Category Archives: 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. Six Downsides of Self-Publishing

Consider these six items:

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.

 

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.

Consider these five items:

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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Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish

1) Greater Control: Self-published authors enjoy more say over their work and the finished product. This can be good, or it can work against them, but either way they have more control, usually a lot more.

Five Reasons a Writer Should Self-Publish

2) Earn More Per Book: Self-published authors earn more on each book sale, generally much more: five times as much or even greater.

3) Faster: Production of a self-published book is quicker, putting it in the hands of readers faster than a traditional publisher could ever hope to do. This means writers can start selling books sooner and make money quicker.Self-publishing is ideal for small and undefined markets. Click To Tweet

4) Ideal for Small Niches: If your market is small or hard to reach, traditional publishers will not likely be interested. Self-publishing is ideal for small and undefined markets.

5) Great for Entrepreneurs: Self-publishing is effectively running a small business. The entrepreneurially minded will enjoy this option, realizing the rewards of hard work.

Given all this, wouldn’t every writer want to self-publish?

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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Check Out the Legal Handbook for Authors

Self-Published Author and Business Attorney Writes Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook

Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook by Helen SedwickHelen Sedwick, a self-published author and business attorney, shares vital legal information for all writers whether self-published, traditionally published, or not-yet-published. Billed as “the step-by-step guide to protecting your copyright, avoiding scams and lawsuits, [and] maximizing tax deductions” Legal Handbook answers questions that most authors struggle with and corrects common misinformation.

Though the Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook is most helpful to authors who want to self-publish, it is a primer for writers in the earlier stages of their careers and offers practical advice to traditionally published authors as well. Each of the book’s eleven chapters shares critical counsel, moving a writer through the process of publishing a book. But don’t wait until you have a book ready to publish before you read this one. If you do you will miss essential recommendations that are relevant as you write and even as you prepare to write. Skipping these steps, or delaying them, will only put your work in jeopardy and slow down your progress.The Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook is an investment in your future as a writer. Click To Tweet

Among the many indispensable insights included in the Legal Handbook are how to properly deal with images in your blog and book, what copyright means and how to protect your rights, book contract gotchas, avoiding defamation claims, handling taxes, avoiding publishing scams, social media pitfalls, and setting up your business. Yes, if we take our writing seriously or plan to self-publish our book, we need to treat writing as a business. This isn’t to constrain us but to free us from legal worries, tax issues, and lopsided publishing contracts.

Reading the Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook is an investment in your future, your future as a writer. Don’t put it off.

What legal concerns do you have about writing and publishing? What worries do you have about self-publishing? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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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Becoming a Hybrid Author: A Case Study of Author Robin Mellom

Becoming a Hybrid Author: A Case Study of Author Robin MellomFellow writer and cyber-friend Robin Mellom just self-published her new book, Perfect Timing. I first heard about Robin through Writer’s Digest when they highlighted her as a debut novelist for her book, Ditched, a YA (young adult) romantic comedy. Although intrigued, I figured I was too old to read YA, but soon the compelling storyline wooed me back. Eventually I bought Ditched and read it; then I read it again; then I looked for more of Robin’s work.

Alas, she had no more YA titles. Though she did have a middle-grade series, Classroom, I said I wouldn’t read them. Junior High wasn’t a good time for me, and I didn’t want to go back. So I waited for her next YA book – and I waited. Finally, desperate for more of her witty humor, I relented and dove into the first three books in her Classroom series. I’m glad I did!

Her next YA book was written, but her publisher wasn’t interested (shortsighted on their part) and her agent couldn’t find anyone else who would bite (a bad move on their part). She considered self-publishing, and I encouraged her to go for it. It must be many other people did, too, because the next thing I knew, she self-published Perfect Timing as a Kindle e-book. I devoured it in two days. In case it’s not clear, I’m a fan of Robin’s and am even on her mailing list.

She also apparently got the rights back for Ditched, because she just self-published an updated version, retitled as Perfect Kiss,  complete with a new cover. I bought and am reading that, too. I’m interested in seeing how it differs from the original version.

However, with these two self-published works, Robin has not made the switch to pure indie author. Instead she is doing what many authors are now doing. She has become a hybrid author, self-publishing some books, while going the traditional publishing route on others. From a traditional publisher, her fourth middle-grade book, The Classroom: When Nature Calls, Hang Up! is due out in June, and I hear a children’s picture book is in the works. So she’s breaking from another long-held publishing tradition, too, proving an author can successfully write for multiple audiences.

As authors in the ever-changing book publishing world, we need to not fixate on one way to publish our work. We must consider all our options and do what makes the most sense for our careers and our audience – just like Robin.

Check out Robin Mellom’s books:

Ditched
The Classroom (The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid)
The Classroom: Student Council Smackdown!
The Classroom Trick Out My School!
The Classroom: When Nature Calls, Hang Up!
Perfect Timing (originally known as Busted)
Perfect Kiss (formerly Ditched)

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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What Will Book Publishing Look Like in 2015?

I’m bullish about publishing books. Yes, the industry is changing rapidly, but change means opportunity. Though I don’t feel qualified to predict what book publishing will look like in the future, or even next year, I do know one place to look.

The December 2014 issue of Book Business tapped industry experts to contemplate the future of book publishing. While some items discussed were broad, philosophical strategic visions, others were more practical.

The cover story, “The Big Ideas Shaping Book Publishing,” featured ten experts who weighed in on various topics. I most appreciated Caleb Mason’s submission, “Bringing Instincts Back to Acquisitions,” which should be welcome news to every frustrated writer.

Equally insightful is the interview with Rick Joyce, titled “Battling the Homogenization of Books.” Among other topics, he discussed digital media, data collection, pursuing niche audiences (a personal favorite), selecting the right social media platform, and book discovery.

If you want to get a glimpse of what the future may look like or want to help shape your own book publishing strategies, check out the December 2014 issue of Book Business.

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 Ultimate Self-Publishing Guide

There are many good (and some not so good) resources that cover self-publishing. Some of these are in the form of books, others as podcasts, and more as blog posts, all from industry insiders.The Ultimate Self-Publishing Guide

By far the best one I’ve seen is the book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. As the APE acronym implies, the book contains three parts. The middle section, P for Publisher, covers self-publishing, giving a thorough explanation of all aspects.

While the coverage stops short of being comprehensive—an all-inclusive manual would be both unwieldy and immediately out-of-date—it offers the best self-publishing resource available. Guy and Shawn share detailed information on the options available to self-publishers, based on research that would be too time-consuming for most people to amass.

APE is an essential guide for the beginner and intermediate level of self-publishers. Even the experienced self-publisher is sure to pick up some new ideas and pointers. Though I wouldn’t advise anyone to skip the author section, for those with a publication-ready book, the publisher section may be the place to start.

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!

Going APE Over Guy Kawasaki

I don’t normally mention books I haven’t read, but after hearing a podcast with the iconic Guy Kawasaki about his new book, I’ll make an exception. Guy’s latest contribution to society is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book. Can you see why I’m mentioning it?

APE is an acronym for Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur, representing the three steps or phases in self-publishing a book. Each step is progressively harder, with the writing phase being the easiest and the entrepreneur needing to focus on the business side of the product, including promotion.

According to Amazon, APE, first released on January 7, 2013, has already undergone an update, with version 1.2 available since March 5.

Not only is APE on my reading wish list, it’s also at the top.

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!