Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, my latest book “Off to War” went up for sale on Amazon. It was exciting, of course, because every time you are publishing is thrilling. But even more so because this is my first venture in self-publishing. As a newbie in this arena, I cannot yet tell you much about the pros and cons from personal experience, but I can tell you some of the reasons why I chose this route.
Why Not? At the core of it, I retain all my rights. I don’t have to negotiate down the road to get my rights back, or wait “x” amount of years for the reversion of rights. They are always, solely mine. And I only profit share with the distributer (a.k.a. Amazon, iTunes, etc.) as opposed to sharing with the distributer and the publisher. The idea with going with a publisher 10 years ago was for the marketing dollars. Well, in this day and age, authors are pretty much doing all their own marketing. So, why not?
Well, why go with a publisher at all? I would always say to a newbie writer to START with a publisher. And my next book will be published with a publisher still. This is the only way you can “learn the ropes” of the industry. I didn’t know, for example, that books go through three editors (content, line, and proofing). I learned a LOT from those editing processes. When I started, I didn’t know anyone really in the industry. Where do I go for a book cover? I didn’t know how to shop around. Being with a good publisher allowed me to learn my way a little as I went to conferences, networked, and grew in my knowledge of the industry.
Don’t you want to be Traditionally Published? Well, no, not really. It’s a nice dream. But, I am not sure that a traditional publisher in this day and age of publishing can offer me much. It’s hard to get in with a big publisher, first of all. The marketing dollars typically go toward the big authors. So, they’re taking a bigger cut of my paycheck and I’m doing the same amount of work. They do have a wider reach and it would be nice to have a publisher people recognize on your book. But I don’t shop for books based on publisher, do you? You just have to pick and choose what’s important to you.
And that’s really the long and short of it…you have to decide what is more important to you. You have to take a long, hard look at the industry (after you’ve become reasonably educated about it) and pick your path. I’m trying my hand at self-publishing this one book to see how it goes. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But I’ll never know if I don’t try, right?