Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing Debate: Which is Right For You? #selfpublishing

For as long as mankind has found out that he could publish a book himself, there has been a raging war between the two sects - those with a publishing deal from a traditional publisher and those who decided to cut through all that mumbo jumbo and go the DIY route.  Years ago, self-publishing meant you were published by a vanity house.  Today, it means YOU are the publisher, handling everything from formatting to book design.  Most of us opt to pay a professional for editing and that perfect book cover, not to mention other side items like getting the book formatted for the Kindle store.  A lot goes into it for the self-published author and they don't seem to mind one bit.

But calling it a war might be over-dramatizing things.  Some authors have met in the middle and become "hybrid" authors which means they choose both methods of publications for personal reasons.  They might have started out with a traditional publisher; then their books become backlisted and so the obvious and most attractive choice then would be to pull those bad boys out from non-existence and self-publish them. This can create a quite attractive extra income for them so it's all good as they say.  Like I've said before, there is no better time in history than now to be published.  Our dreams of being a published author only requires a little work on your end and, after that, what's stopping you?

There are advantages and disadvantages with both, of course.  Let's start with self-publishing.  The pros and the cons:
  • You are in control of everything.
  • You get to choose your own book cover and only have yourself to blame if it's not right.
  • You have total control over the title.
  • You know when a book is sold so you don't have to wonder if the publisher is keeping you in the dark about it (just sayin').
  • You get no advance.
  • YOU decide on the book release date.  Since you know when you want it published, you'll be on your own deadline to get it up on that date and don't have to rely on others to make sure your book is published in the time frame you want.
  • If there's an error that someone points out after it's published, pull it, fix it, put it back.
  • You have to foot the bill for promotions.
Everyone knows the pros and cons of traditional publishing, but here's a few to remind us:
  • The only thing the author has to worry about is going over edits; the publisher handles the rest (hopefully).
  • You may have some input on book cover design, but the final verdict comes from the publisher who is only thinking of what they feel would sell the book (natch).
  • You don't have total control over the title.  The publisher determines what title will sell.
  • Less return on money made; but after all, you are essentially paying someone to publish you whether or not you realize it.  The lower royalties you would make with traditional publishing compared to what you would make going indie is because the publisher foots the bill for editing, book cover, formatting and purchasing the ISBN.
  • Some publishers give advances, but you must sell books for them to recoup their money. You don't sell enough books to make up for the advance and you can kiss this publisher goodbye.
  • If the editor gets sick and your publishing date gets extended two weeks after Valentine's Day and you're a romance author, you have to suck it up.
  • If there's an error that someone points out after it's published, you can expect a long wait to have that fixed if ever.
  • You still have to foot the bill for promotions.
Each author needs to decide which is right for them.  Some authors feel they don't have the skills, the know how or the time to invest in learning how to publish themselves and opt for a traditional publisher.  Some authors feel they have attained the golden egg when getting a publishing deal and rightly so in some cases - there is a certain prestige and pride in knowing someone else believes in your book as much as you do.

You have to be the one to choose which method is right for you and learn from the mistakes along the way.  If more authors would put time into discovering who they are as far as their limitations and capabilities, more publishing deals - traditional or otherwise - would become successful adventures.

Dorothy Thompson writes fiction and nonfiction for adults. She's co-author of Romancing the Soul, a compilation of true soul mate stories and the soon to be released, Romancing the Million $$$ Ghost available spring '14. Her articles have appeared in such publications as USA Today, Chicago Times, and has been quoted in Ok! Magazine. Dorothy is also founder of Pump Up Your Book, an award-winning public relations agency specializing in online book promotion and social marketing for authors.

Visit her blog at www.dorothythompson.blogspot.com or the Romancing the Million $$$ Ghost book blog at http://milliondollarghost.blogspot.com/

Connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pumpupyourbook or Facebook at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.    

Visit her book’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RomancingTheMillionDollarGhost

Dorothy lives on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, and enjoys walking trails, biking and promoting authors.

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