The Two Primary Options for Publishing
You’ve written your book. You’ve had it edited and proofed…but now what?
Writing and publishing require two totally different sets of skills. And besides, there’s more than one way to publish these days. Let’s start with traditional publishing.
I won’t mince words with you, publishing your book through a traditional publishing house (Tyndale, Zondervan, Baker, Harper, Simon & Schuster, Thomas Nelson, etc.) is very difficult these days. It’s not impossible, but it can be extremely toilsome.
Book publishing has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Consider some of these factors:
- The introduction of e-books and electronic readers
- The stellar rise of Amazon and the demise of many brick-and-mortar bookstore giants
- The ease with which one can self-publish a book today
Those factors and others have made it less lucrative for publishers and writers alike to publish books in the traditional fashion. Still, there may be some advantages to publishing with a traditional publisher:
- Generally speaking, you’ll get more notoriety and sell more books (maybe).
- Some people have stigmatized self-publishing and think that going the traditional publishing route is the only legitimate way to publish your book.
- There’s definitely a certain satisfaction knowing that a publishing house has scrutinized your book and has chosen to back you.
- With a traditional publisher it’s easier to get your book into bookstores.
But there are also disadvantages to going with a traditional publisher:
- I know a writer who finished his book two years ago. He’s waiting patiently hoping that a publisher will sign-on his book. And even if he does land a publisher, the process is long and arduous.
- When a publishing house takes on your work, they now own it, you don’t.
- Royalties used to be about a buck-a-book with a traditional publisher. Author royalties now range between 7 and 25 percent of the net. Also, if you receive an advance, understand that it’s an advance on future royalties.
- Traditional publishers generally rely heavily on their authors to do the lion’s share of the marketing. They may work your tail off with speaking engagements and book signings. Even then there’s no guarantee that your book will sell well.
A few years ago, I had a literary agent with a traditional publisher very interested in a book I had written. They loved the concept and content. But when the agent presented it to the publisher, they declined it–not on the basis of its quality, but because they said that particular genre of book does not make money for the publisher.
For them it was purely a business decision and I get that. But from my perspective, writing that book was a calling, a labor of love that was years in the making. So I self-published the book and it’s selling.
You may still be driven to try to get your book published by a big publishing house. Don’t let me dissuade you! Go for it if you can!
In the realm of self-publishing there are also many options. First, there are the self-publishing subsidiaries owned by the big publishing houses. Simon & Schuster owns Archway Publishing, Thomas Nelson owns Westbow Press, etc. The fact that so many of the major publishers offer self-publishing is indicative of the trends in publishing.
There are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of self-publishing houses in business today. Expect to pay a hefty price to have your book published through them. It’s true that they offer editing, proofing, graphic design and other services, but they are expensive!
I self-published one of my earlier books through one such company. My observation: their sales department (selling me on their services) was great; their customer service in publishing my book was lousy! I was never satisfied with the final product and have since republished that book myself.
I’m sure there are some good self-publishing houses out there, but I haven’t talked to anyone who has had a good experience. I just spoke yesterday with a woman who had paid dearly for publishing services that she could have gotten free elsewhere.
Some of you are no doubt wondering what differentiates Fischer Publishing from the others. I offer a wide array of publishing services: editing/proofing, serving as a writing coach, ghost-writing, writing sales copy, brokering graphic services, and consulting. But when it comes to the actual printing of your book, I leave that to Createspace.
Createspace is a subsidiary of Amazon. In my opinion, no one does it better than Createspace. Here’s why I like working with Createspace:
- They offer free ISBN numbers.
- Their printing rates are extraordinarily low.
- They are directly linked to Amazon, so when you publish with Createspace, your book is automatically on Amazon.com.
- With a print-ready pdf of your cover and interior, you can publish on Createspace free.
- They are fast!
- Createspace prints on-demand, so you don’t have to buy a boatload of books and warehouse them somewhere.
- When you publish with Createspace, you can publish under the auspices of Fischer Publishing, or even create your own publishing arm.
Here are some of the advantages of self-publishing:
- You retain ownership of your work.
- You have more control of the publishing and distribution processes.
- You receive significantly higher royalties.
- You can publish your finished book in a matter of days.
If this still sounds daunting, please contact me and I’d be happy to guide you through the publishing process. And if you need editing, proofing, graphic services for designing an eye-catching cover and a crisp, professional interior, I can help you.