This is the opening discussion in my new ebook - now available on Kindle - "How To Write A Book That Positions You As An Expert In Your Field"
To Get A Publisher Or To Self-Publish.
Most writers are not candidates for big publishers. They may be candidates for small niche publishers; they may not be candidates for any publishers. This book, for example, is a candidate for e-books but not for print publishers. In the day of self-publishing, and e-book publishing, getting published by other people isn’t all that necessary. That is particularly important to realize since you, as author, are going to have to do the bulk of self-promotion anyway.
Big name publishers, like Doubleday or Harcourt Brace, are becoming fewer and fewer. Yes, they sometimes give advances, which you pay back out of the sale of your book, but you have to pay back in full if it turns out they don’t like your final product. Yes, they sometimes put money into a national tour, and they take care of all the little problems like lay out and copy writing. But, there’s just one major problem – if your book isn’t a hit in a few weeks, it goes off the shelves, out of the book stores, gets remaindered or languishes forever in Amazon warehouses or you get to buy whatever copies are left. With the advent of the big discounts at the super stores which are in competition to see who can sell the most by lowering the price of your book, you get less profit from your books. The policies in big publishing, and big chains end up being costly for the little guy and it pays to know what business is like in the book world before you enter it.
Finally, there’s the issue of who gets the profits. If you get 1 - 5% of the sale of your book with a big publisher you’re lucky – and that’s not entirely unfair. They take the risk, make the advance, eat the returns if the book doesn’t sell, have the book edited, copy edited, printed, distributed and, if they do happen to publicize it, keep the staff to do that on their payroll. They have big buildings, big staffs, international representation and a lot of overhead. So you take your couple of bucks profit and keep your day job.
Since you’re going to have to store a bunch of your books anyway – for back of the room sales – you might as well publish it yourself and keep the profit. Unless you are already really famous, and have a great publicist on your payroll, books that have been published by big publishers usually don’t usually have a long life – although that’s somewhat less true with the advent of Amazon.com where 49% of all books are sold. If you are using your book in your seminars and workshops for back of the room sales, you need to have copies for the duration of your career (which you buy at half price from the publishers as long as they’re in print and then you self- publish). Unless you have a big name and a large following, it’s probably best to consider self-publishing early in your decision-making process.
NOTE: Even if you are going to submit your project to a publisher, it’s a good idea to have a copy editor look it over before you send it in. Editors don’t like misspellings, awkward English and typos.