I’ve covered in other posts the pros and cons of both self-publishing and traditional publishing to the author today. As a provider of self-publishing services and a traditional publisher with an independent publishing house, I consider myself to have a good feel for both sides of the fence.
I have often been frustrated at the level of commitment displayed by some authors about their own books. Traditional publishers bring credibility, above all else. The merit your work holds if someone wants to publish it sets it higher than most self-published books. Coupled with a still-existing stigma that self-publishing is a vanity exercise, there’s little wonder TP holds so much clout.
However, as I’ve pointed out many times, things are changing. The books of self-publishing author Hugh Howey, for example, prove his books do have merit, at the tills and checkouts.
Commit to your work
What amazes me, and it’s something I see a lot, is the lack of faith and commitment self-publishers have regarding their own work. Having firmly decided they want to self-publish, I get asked by authors how much it would be to print and produce their books.
“Oh, that much? I see, I’ll use Amazon’s Createspace/Lulu/Lightning Source (*insert alternative free, template-based solution here). I can’t possibly put that much money into my book – I won’t see the return.”
Now, The Writing Hall’s service is not that expensive, and I’ll happily work out a payment plan so that the upfront costs are spread. Add that to the fact that when my clients sell their first 150 books, they commonly clear their initial investment and move into profit.
I understand authors might be cautious when laying money out, but if, over any length of time, they don’t believe they can sell 150 copies, why are they putting their book on sale in the first place (and that’s not counting any digital sales they may see, that would only add to their revenue)? If they don’t have complete faith that their book is right for its market or a compelling enough read, banging it on Amazon for free doesn’t help more committed self-published authors who do want to be visible and sell books.
The print on demand costs of the free template solutions, against the costs of a small print run (even as few as 25 copies, which you should always have in stock if selling your work, so that you’re always able to fulfil orders and you’ve books to hand if an opportunity crops up), are a lot higher, which makes the free solutions more expensive in the long run. On top of that, every book that comes from one of these stables looks like a self-published title. To some people, and many readers, this may not be a problem, but if you want to be stocked in book stores, it may prove to be an issue.
I’m honestly not writing this post from a ‘you must come to me’ perspective, but from a level of frustration that some authors think banging up a draft for sale that they only half believe in does anyone any good, especially when there are alternatives available to suit their budgets.
If you think your book is any good, put your money where your mouth is. It’s for YOUR benefit, because you’ll be perceived better as an author. Commit to your work. Understand that you’re investing in your ability. Act like a serious writer.
Consider: How can you ask someone to buy your book if you don’t think its worth investing in?
Developmental editor and publishing consultant Diane Hall is the author of three books; she has also ghost-written books for others and created a plethora of content, on more subjects than you could care to imagine, for numerous clients since the beginning of her career. She is proud to have fundamentally shaped series of books and more than a hundred individual titles over the last decade with various authors, nationally and internationally.
Among her editing qualifications, she holds a linguistics diploma, which involves the study of language and speech. Diane employs this knowledge in the forensic linguistic work she sometimes undertakes.
Diane has seen the introduction and subsequent rise of self-publishing, and passionately keeps abreast of its disruption of the publishing industry. She is a thought leader when it comes to the future of book marketing, fuelled by the poor results authors see when employing traditional techniques.