Is Traditional Publishing is the New Vanity Publishing?

Is Traditional Publishing is the New Vanity Publishing?

I’m not sure who said it first, but I’m not the first to say that “traditional publishing is the new vanity publishing.”

As writers struggle with the quandary over self-publishing or traditional publishing, many cling to traditional publishing as the preferred solution merely because they see it as validating their work. In their minds, finding a traditional publisher is an endorsement from the corporate world. This would affirm their book’s viability and ensuring it’s quality.

This might be a legitimate perspective. However, it could also be a form of vanity. This is especially if self-publishing has the potential to bring in more revenue for the author.

The old vanity publishing versus the new

At one time, vanity publishing meant paying someone to produce a book that no one was willing to publish. This was because it was either poorly written or possessed limited commercial value.

Now the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme. Vanity publishing is insisting someone produce your book merely to satisfy your ego or attain affirmation.

Whichever side of the traditional versus self-publishing dilemma you select, make sure you pick the right solution for the right reason. It should be based on what’s best for you, your book, and your future, not to appease your ego or out of vanity—there’s no future in that.

Make sure you pick the right publishing solution based on what’s best for you, your book, and your future, not to appease your ego or out of vanity. Click To Tweet

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

The Future of Books: What are the Prospects for Book Publishing?

Now is a great time to publish a book and don’t let anyone tell you differently

The Future of Books: What are the Prospects for Book Publishing?

What is your perception of the future of books? Is interest increasing, maintaining, or shrinking? The media would have us believing the end is near, at least as far as the book business, especially print books, is concerned.

  • Eighteen to 29-year olds buy the most books, but those 30 to 44 are right behind them.
  • When combining age ranges, those 13 to 17, 18 to 29, and 30 to 44 buy more books collectively than those 45 to 54, 55 to 64, and over 65.
  • People over 65 buy the least number of books. I would have suspected the opposite, but I would have been wrong,

So, younger people are buying more books than older people. Who would have guessed?

There is much for writers and publishers of books to be excited about. Click To Tweet

Given this, there is much for writers and publishers of books to be excited about, despite the media’s dire pronouncements to the contrary—and if this trend continues, the future of books will be even brighter still.

So now is a great time to write and publish a book. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The future of books is looking up.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

A Traditional Published Author Needs to Be an Entrepreneur

Just like their self-published counterparts, a traditional published author has much to do besides writing

A Traditional Published Author Needs to Be an Entrepreneur

In the last post, I pointed out that self-published authors need to be entrepreneurs and listed what that entailed. The reality is that a traditional published author needs to adopt this same mindset, being entrepreneurial as well.

A given requirement is writing a great book.

The next step is finding an agent, who will find a publisher. To get the attention of both, many writers first hire—and pay—a developmental editor, copyeditor, and proofreader to help them make their work the best it can be before the agent or publisher even sees it.

The author also needs to conduct market research to write a compelling proposal. For nonfiction authors, success in all this, however, largely hinges of them having a platform, from which they can sell their books. Fiction authors don’t face as much pressure to have a platform, but it still helps.

Landing an agent, who will hopefully land a publisher, doesn’t mean the author’s job is done, however. Once the book is published, which could take a year or more, the author must also promote, market, and sell their books. Yes, the publisher will do this, but they’ll expect the author to do most of the work.

No one will be more passionate and have more at stake than the author. This may involve hiring a publicist.

A traditional published author needs to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. Click To Tweet

In addition to writing a great book, the traditional published author needs to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, handling the following tasks:

  • Build a platform
  • Conduct market research
  • Hire a developmental editor, copyeditor, or proofreader
  • Find a publicist
  • Handle marketing and promotion
  • Develop and execute paid advertising

The days of sending your manuscript to your publisher and letting them take it from there are over. Even with a traditional publisher, the author still has a lot of extra work to do. Maybe self-publishing isn’t such a bad idea after all.

