Well, from my own experience I have to say the marketing is an extreme amount of work, but worth it. I learned that getting published by a real publishing house is by far, better. However, sometimes we just have got to do what we have to. Most publishing houses are requiring agents, and they are not always seeking topics that a lot of us write about.
As the saying goes, "There's plenty of fish in the sea." If one has gone through the entire list of agents and any publishers that would be interested in your book, self publishing is a way to get started. Be certain there is a market for it before you get too involved though. Best Wishes.
I think it works best when you have an established fanbase or costumers. For example, I know professors who teach using the textbooks they write. At the beginning of each semester they sell around a hundred copies or so of their books for as long as they teach. Not so bad if you ask me. Also there are people who get the public in other ways. If you are a famous blogger you can get away with selling books since people already like your writing.
I think self publishing is a great way to write about your own family history. The book can be read by your extended family and provide a great read for future generations.
I am one of 8 children and we all contributed a chapter each. It was never intended for a wider readership but family members.However, I couldn't resist writing a hub based on part of my chapter but I changed family names to protect privacy. My oldest brother got quite a good deal from an on-line publisher and we were able to buy copies at a reasonable rate.
I have also heard that some people have gone for a wider readership, by publishing memoirs, and donating profits to charity.Some have been very successful.
Self publishing is just that, you write, you edit, and you market. I have found the companies we have worked with expect you to have a marketing plan, scheduled signings, marketing ideas, and they collect the money. This is our third book and we have learned a lot, first brag a lot, talk about it and do it before it is published. I hope if we can hit it with success a big publishing house might want us.
The more options that are available to authors, the better. It is important to be well-informed and have realistic expectations. Some books are easier to market and successfully self-publish than others.
I'm on this fence right now so have been doing a lot of research. In a nutshell:
Vanity publishing - you pay a lot of money to have formatting and printing done and receive about 1-5 author's copies. No advance, royalties about 20-30% of retail with book listed in publisher's catalogue, and often listed with Amazon and in publisher's list to booksellers. You do all marketing or pay them to do it based on packages.
Self publishing - you format and pay only per book with prices per book reducing for more quantity. You set retail and receive whatever is left after your cost for printing, usually 40-60%. But you are responsible for mistakes, cover art and layout, ISBN, copyright mark, and marketing. Some printers have fees for all this little stuff but they are marginal.
Note: A major publisher will not pick up a title if it was published via vanity publisher but will if self-published.
Many small publishers will pick you up either way.
I've been self publishing for 20 years. It's a LOT of work. If you are serious about your craft, you really don't have time to publish, market, take care of inventory, etc. But it has given me a strong insight about how to work with legitimate publishers.
I work with several publishers now, and I'm phasing out of self publishing all together.
I think gathering together all replies I'm drawn to your final sentence Daniel.
Gut instinct told me rhat this was the way to go for me anyway.
I'm sure that self publishing suits many but I think I'm going to aim for finding a publisher.
Thank you so much to all for taking the time to reply.
Eiddwen self publishing is hard however rewarding in the sense that the author has the final say in everthing. Self publishing is just like Daniel has said you have to be willing to devote hours in the marketing of your publications.
In return this limits the Author the availabilty to write!
I believe self-publishing to be detrimental to the credibility and damaging to the reputation of a writer and that explains why no agent will ever represent a self-published author.
Doing it the “old fashion way” may seem complicated, but it is possible and my experience proved it. For step by step instructions you may want to read my hub on “how I managed to get published a few times over”
I tend to agree with everything that has been said above and I am not advocating self-publishing but I would like to present the other view. There is an exception to every rule.
You may be familiar with the books in the "Eragon" series written by Christopher Paolin they becam a movie. They were first self published on Lulu.com. Then Christopher, with support from his family, worked really hard at marketing them.
Just to provide the other perspective.
Mark Twain, GP Taylor, Beatrix Potter, Edgar Allen Poe, Tolstoy, James Joyce, EECummings, Oscar Wilde.. If you self publish you're in GREAT company - go for it, but beware the vanity publishers who may want to charge you too much for half a job.
It might be better to use contemporary examples. Publishing has changed a bit since then....
Also, see above for couturepopcafe's explanation of the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishers. I haven't researched this extensively, but I believe she is correct.
Eragon was *not* first self-published on Lulu. The author's parents owned a small press and they published it.
What thoughts are there about writing and selling book online, on a website, and asking the readers to pay by the chapter? This thought has been clouding my mind for quite a while and I have a few people encouraging me.
Traditional publishers very rarely take note of any self-published book. Walk into any book shop, and see how many self-published books there are - most likely none.
I'd recommend that anyone fully research self-publishing before committing to it. Weigh the amount of work involved against the actual returns. Yes, you'll have a copy of your precious manuscript - but how many other people will?
Self-publishing sites are many, and the books available on them run into the many thousands (and increasingly so.) Think about how you're going to promote your work. Have you a pre-existing market for it?
Self-publishing isn't such a bad idea when it comes to eBooks! Nowadays the average Joe can throw together an eBook and get an ISBN number, next thing you know it's on Amazon, B&N, etc. etc!
I think for someone who's never been published, it's always a good place to start-eBooks I mean.
There's no cost to you! Everything you sell is profit, and you can test out your own marketing skills. Heck, get enough of a fan base you might even try your sleeves at a publishing house!
Anyone can make an ebook, but people still tend to buy them from publishers they trust. If you do it all yourself it take a lot of skill and effort. Unless you have a philosophical reason to do it all yourself, getting a publisher is probably the easier path to making real income from a book.
I am thinking of self publishing a book, stories I have written about my dog, I think self publishing in my case means marketing will be secondary, but then I know since I already established my dog's name in a dog community, I know there will be group of people who will be interested with it....
Anyway it will be a different story if a published got interested with my stories..
I hope to self-publish poetry in 2011. There is a demand for it, but not enough to get it published, I think. Either way, I enjoy freedom, limited but devoted readers more. And I don't want to go about promoting it either, sometimes authors seem to be sold themselves by their agents/managers/publishers/whatever.
I prefer getting to call the shots myself
there's no profit in poetry anyway, so why not do it this way, right?
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