned back and the publisher wants to cover its tush and not overpay you (and come knocking on your door to now pay them). In other words, this isn’t going to seed your retirement—don’t quit the day job!

As a savvy self and independent publisher—when you create a platform to reach out to your crowd, your sales will not only be greater, the financial reward will be significantly greater. For me, I know that I can sell 3,000 copies of a book and net $40,000 to $50,000 higher than my traditional publishing contracts that I used to live with.

It’s your choice … but do the math always. Measure your time, investment and potential return.

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Ashography Event PhotographyJudith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd a book publishing expert and coach. She is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord Indie/Fab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences.

Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Unplugged, a two and 1/2 day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2015, the dates are August 27-29th. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at http://tinyurl.com/AuthorURoadio. Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.

If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code 1239874444 … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen.

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2 Comments on Traditional Publishing, Self or Independent Publishing: Which to Choose and Why…Advice from the Book Coach / Book Shepherd

  1. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out
    for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future.
    A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    • Judith Briles says:

      Priscilla… not sure what brussels has to do with it .. but I have a great recipe for the sprouts.

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