Authors have a variety of options available to get their book designed, edited, printed, marketed, sold, and distributed. At one end of the spectrum is do-it-yourself publishing in which the author does everything from writing and editing the manuscript to printing, binding, marketing, selling, and distributing the book.
At the other end is what is commonly thought of as traditional publishing where the author hires an agent who shops the book around in hopes of receiving a sizable advance and acceptable contract from one of the big publishing houses.
Most authors find themselves somewhere between do-it-yourself publishing and traditional publishing and need to obtain the assistance of others along the way. Even authors who have a contract with a traditional publisher are faced with times when they may want some assistance to do everything they can to make their book a success.
We launched our first self-publishing services division in 2009 to help aspiring authors with all those aspects of publishing their books (assisted self-publishing) and to bridge the gap between do-it-yourself publishing and traditional publishing so that each author can obtain as much support as they need and want.
So how does an author decide on the best course of action for their book? Are there some books that are better off self-published and others that should only be published traditionally?
This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of posts in which I’ll provide some points to consider along with questions that provide an opportunity for you to evaluate where your book might fit on the spectrum between do-it-yourself publishing and traditional publishing. While not entirely scientific, thinking through these issues can help you understand how different factors can impact the success of your book.
Speed To Market
Traditional publishers tend to acquire a book today based on what was popular yesterday and then publish it next year to a market that may no longer need it. After you have spent a year or more writing your book it can take another year or more to hire an agent, submit materials to traditional publishers, and receive limited responses (if any) due in part to the volume of materials publishers receive. If you are fortunate enough to be acquired by a traditional publisher then it typically takes another year to develop a marketing plan, announce your book, and sell it.
Most authors get frustrated at some point. Many give up without having their book acquired. Some decide to take control of the situation by self-publishing to guarantee their book will see the light of day in a timely manner. However they forfeit the benefits to be gained by conforming to the industry’s normal way of doing business.
How quickly do you want to have your book available? Do you believe that you have given the traditional publishing process enough time?
Do you have any questions or concerns? Shoot me a message via the About/Contact page and I’ll do my best to help.
This is the first post in this series and the next post discusses the advantages and disadvantages of traditional versus self-publishing when it comes to launching a book, continuing to nurture it over time, and moving on to the next opportunity–the product life cycle in book publishing.