October 4, 2011

The Truth About Traditional Publishing

I know some people still hold out on the vain hope on landing a traditional publishing deal. I can hear the groans now, "Why is she messing with the traditional publishing companies? Why can't she stay with self-publishing and leave the rest of us alone?"

Here's the truth: It is getting harder and harder to get into traditional publishing.

Despite my opinions that's a cold hard fact. And I would like for people to at least look into self-publishing. And I know there are some arguments against self-publishing and I will admit it is not for everybody. But with traditional publishing, everybody loses. Lower royalties, higher prices on books, and less creative freedom with your book. 

I know, it's hard to let go of something you've worked your whole life for. I know some of you guys are clinging for dear life for that magical contract that will never come, but here's the truth, just face it:

Traditional publishing industry is dying.

It's a fact. It's the truth. You can try to run and hum something to make it go away, but it's the truth.

Traditional publishing industry is dying because of self publishing.


Because it's a win win for everybody. Let's go over the benefits:

1. Higher Royalty Rates.

Yes, I know we as writers don't like to think about money. I mean, of course we love to write and we would do it for free, but there are such things as bills. We have them and we need to pay for them.

Which is why higher royalty rates is just a great benefit for us! We can actually pay bills with these royalty rates.

And when you look at the royalty rates for publishers for everything they do for you, then you go hmm, what's really going on?

Let's break this down every further.

Let's say the miracle happens, you get the publishing contract with an agent to help you get the best contract for you and for her/him.

Happy day!

Let's break down your money. 15% of your book money is going to your agent for the rest of your book life. And let's pause about that for a second. You will be paying your agent 15% of your profit for getting you a great contract and connecting you to the right publisher.

Really? A lifetime percentage? For a one time deal? Hmm, let's continue down this road of thought.

65% of your profit also goes to the publisher for putting your book on the bookshelf, coming up with the cover art, and editing your novel.

Let's pause and think about that too. All of this can be done for one big package deal without the lifetime percentage. And yet the publishers are charging you every time a book lover picks up your book and buys it. Not only that but your customers are paying higher prices for that percentage too.

And what do you get as the author, the creator of the lovely work: 20%.

Yep, that's it. Your publisher gets a bigger chunk of the pie for distributing your book then you get for creating the work int he first place.

Sounds unfair?

That's because it is! You know what you're percentage is on Smashwords? Around 70%.

Yep, and you know what Smashwords gets? 30%

Sounds better right? If you are the creator of the work, constantly changing it and putting all the effort into changing it and making it the center of the industry, then why in the world would you give your publishers all the credit and all the money to put it on a bookshelf?

Yeah, pause about that one.

2. Creative Freedom

Now here's the deal with traditional publishing: You really don't have any say so about the cover of your novel.


Yeah, you heard me right: You don't get to choose your cover. Even though you created the book and slaved over it for years, you don't get to pick the cover. The publisher does.

Sure you get some input but other then that . . . . *shrugs*

Now what about in self-publishing?

You can pick the cover. You can pick the cover artist if you have no talent at all with drawing or picking a cover.

I am currently doing both. I picked a cover artist and I picked a picture for my novel.

This can be a good thing and a bad thing this creative freedom.

Either you will hit it right on point or you will drive yourself crazy trying to pick the right cover.

Or you can pay a lot of money (in most cases) for a cover artist to get your book just right.

But think about it this way: At least you do not have to pay a lifetime royalty for a one time thing. And you have control over what your cover will look like. Which once again that can be a good thing or a bad thing.

At least either way you can change it pretty easily. Talking about change . . .

3. Lower Prices

It's a HELL of a lot cheaper to publish stuff online. Simple fact. And you know what traditional publishers charge for your book online?

About five or six bucks. Seriously.

They are charging your loyal customers more for the ease of buying their books online. Even though you could put your book up there for virtually free (if you play your cards right).

Yeah, think about that for a second. Your publisher is charging you a percentage for something you can do for free. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.


So why not do it yourself? I did and it really wasn't that complex. And most websites make it super easy to put a price on your book that is convenient. $0.99

Yep, perfect price point. How is that alliteration for you?! :D

And think about this: Do you think people are going to take a chance on an newbie author if their price is $5.99 or $0.99?

Oh! What just happened? I blew your mind!

*bomb noise!*

What? You need me to go over that again?! Sure, why not.

If you are a new author with a traditional publisher your book will go up online, I'm pretty sure, for around $5.99. But if you publish your book yourself online then you can put your price point at $0.99.

Which do you think a reader will buy?

A $5.99 price point for a pretty book cover with a traditional publisher


A $0.99 price point with the same pretty cover but self-published?

Hmm, Idk, with the economy being what it is I'll say . . . The cheaper one!

Win win for author and reader.

I know some people are scratching their heads going, "Well, how am I going to pay bills on a 0.99 price point?"

I know some of you are going, "Yeah, I'd like for her to explain that one! Ha! Got her!"

Nope, you don't got me. Here's the simple answer, watch this: Have more than one book out!

Oh, would you look at that? Blew your doubts and worries right out of the water.

Let's do the math: Ten books out with that price point would be like making ten bucks.

And what does that do for customers? Create visibility.

The cold hard fact is: Nobody knows who you are until you put more and more books out there and market the heck out of yourself.

Yes, market yourself. You would do it anyway with traditional publishing except now you can do it from your laptop.

Yep, gotta love technology and having a higher price point.

Now don't get me wrong: Self-publishing isn't as easy as one two three.

You guys know that I've been having issues with self-publishing. I have. I fully admit it. I should have had an editor go over my work before publishing it. And now I am paying a hefty price for it.

But guess what? It's worth it.

Now I know what's wrong with my book and I know now what my book needs: Restructuring.

It might take a while for Iwishacana/Acanawishi to go back live again, but at least it will be great and fly off the shelves once I get it finished.

And now you guys know the value of an editor. At least you guys can learn from my mistakes and hire an editor before copyrighting and publishing your work.

But don't knock off self-pubbing before you try it. It will literally take a lot out of you, but ultimately, you will get your book into your readers hands.

And they will wonder, "Omg, what took this author so long to give me the book that I've waited my whole life for?!"

:D Yes, I said it! Your readers will be grateful to you for self-pubbing.

And you know what else may happen? Publishers and agents may come to you with a deal, if you get enough people interested in your book.

Then maybe your dream will finally come true just not in the way you expected it to. You will never know until you try.

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