Friday, April 8, 2011

Self Publishing vs Publishing Company

In this post I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both self publishing and going through a professional publishing company. This is a very important decision for a lot of beginner authors and illustrators. I feel both should be fully understood before committing to publishing your work.

Getting started
Most people reading this post I presume are just getting started in the their children's book career. At this stage it is hard to break into publishing companies. They are a very tight crowd who are hesitant to take a risk on a new comer. If you manage to prove yourself and get your foot in the door, then great go for it. However if you are having trouble getting your first big break self publishing is defiantly an option. This can help you build your portfolio and show your skills in a published book form rather than just manuscripts. The only thing I should mention is that publishing companies are known to frown upon self publishing due to the fact that many very bad writers publish their works without doing much research or development of their writing.

Another thing to consider is the timeline. When you get your manuscript accepted by a publishing company it can be up to two years before you book ends up printed and available to the public. This can be very frustrating as a creator who is rearing and ready to start promoting their book. Self publishing on the other hand is instant. You can have your book printed and available to customers all over the world within weeks.

Creative control
Publishing companies have a lot of experience within the industry and know what sells and what doesn’t. When your manuscript is selected they will often require you to make many changes to your story and illustrations. This is not necessarily a bad thing as they do know what they are doing. However they are less willing to take chances on a new concept, idea or way of writing. They are only interested in something they have seen success with in the past. The risk with self publishing is not having enough direction from professionals. A lot of people end up publishing a book with obvious armature mistakes in it. If you self publish I would recommend you pay the small amount of money to get a professional literary assessor and editor to go over your story.

Royalties who gets what
When you get a book published by a publishing company they usually give you an advance on the royalties at the beginning of the project. This covers your time and effort of creating the book. Once the book starts to sell over the advance then you start to receive more royalties. The royalty per book sold is usually quite a small amount from 5-20% of each sale. It depends on your contract, experience and what type of book it is. You are almost guaranteed to sell a fair amount of books if publishers are involved however this varies a lot. If you self publish you do not receive any advance or lump sum at the beginning however you do receive a much higher royalty. Depending on the self publishing option you choose your can earn anywhere from 80-30% of the sale. As you are in charge of pricing and marketing your books you get most of the money. However you are working a lot harder and are responsible for making sure your book sells.

Publish your book with CreateSpace: get high royalties, low book prices, and expanded distribution.

With a publishing company as they have invested a lot of money in the book they are likely to do a lot of PR and marketing to promote it. In saying that publishers expect you to do a lot of promotion work as well. Book tours, readings etc. The amount they do does vary from publisher to publisher however they have a lot more connections in the industry and know what it takes to sell a book. When self publishing you are on your own you are in charge of all marketing and promotion of your book. This is a lot of work for a single person, however it is possible and a lot of authors have been very successful in this way. You also only need to sell a small amount of books to make the royalties you would from a publishing company.

In the past the reason you had to go through a publsihing company was that they were the only ones with connections to all the buyers and distributors for major book stores. This has changed drastically over the past few years with technology. Self publishers now have the same access to these companies through self publishing sites. Also with the internet being major competition to the printed book. Digital publishing is now effecting printed book sales.

Publish your book with CreateSpace: get high royalties, low book prices, and expanded distribution.

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