Blogs by S G Cardin
Pros and cons of Self-publishing
7/2/2007 6:27:53 AM
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Hi all, the 4th of July is around the corner so I just thought I'd start off with have a great Independence Day!
The other day, I touched upon a quote by Donald Maas, who doesn't favor self-publishing in general and so I thought I'd talk about the pros and cons of being self-published.
One of the big stigmas in the publishing market is to be self-published. However, I find that in 2007 as opposed to 2002, I believe there's less of a stigma as more people self-publish and more self-published books are meeting the QUALITY of a traditionally published book.
What's the difference? A traditionally published book is one where an Agent has sold your book to a publisher. A publisher might given the author an advance ranging from 5,000 to 100+. A publisher then takes over the editing of the product, and depending on who you are and the "sellability" of your product, will do a little marketing and publicity for you. A set number of books are produced. Your books are sent to "brick and mortar" bookstores to be stocked. Generally, they'll be stocked for about 8 weeks and hopefully, they'll sell well. If you're not a big name author or you don't help to market the book, the book undersells what is printed and the bookstore ships them back to the publisher. Mind you, this is the usual scenerio. Authors like Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Nora Roberts will definately sell books and make profits for the publishers.
A self-published book, you, the author, have a lot of control. It can be a good thing or a bad thing. You are in charge of editing. If you don't edit well, you could put out a substandard product. If you edit well, you're product will reflect. Self publishers like Lulu will self publish only. You have to bring the formating for the book and the cover to the table. A self-publisher like IUniverse will format the book and the cover for you. A self-published book is not stocked in a brick and motar bookstore when published. Most of the time, it is available online and you can order that way. You, the author, must market the book - hard - to make a profit.
NOTE: Be aware of the contracts offered in book cases. Traditionally, authors also give the publishers movie rights in case Hollywood wants the movie. In self -publishing, depending on the contract you retain the rights. This is something to aware of.
PROS & CONS
You get paid upfront, The publisher's name carries weight and ensures a quality product. Some publishers help with marketing.
You, the author, pay for publishing. While even Lulu is free on the basic level, there is a cost if you want to distribute "worldwide." As an author, you will be a good chunk of money upfront to get your product created. Once it is created, you have to market it - HARD - to make a profit. You've got to be a "go-getter."
There's a stigma with self-published books that they aren't up to a certain quality, and perhaps when it was just starting, that might be case, but I'm finding more and more self-published books are of a good quality, comparable to traditional publishing. Still, the stigma is there.
A pro to self publishing is the fact that most books are available via the internet and let me tell you, more people are also buying book via the internet.
A con to SP books is that they are more expensive than Trad. published books simply because they aren't produced until they're ordered. Still, a traditional publisher might have to put the overstock of an unsold book in a warehouse. That's potential money sitting there unsold.
Still, in an age of computers and internet, self-published books are gaining more and more recogination. As the quality improves and the ease of buying products over the internet catches on, I believe self-publishing will come into it's own.
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