Why Do Writers Self-Publish?

20 Mar

Book and Kindle

Elizabeth Spann Craig  wrote in an article: “I am planning on spreading the exciting news about being a 21st century writer—that it’s the best time ever to be a writer.

I’m never sure if that message is getting out to writers, unless they’re plugged into the online writing community. The talk of bankrupt book chains, struggling independent bookstores, and decreasing advances from traditional publishers might be eclipsing that message.

Ultimately, writers have got a new gateway—directly from us to our reader.

Why this is exciting: We have choices. We can choose to follow the traditional publishing route of finding an agent and then a publisher. Or we can hone our work, get our manuscript professionally edited, formatted, and designed and self-publish our books. Or we can do both (I’m taking the hybrid approach, myself.)

We can develop a niche readership. Let’s say that you are completely engulfed in working on projects that feature your favorite things—horror and marine biology. Before, if your idea wasn’t commercial enough to get the strong sales needed for a slot on the bookstore shelves, then there was no hope for you. You could either publish the book yourself (with a great deal of expense and poor distribution) or else you could just share the story among your friends and family.

Now you can self-publish it…but for very little expense, compared to the old days. And your distribution is online—it has the potential of reaching millions, worldwide. In that group of millions is your niche reader…”

James Altucher wrote:  “Why I self-publish”

Better royalties.
With self-publish I make about a 70% royalty instead of a 15% royalty with a traditional publisher. I also own 100% of the foreign rights instead of 50%. I hired someone to sell the foreign rights and they get 20% .

Advances are almost zero.
Book publishers are getting more and more pressure from booksellers and in turn, have to squeeze the writers. Because of so much free content on the Internet, the value per unit of content is going to zero – unless you are already a brand name author.

Time waste.
When you self-publish, you can have your book up and running on Amazon, paperback and kindle, within days. When you publish with a traditional publisher its a grueling process: book proposal, agents, lawyers, meetings, edits, packaging, catalogs, etc that ensures that your book doesn’t actually get published until a year later.

The first question publishers ask, even, before they look at your proposal is, “How big is your platform?” They want to know how you can market the book and if they can make money on just your own marketing efforts. Publishers claim they do a lot of marketing for you. That’s absolutely not true. Authors – unless you are Stephen King, Jim Patterson, John LeCarre – have to do their own marketing for books.

You have content.
You’re an entrepreneur because you feel you have a product or an idea or a vision that stands out among your competitors (if you don’t stand out, pack it in and come up with a new idea). Don’t have time to write it. Then tell it to a ghostwriter you outsource to for almost no money. You don’t need 60,000 words. 30,000 are enough. Throw some pictures in. Just do it.



Hyper Smash


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