Sunday, September 22, 2013

You want me to give up what?

Should an author choose traditional publishing, the author has little or no control of or say-so about:
  • Title
  • Blub Description
  • Cover
  • Revision / Editing Choices
  • Book Pricing
  • Distribution Outlets
  • Number of Copies Released
  • Marketing (or lack thereof)
As strongly as I want to be published, I can't bring myself to give up so much control for so little money (at times, after the agent's 10 to 15% cut, as little as 11 cents per copy sold).

Note, top-selling author Barry Eisler got his rights back and has retitled and recreated covers for his books, to HIS satisfaction.

Recently, I viewed a cover for an author that appears happy to make 50 cents per e-book sold via an publisher, when he could have made $2.00 per each copy by self-publishing. The cover barely resembled the first book in the series and didn't fit quite with the genre he writes. (He made suggestions for he design, but for the most part, he got what he got, with little veto power on his part.)

What about marketing? Publicity?

For most authors, traditional publishers provide next to none, unless you are Patterson, King, or Roberts. The author does the leg work and the outreach, regardless. (See J.A. Konrath's journey of visiting numerous states and numerous bookstores, on his own dime.)

An average print run is 5,000 books. Books remain on bookstore shelves for a short duration, perhaps one to two months. If you are a dollar and cents person and all 5K of those books sold during those few weeks, at Harlequin 11 cent per book wages, you would make, ta-da, a whopping $550.00.

The same book, self-published in e-book form only, and priced at $2.99 would earn approximately $2.00 per book, which would equate to $10,000 per 5K units sold, more than likely spread over a longer span of time.

Bottom line, should I choose to self-publish, there will be outgoing investments of approximately $500 per book for editing, formatting, and cover design (should I not create them on my own covers). That investment would return by selling 250 copies of the book.

Instead of a flash-in-a-pan bookstore surge of a few weeks, the availability of the books will be ongoing, so odds are at some point, hopefully sooner than later, the costs would be recouped and thereafter, a profit would be made.

Either way, I don't give up my right to choose an appealing title, cover, blurb, pricing, giveaway time-frames, editing and revision options, distribution resources, etc.

As a business person (yes, self-publishing is a business), I will hire (not pay percentages of earnings) one-time professional service providers (editor, formatter, cover designer), then will retain the rights to my books.

So traditional publishing wants me to give up what? Nah. Don't think so.

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