Would you rather self-publish an e-book or let a literary agent handle it for me?
If you had completed an e-book and a literary agent seemed interested in it, would you go that way or do you think it would be more of an advantage if you published it yourself?
That can be a tough question. Basically to answer it one must decide purpose IMHO. Is it to achieve publishing a book, acquiring revenue, or a mix between. Once that is determined one must follow the money trail. For instance what is the cost to publish the e-book with the host.
Obviously the literary agent is not doing it for free. How will the literary agent receive revenue for the representation. A question to ask is how much is the initial outlay for publication costs and whose responsibility is that. Some traditional publishers don't pay those costs upfront. There are times the author does all of the costs to publication a quantity of books. At times it may be shared. And, there may be a minimum for books published.
Some self-publishing book businesses have no upfront cost. They do on-demand publishing. The work is digitally stored and printed only when purchased. That is the basic model Amazon uses. Unsure of LuLu and others. They also offer an e-book with Kindle.
I am not an expert, however with what little I know there are considerations to ponder. Things like who will sell the book, how will that be done, and what are those costs also must be looked at. One must put pen to paper seeking all the pros and cons.
Thank you Tim Mitchell. You have opened my eyes to so many points that I was not aware of. I am nowhere near publishing an ebook, but I feel it is something to research.
I have not looked hard at the e-book market and means to publish other than Kindle. The nitty-gritty of any publishing is the costs, the marketing to promote a purchase, and its distribution means. Without awareness no one will purchase it.
As Tim alluded to: writing the book is the easy part.
Marketing & promotion in addition to getting great editorial reviews is the challenge. Some people don't have the time, money, or the will to invest the effort to sell their book.
I have done it once, my opinion, is that it is a waste of money. People usually won't even hear of your book and you sell 0 copy.
I am in no doubt that many will go through that kind of experience. There are so many books offered that it is a wonder that some make it through to the paying reader. It is an interesting subject though, don't you think?
It's unrealistic to expect to become rich off of one book. However if you get some good (editorial) reviews, promote via radio guest spots, social media, or hire a book publicist you should sell some books. One has to promote like it's a job!
Most literary agents are only interested in traditional publishing representation. They want to attract top publishers to publish your book.
A publisher's primary goal is to sell books in bookstores with e-book versions being a secondary revenue factor.
Having said that it really depends on what your book is about. For instance if it's a "How to" book and you want to create a business around it as well as have marketing experience and are driven you might find you'd earn more money self-publishing your book.
A lot of these "Authorpreneurs" who have self-help books set up speaking engagements and seminars to sell their book as part of the package. Decide if your book is a product or part of a business.
Others have mastered the art of using social media to promote their books along with doing blogtalk radio guest spots and blogging to build a brand.
If you're a driven person the financial rewards of self-publishing could be a lot more profitable than earning 50 cents to a $1.50 on every book sold. A self-publisher may earn 50-70% of the selling price.
On the other hand if you prefer to be "hands off" and only focus on writing then it's probably best to seek representation. Nevertheless these days publishers do expect authors to do some level of promotional activity especially if they are unknown.
You do seem to be well informed on the subject, and although I am nowhere near that level of writing, I think it is good to know "how it works". Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.
PS: I do love the monker!
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