Writing this series of posts has been great for me. I hope it’s giving you all something too. For me, writing is nothing, if not getting my head organized on paper. So, along those lines, I’m going to list my pros for self-publishing your work. (Mainly, I mean in book form, but it does apply to other things as well – music, for example) I am also going to write these pros as fast as I can. Try and think of this pros list like that game that psychologists play – word association. I say, “piggy” and you say, “Bill.” We can only assume the biggest pig in your life was Bill. I say, “gift” and you say, “Hubby” or “my singing voice,” you get the drift. This list will be like that only centered around self-publishing and offered up using the knee-jerk part of my brain.
money: As far as I can tell, Amazon will give you 70% of any sale over $2.99 when you sell your book online with them. I believe if you sell it for under $2.99, you get 30%. From what I’ve read, that is FAR better than any publishing house would give a new author. Unless, you are some kind of writing prodigy who’s agent has scored for them a six figure advance off of your first manuscript. If that’s you, forget everything I’m saying. In fact, if that’s you – why in the feck are you reading my blog? Go vacation somewhere.
control: If the book best serves a niche market then, undoubtedly, no one knows how to serve that niche better than you (or me, if we’re talking about my writing). If that’s the case then why shouldn’t you be the one with final say on both content and cover art? I’m a full believer in owning everything that you create in some way. Why not your book?
marketing: The research says that the publishing house is no longer going to market for you. It also says if they were to do it, they’d do it badly. In other words, publishing houses are not a brand in the same way that YOU are. Would you rather buy from the author, him or her, DIRECTLY or from a faceless publishing house? I know I’d rather buy it from the author. If you are going to be doing all of this marketing, you should get paid more for it because it WILL usurp you of your valuable time. How do you get more money? See the first pro, above.
relationships: WordPress has truly taught me that you CAN have real relationships online. Not everyone is just a faceless troll out there. In fact, there are tons of really worthwhile people to know and to get to know through reading their stuff. Again, I’d rather buy something from someone I know (or feel like I know) and have warm feelings for than from a faceless person or thing. This has always been true in regard to sales. Seriously, I think something similar was said by Dale Carnegie way back, when there was no internet and Dale was selling mops door to door or something like that.
(Online relationships can be simple and authentic. For example, I like you. You are my friend. So, I want you to enjoy this sign…)
catalog: This one is REALLY important. It seems that one of the reasons certain Amazon self-publishers are so successful is because they have a CATALOG of products. So, they can do certain things. For example, what if a reader really and truly likes what you’ve done? They’re going to want to come back for more. But, if there is no more available in your online store, then you have the burden of keeping an interested fan around for god knows how long while you make something else. However, if you have a few things almost ready to go then why not finish them and start a body of work online all at once? A body of work that only requires YOU to say yes to it in order to get it up and running. The second great thing about catalogs -I’m hearing- is that it allows you to play with pricing. If you have one book that is selling well you can cut the price of the other book to either a) get a new reader interested in you or to b) entice a repeat customer to make a second bet on you. It’s a win-win.
being a step ahead of the tidal wave: I’ve been doing things in earnest on the internet since 2000. All of my endeavors have had some success at varying degrees. However, a lot of the time my “start ups” didn’t get the financial backing that they needed because they were just a step too late. My most successful site prior to this one was a vehicle that garnered a ton of publicity, but literally JUST missed the dot-com bubble. Had I produced it a year earlier, I would’ve raked in some of the capital that was being thrown about. The tsunami that I recently missed was youtube’s. I do believe that most of the quality content providers that started with youtube around 5 years ago are almost all making some money now. Starting up a channel now, while not fruitless, is definitely 100x more difficult than it was back then.
There’s a certain spot where you have to catch the wave. If you are too early, you are going nowhere. If you are too late, you get pummeled. But, if you hit the sweet spot just right…MAGIC!
I do not believe the wave has passed for self-publishing, but I do believe that at a certain moment the velocity will normalize. What I’m doing right now is mulling this all over and looking for my entry point. I’m not there yet, but I’m inching closer.
What are your thoughts? Did I miss any pros that you can think of?
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