One of the biggest advantages of having your book published by a leading traditional publisher is the sales and distribution infrastructure that will get your book into hundreds if not thousands of stores upon release. Self-published authors simply do not have the relationships or infrastructure to do anything similar.
Hybrid publishers offer packages that include sales and distribution into local stores with the opportunity to scale up if sales and reviews justify doing so.
However such sales and distribution infrastructure is not free. Publishers have a wide variety of expenses (“overhead”) to pay, and those expenses reduce the amount of money available to pay for marketing and royalties. The limited money available for marketing must cover multiple titles each season and the bucket for marketing any title is rarely refilled once it is empty. In the same way, the time of the marketing staff is focused on the current season’s titles and shifts to the next list quickly once titles are no longer in the spotlight.
A self-published author can focus their resources on their book for as long as they choose. However the resources being invested are those of the author, and there is no guarantee of success. Unless the author has chosen a hybrid publishing package that includes sales and distribution, few if any stores will have the book on their shelves if the author’s marketing is successful in raising awareness and driving potential readers into stores. Most self-published authors must rely on online retailers to meet any demand created, and those retailers make it very easy for a potential reader to see alternative books that may have better reviews or be written by well-known authors.
How important is it to be able to maintain the focus on your book as you see fit? How important is it to have your book proactively sold and distributed to stores?
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The previous post in this series discusses the advantages and disadvantages of traditional versus self-publishing when it comes to your ability to price you ebook as you see fit. The next post contrasts the benefits obtained from utilizing the expertise of traditional publishers with the control retained by self-publishing.