Monday, January 1, 2024

Traditional Publishing? Or chuck It, and Go with Self-Publishing?


I don't know how many of you are writers, but probably some are.

So, folks consider this:

If you want to publish your work with a big reputable Publishing Company (and can get one to accept you) unless you are an established author or have a big platform—(ie. have big numbers on your website), you probably won't get an advance for your book.

An advance is a prepayment against any royalties. Until your advance is paid off, you will not receive any royalties for your work. And if you don't make the advance amount, you are dead meat to that Publishing House.

Some publishing houses only take manuscripts from literary agents, and getting an agent is about as complicated as getting a publisher.

I once attended a seminar from an agent who said the way slush piles work is you get a few English Major college students, herd them into a room with a pile of manuscripts, throw in a pizza, and lock the door.

And their "no's" are easier for them than a "yes."

A Publishing House will set the price, re-title your book, choose the cover, and edit it if you are lucky. The fixed price is usually high, like $24.99, $14.99, or $12.99. They want to charge enough to make money for themselves and have some left over for you.

Even if you have a Kindle version, they will set that price, too, which is usually high. So, again, unless people know you and want to read what you have written, they are reluctant to plunk down money to read your work.

That is if you can get a Publisher.


You can Self-Publish.

Self-publishing is gaining a better reputation than in earlier years when it was considered "Vanity Publishing." In other words, the writer was stroking his/her ego.

You can publish for a free Kindle manuscript on Amazon, where you format your manuscript and choose a title and cover. First, your Kindle must sell for $2.99, or $1.99 minimum. Amazon likes to make a buck.

For a printed book, you pay for it.

Eventually, you might get on the Free Kindle for people who have Kindle Unlimited (For which they pay about $14.99/mo.)

Once self-published, however, some Publishing houses don't want you, for the book has been out in the airways. You have locked yourself out.

However, the opposite has also been true—look to the bottom of this content. Some writers who self-published sold a ton of books and went on to become best sellers for Publishing Houses.

So, what would you do?

I know writers want to be published. Writing teachers have commented that while discussing the difficulties of writing or publishing, a student will raise their hand and ask, "How do I get published?" like they haven't heard what the teacher has been saying.

However, think of it this way: art not seen or read is just a painting stuck in a closet.


Famous writers who have self-published:

1.                 Andy Weir – The Martian (fascinating here, he began with a blog and asked for Scientific help to insure his information was accurate, published it as an eBook, moved onto traditional Publishing then a Movie)

2.                 Beatrix Potter – The Tale of Peter Rabbit

3.                 Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn

4.                 El James – Fifty Shades of Gray

5.                 Christopher Paolini – Eragon

6.                 William Strunk Jr. – The Elements of Style

7.                 Margaret Atwood – Double Persephone (poems)

8.                 Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad, Poor Dad

9.                 Wayne Dyer – Your Erroneous Zones (First self pub., he promoted it, then traditional)

10.             Steven King (at 15) People, Places & Things. (His own Publishing Co.)



And here I am reluctant to charge for my work, when all around me other people are not afraid to charge, and are asking me for money—even the big hitters. I need to get over that.  

 Check out the process with Money Shout Outs.