What if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur and just want to write? There’s another option: become a ghostwriter.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Removing Ads from Websites: A Writing Q & A

Question: My website is through wordpress.com. WordPress puts ads on my website. Is there anything I can do about this?

Writing Q and A
Answer:
Though this is frustrating, it’s a reasonable tradeoff for a free website solution.

While some readers will overlook the ads, others don’t. Another concern is ads for things that you might not like, appreciate, or agree with.

As part of their business plan, WordPress.com places advertising on your site so they can offset the cost of them offering it to you for free. If you upgrade to a Premium plan, they will remove the ads and provide extra features. Here is a link that explains it: https://en.support.wordpress.com/no-ads/

Or you can switch to WordPress.org and enjoy even more features and greater control over your website, and with no ads. This does take extra work and incurs an added expense, but for many people, this is worth it for all the added features and control.

If this is daunting, the WordPress community is helpful in answering questions and simplifying the learning curve. The most challenging step is the first one: finding a host and getting set up. Here’s a post about WordPress.

Self-Published Authors Need to be Entrepreneurs

Being a self-published author requires a lot of hard work but offers great rewards

Self-Published Author: Your book is a product for you to produce and sell.

In the rapidly changing world of book publishing, an emerging reality is that a self-published author needs to be ab entrepreneur. Writing a great book is not enough; penning compelling content is only the first step.

Authors who desire to self-publish their work need to view their book as a product and themselves as an entrepreneur; they must develop, execute, and fund a business plan for each book they write and publish.

The self-published author, perhaps better called an indie author, becomes a production manager. This is analogous to a general contractor overseeing the construction of a house, in this case, his or her own house.

So it is with self-publishing. The self-published author/entrepreneur/general contractor needs to direct, oversee, and pay for:

  • Developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading.
  • Cover design
  • Interior layout
  • E-book conversion
  • Printing
  • A publicist
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Advertising
  • Distribution

They must also:

  • Pay all the above vendors before any money comes in.
  • Conduct market research.
  • Handle book returns and technical issues with delivery of e-books.
  • Collect payments and deal with bad debt (the people who don’t pay what they owe).
  • Set up a business and all that it entails, including licensing, legal structure, payment of taxes and fees, completing required forms and reports, and so forth

As these lists reveal, being successful in self-publishing, aka indie-publishing, requires a lot of work. For the non-business minded, these tasks may loom as overwhelming, sucking the life from your writing and out of your life.

As a self-published author, you are in control. Click To Tweet

However, for entrepreneurial-minded authors, these activities are invigorating, which offers great potential and reward. The personality and strengths of each writer will determine if the self-publishing road is the right road to take.

As a self-published author, you are in control. You can pick your book title and have the final say over your cover. You set the production schedule and publishing date. You decide how to promote your book, and you can change course and adjust pricing anytime you wish. Your future resides in your hands—not with some publishing company.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

The Key Consideration in Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

Be a hybrid author: the Key Consideration in Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

In the past few weeks I covered the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing (sometimes called indie publishing). I strove to be fair in comments and balanced in my coverage. Here are the four posts:

Where do I stand on this? Will I seek a traditional publisher or go the indie-publishing route? Is there a third option to consider?

Though this publishing deliberation looms as a decision every author needs to make on an author-by-author basis, it’s not that simple. It’s a consideration every author must make on a book-by-book basis.

Yes, depending on the book, some lend themselves to traditional publishing and others cry out for self-publishing. Critical considerations are the book’s topic, genre, and audience size, as well as an author’s goals for reach, distribution, and earnings. I have some books I hope to publish with a traditional publisher, while others I expect to go the self-publish route.

The key is that the self-publishing versus traditional publishing debate isn’t a once-and-done consideration, but it’s a topic to revisit with each book.

Traditional publishing vs self-publishing isn’t an either/or decision. It’s a yes/and strategy. Click To Tweet

Be a Hybrid Author

That’s my plan. I want to do both.

