Monday, April 15, 2013

A Bird's Eye Perspective: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

So the question was asked, as it gets asked quite often…which is better, to publish through a traditional publisher or to self-publish? There may be pros and cons to both sides, per say. So let’s start with the pros of self-publishing, shall we.

You have full creative control of the content
You keep more profit
You also control whether your work gets published
Less waiting time to publish
You get to market it the way you see fit and get it in the hands of your target readers….more on this in a bit.
Notoriety from friends and family now that you are an accomplished author

With technology today, it’s possible for anyone with a laptop or a desktop to tap and keystroke their way to a novel, short story, poetry piece, etc. and put it out there for the world to view, admire, and gobble up with anticipation of the next alluring piece that you pen, right? Um, well, that is partly true.  Now, let’s take a look at the cons.
You have to market it aggressively. You have to market it aggressively and did I mention that you have to market it aggressively?
Limited distribution
Low stock if any book copies in bookstores
Less profit than you bargained for

One question before we go any further, how many authors do you know that didn’t try to get published traditionally before going the self-published route? Most authors want to be published traditionally but have not yet had the chance to be picked up by a publisher for a myriad of reasons.  Again, with technology, you no longer have to wait. Along with not waiting, honing and perfecting your craft more, and continually writing, self-publishing does offer the benefits of getting out there, but how far can you really get out there.

Sure, we’ve all heard the success and sensation of Amanda Hocking and John Locke (who previously was traditionally published and established). The truth and reality is is that most self-published authors sell less than 200 books after going through all of their friends and family, while the traditionally published average sales range from 3000 to 4000 books.

One big hurdle is that you need to know who your target market is, where to find them and how to reach them. A traditional publisher has an advantage in this department. Yes, it is true that most publishers don’t go all out to market for you (unless you are a an author at the top of the echelon and by this time, you don’t need to be marketed as much because you already have a thriving fan base waiting for your next piece of work). 

So this means, you will spend more time than you imagined marketing your book. If you have a marketing background, it can make the job less stressful, but most authors don’t. You will get some sort of marketing help; however, you will carry a lot of it on your shoulders. Having a publisher that has a dedicated marketing representative and events coordinator that works to get you seen is a huge plus and not to mention a money saver on your part. There may be a couple of these publishers out there, usually smaller presses, but their funds are more limited. Nonetheless, you will get more personalized attention in this department.

Then there is the question of distribution. Most booksellers won’t order books from self-published authors. There are independent bookstores that may take a chance, but your goal is to have your book in as many bookstores (and selling) as possible. Having this connection is a necessity or you will have a very limited distribution circle outside of the online community. Yes, you have the opportunity to publish and distribute your e-books online through Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and other outlets, but not much in the brick and mortar stores. 

Overall looking at it from the traditional publisher’s side is about money, it’s a business.  Not only it is a business, but to be successful at it and make the money to sustain the business, it needs to have great authors that can churn out the books that readers love will review your books, spread the word and help the bottom line…make you money as well. 

With this said, check out our website and view the submission guidelines and what we do in the way of marketing for you. If interested, submit a query. You never know, it may get accepted.

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