If you’re writing ebooks, you need to educate yourself about self publishing. It’s vital, because as I said in the title, it’s your money, and your life.
No one knows what will happen in publishing. Will books go the way of the CD? I have no idea. However, I do know this. Too many new authors imagine that getting a book contract from a major publishing house means something. It’s a validation – a stamp of approval, if you like.
Here’s the thing: if these authors understood how traditional publishing works, they’d run screaming in the opposite direction.
In The Opposite of Legacy, Passive Guy points out:
As Joe implies, the enthusiasm tradpub authors express for the legacy publishing business is in direct proportion to their ignorance of what is happening in self-publishing. To put it very directly, the dumber the author is about self-publishing, the more likely he/she is to be an ardent supporter of Big Publishing.
I coach many new authors to help them to write and market their books. At least half of them want help with traditional publishing – getting a literary agent and a publisher. That’s completely fine by me. If an author wants a publisher, we’ll get a publisher.
As the months go on, however, these authors become more curious about self publishing. Traditional publishing – getting an agent, getting a contract – takes forever. Slowly they become more receptive to self publishing, even if it’s simply for a little market research.
The big benefit of self publishing for me is that you don’t need to spend months writing a book, a year getting a publisher, and another year waiting for the book to appear on bookshelves… only to have it ripped from the shelves three months after that, because the publisher invested zero dollars in promotion.
When you self publish, you can do all the experimenting and market research you like.
As I said in Write a Novel, or a Short Story?,
Before I write a novel, I’ll test the market with a short story. If the short story gains NO interest, that’s useful to know. It’s never been possible for authors to figure out what will sell before they invest weeks and months in novels.
As you may know, I’m a keen blogger. I’ve been blogging forever, since 1999. I love blogging because it’s instant publishing. I look at self publishing on KDP the same way – as instant publishing.
Yes, I’ve been burned by traditional publishing. In my time, I’ve had three New York literary agents, and many editors at major publishing houses. Here’s what I know from that: I know more about myself, and publishing as it applies to me, than any of them ever did.
Take this to heart: no one cares as much about your writing as you do.
Big surprise, it’s all about the money
I just realized that the title of this post is a Freudian slip. “Your money and your life”, sounds like “your money or your life,” a demand commonly made by highwaymen of old.
The phrase “Your money or your life” is mentioned in trial reports from the mid–18th century.
Yep, it appears my subconscious mind considers traditional publishers to be thieves.
When you sign a contract with a traditional publisher, they’re investing thousands of dollars in you and your work. But so are you. You’re investing time in your book. You could have spent that time writing something else, and getting paid much more quickly.
The big, big benefit of self publishing for any author is that you get to keep more of the money your writing makes. And if readers like your work, you’ll make much more money from self publishing than from traditional publishing.
Writing ebooks has never been easier. You can write your book, upload it to Amazon, and within a few hours, your ebook is available to the world.
So, the question is, how much are you willing to give up for a traditional publisher’s “stamp of approval” on your work?
If you want a publishing contract from a traditional publisher, that’s a worthwhile goal. Many writers need this validation, and you may be among them – at least until you decide to educate yourself on self publishing.
You owe it to yourself. If you want to write books, educate yourself on the vibrant new world of the self publishing industry.
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