It’s called being a hybrid author. I will seek a traditional publisher when it makes sense and self-publish when that’s the better path. Combining these two options will maximize my career as an author—and hopefully my earnings potential at the same time.

Traditional publishing versus self-publishing isn’t an either/or consideration. It’s a yes/and strategy. The answer is in being a hybrid author.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

Six Downsides of Self-Publishing

Six Downsides of Self-Publishing

In my post “Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish,” I listed several advantages of self-publishing. Although compelling, there are also downsides. Let’s also look at the downsides of self-publishing.

Consider These Six Downsides of Self-Publishing:

1) Quality is Often Lacking

Traditional publishers put their books through several rounds of editing to produce the best possible product. The temptation of self-publishing is to skip these steps. Even if a professional editor is hired, the chance of them catching everything a traditional publisher would in their multiple rounds of review is slim.

But too often, authors self-edit or tap a friend who, although well-intended, lacks the needed experience. From a production standpoint, there’s no reason for substandard output anymore. But it’s too easy and too tempting to cut corners.

2) Credibility May be Illusive

Although self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it once did, some people still consider it a second-rate option.

3) Self-Promotion is Required

Self-published authors are responsible for their own marketing, promotion, and sales. No one else will do it for you.

Self-published authors (indie authors) must be entrepreneurs if they hope to be successful. Click To Tweet

4) The Author Must Become an Entrepreneur

Self-publishing is a business, requiring an investment of time, effort, and money—all with no promise of a return. It’s risky, and you could lose money.

5) Limited Distribution

Although some distribution options are available, they don’t match the reach of a traditional publisher. Don’t plan on your book being in bookstores.

6) No Advances

Self-publishers must shell out money to publish; advances are not part of the equation. You must spend money ahead of time and then hope to earn it back later and make a profit.

These are the six downsides of self-publishing . Consider them carefully and if you opt to go this route, be sure to avoid them.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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Five Downsides of Traditional Publishing

Five Downsides of Traditional Publishing

In my post “5 Reasons Why a Writer Should Go With a Traditional Publisher,” I gave five advantages of traditional publishing. Although these reasons are compelling, there are also some downsides of traditional publishing.

Consider These Five Downsides of Traditional Publishing:

1) It Takes Longer

Unless a book is “fast-tracked” it will typically take eighteen months to two years from your first pitch to it sitting on bookstore shelves. Smaller presses may be nimbler. While larger publishers seek to streamline their processes, but the bottom line is, traditional publishing takes a long time.

2) Agents Are Often Required

Increasingly, publishers will only deal with agents. It makes publishers’ jobs easier, as agents become the first level of screening. Unfortunately, finding an agent is challenging. Since agents are paid on commission they won’t take a project they don’t think they can sell.

3) Rejection is Likely

For those publishers who will talk directly to writers, the odds of them being accepted are small, sometimes less than one in a hundred. Even with an agent, rejection is expected.

4) Authors Must Market Their Own Book

Traditional publishers will do a small amount of promotion for all their authors, but the bulk of their attention and dollars go to the A-list authors. If a book is to sell, the author is the best person to make it happen.Don’t rely on book royalties to pay bills; treat them as a bonus, if they occur. Click To Tweet

5) Be Patient With Royalties

The process of publishers accounting for and paying royalties is confoundingly slow. Don’t rely on book royalties to pay bills; treat them as a bonus—if they occur. Since initial book sales are applied against the advance, some authors never sell enough copies to earn any royalties—ever.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!

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How to Find a Critique Group: A Writing Q & A

Question: What do I do if there are no critique groups where I live?

Writing Q and A: Critique Group

Answer: I hear this question a lot.

First, know that there may be some, but you just haven’t found them yet. Keep looking. Try bookstores, schools, libraries, and coffee shops—any place were writers hang out. Also, ask every writer you meet if they’re aware of any area critique groups.

