Self Publishing a Book, Really?
Technology (and online publishing tools) has made self publishing easier than ever. It used to be considered a “vanity press”, which had the derogatory connotation that the writer couldn’t get printed by “real” book publishers, so they did it themselves. Hybrid publishing, while becoming more popular, is still hard to accomplish.
Many established authors are currently finding that a hybrid publishing model, combining: self publishing a book, being published via independent book publishers, and contracted by a large-scale publishing house, i.e. one of the Big Six,1 is the best path to profitability. Independent book publishers can’t get your book placed in big box book chains, such as Barnes and Nobles, because they don’t have a system for unsold book returns. Large book publishing companies, while they may sell more volume, eat the lion’s share of the profits, so the author only makes a tiny fraction. Self publishing, while entailing up-front costs to the writer, nets self published authors a larger percentage of the profits, but only generate a fraction of the sales volume.
The problems with managing to get a book published with this model is finding a publisher that will print your book, understanding all the ins and outs of self publishing, and finding an independent book publisher you can trust. Basically, hybrid publishing has all the upsides, but all of the downsides as well.
Are Big Book Publishers Even Necessary Today?
Absolutely. Without The Big Five Publishers, the few chain book stores we have left, would disappear. It is only the return policies of the big publishing companies that allow those stores to manage inventory effectively. Big publishing companies are also the only ones in a position to pay authors advance royalties, which helps writers survive from project to project.
The Question Remains…
How to get a book published? The answer varies depending on your situation. Big publishing companies are continuing to get more finicky about which manuscripts they chose to publish. Essentially, they want a guaranteed winner before they go the expense of printing a large number of books that may, or may not, sell. They are all about minimizing their risk. They want proven writers. Usually, a big publishing company will want a writer who has already proven they sell books with a proven track record. So, you can’t get your book published until you’ve been published and more importantly, proven you are a marketable entity. That leaves the newbie writer to either self publish or be printed by an independent publisher. We will discuss both of these in future articles.
Left Hand Publishers is NOT a vanity press. We will never ask the writer for an investment or to pay any part of the cost of being published. We provide our publishing services as a percentage of revenue which we participate in, once the work sells. Optional Services are available to writers who need assistance in getting their manuscripts and/or their marketing tools honed for a successful and profitable publishing experience. For various consulting services, outside of publishing, we will provide an estimate in advance at no charge. For more information, contact us at .
- Big Six publishers, which has since been reduced to the “Big Five” by the merger on July 1, 2013 of Penguin and Random House: Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group/Macmillan, Hachette (publisher), HarperCollins, Penguin Books, Random House, & Simon & Schuster. Wikipedia