publishing a positive choice
Don’t think of self-publishing as the consequence of innumerable soul destroying knock-backs. Who cares if some twenty-something publishing exec isn’t impressed by your deepest thoughts, do you really need that validation? It’s reckoned to take ten years to close a book deal, if you get the breaks that is.
Time’s a big factor if you’re of a certain age. Personally, I couldn’t wait for the enormous satisfaction of seeing my work in print. Right now, self-publishing could be your best option, but it doesn’t have to be a forever thing. It could just be your springboard to conventional publication. E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey began life self-published, and has since sold 125 million copies worldwide.
Maybe you’re coming to the conclusion that comparing traditional publishing and self-publishing is an apples and pears thing. And you’d be right.
Here’s a few of the less obvious differences and benefits
Creative freedom: So you’ve been snubbed by mainstream publishing, why should you feel bound to play by their rules? Self-publishing leapfrogs the publishing establishment; your relationship is direct with your readership. You can write what the hell you like, within the bounds of decency and legality, and ride roughshod over literary conventions. It’s you should be the arbiter of your own expression, not some junior executive in HarperCollins. Increasingly, self-publishing’s the place where boundaries are tested, new ground broken.
Independence: Book publishing is centred on conventional printing, which hasn’t changed fundamentally since the fifteenth century. Whereas digital printing is barely pre-millennial, with Kindle coming along just over twelve years ago. Okay, offset printing is still the most economic for long print runs; but, there’s a heavy upfront investment. With AMAZON you write a book, publish it, doesn’t cost a penny. How’s that for levelling the playing field. Self-publishing isn’t about luck, who you know, your writing pedigree, or current literary fashion. It’s just about getting it done.
Immediacy: Publishers live in a strange glacial time zone all their own. And face it, you’re not the only hot property they’re handling. I was nineteen when my first book was accepted by a publisher. By the time it was in the shops the publisher had died, and I was on my second marriage. With AMAZON that could be crunched down to less than a month.
Flexibility: You’ve got a conventional publishing deal, all the stock is printed, then someone notices spelling mistakes. Happened to J K Rowling. With AMAZON you simply correct the manuscript and resubmit, no cost incurred. Your books attracts reader reviews on AMAZON. This provides an incredibly intimate relationship with your audience. They’ll let you know if some aspect of your book isn’t working. Say they’ve a valid point, simply update your book, again no cost. They’re regular physical books, but you can update like a blog.
Quality: Print-on-demand books, being laser printed, are not subject to the flaws and inconsistencies associated with the traditional offset process. The paper stock AMAZON use is also far superior to paperback pulp; finer grained and less absorbent, resulting in minimal show-through.
Money: Compared to conventional publishing you’ll keep a greater proportion of your book’s earnings. Roughly speaking the return for a paperback is 60% of the sale price after deducting printing costs. This allows the author to control profitability by setting the sale price themselves. AMAZON handle the fulfilment, and shipping is charged to the customer. You can buy your books at cost; an average sized four-hundred page paperback would typically be £5.00 to the author. For an eBook the return is 70% of the sale price, again the author sets the price.