Second, have you considered an online group? There are many out there. Just do a search. These groups have different goals and various formats, so look them over to find one that’s right for you. And if your first choice doesn’t work, try a different one.

Another option is to start your own critique group. It’s not hard. It’s what I did. Again, look online for ideas and recommendations on leading a successful critique group.

Five Types of Writers

Five Types of Writers

types of writer

Discover What Type of Writer You Are and Then Embrace It

There are different types of writers. They have different motivations, are at different places in their writing journey, and have different goals. Here’s how the different types of writers breaks down:

1. The Aspiring Writer

I’ve heard many people refer to themselves as aspiring writers. But they’re misusing that label. They say aspiring because at this point in their journey they lack the confidence to say they’re a writer, so they qualify it by tacking on aspiring. If this is you, I encourage you to take a deep breath, drop aspiring, and boldly say, “I am a writer.” It will take practice to say with confidence, but you can do it. You are a writer.

In truth, an aspiring writer is someone who doesn’t actually write; they merely aspire to write—someday. But they’ll never get around to it. Yes, they act like a writer. They read books on writing, go to writing conferences, and hang out with other writers. They talk a good game, but that’s all it is: talk.

They want to have written, but they don’t want to put in the hard work, to actually sit down and write. They aspire to write, and that’s where it ends.

Don’t be someone who aspires to write. Just write.

2. The Hobbyist Writer

Next, we have people who write for fun, write for therapy, or write for family and friends. They’re hobbyists. There’s nothing wrong with that.

So, if hobbyist writer describes you, accept it. As a hobbyist, you may not publish much and certainly won’t make much money from your work, but you are writing. And that’s what’s important. Own that label, and celebrate it.

However, if you want to realize more from your writing, consider moving beyond the hobbyist phase.

3. The Passion Project Writer

Some writers have a book they must write. It’s a compulsion, a calling. They work hard to produce the best book they can. They self-publish it. Then they spend years promoting and marketing their book.

It’s their passion.

But it may be the only book they ever write. Or if they do write other books, these may fall short because the passion isn’t there. And it shows.

There’s nothing wrong with having a passion project. I know many people who write one book, and that’s it. That’s okay. But if you want more, consider the next two categories of writers.

4. The Artist Writer

I know many writers who view themselves as artists. They produce wonderful work and produce it with some degree of regularity. But they write when the muse hits, and they write when they have a deadline. However, if they don’t feel like writing, they don’t. They’re often discovery writers (pancers: they write by the seat of their pants). Writing speed and output frequency doesn’t matter. They’re artists, and that’s what they care about.

If you’re thinking of the phrase starving artist, that fits this category of writer. They may not make much from their art, and they certainly won’t earn enough to support themselves. That’s why the artist writer needs another source of income. This could be a day job or a side hustle. It may be a spouse, an inheritance, or a generous patron.

5. The Career Author

The final category is a career author. Although their words may flow from many different motivations, they have one thing in common: writing is their job, and they strive to make money from it, either full-time or part-time.

They haven’t sold out. They’re just being intentional. They value the craft and may even view it as art. They also write with passion. But, in addition to that, they write with purpose. They want to share their words with others and earn money as they do. They have an entrepreneurial mindset. They are an authorpreneur.

A Final Thought about the Types of Writers

At various times in my writing journey I have been each of these types of writers. Some of my stops have been brief, and others longer, but where I am now—and where I want to remain—is as a career author.

Right now, I make some of my income as an author, and my goal is to one day earn all my income through writing. But money is not my motivator; it’s the outcome. My desire is to share my words with others. As I often say, my goal is to “change the world one word at a time.” And making money from doing so is a sweet result.

Discover what type of writer you are and embrace it. Don’t let anyone tell you your path is wrong or inconsequential. Click To Tweet

Discover what type of writer you are and embrace it. Don’t let anyone tell you your path is wrong or inconsequential. You are a writer.

Discussing the art of writing and the business of publishing