Traditional vs Self Publishing

Forums Fiction Writing Level & Journey Plans Discussions Traditional vs Self Publishing

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  • #80246
    Alabama Rose
    @bama-rose

    I’m not exactly there yet. I’m still editing my manuscript and everything, but I need advice for the future. I’d really like to publish my story, but I have no idea what I’m doing and which route is the best way to go. I’ve researched pro’s and con’s for both, but I still can’t decide if I want Indie or Traditional. I know quite a few people on here have self-published so it’d be great to hear from you if you have! I don’t think I know of anyone on here that did it Traditionally, though.

    So… I have a couple of questions.

    1. I hear when you do it Traditionally, the publishers pretty much own your story and change it however they want… I don’t think I could handle that. Do they actually change it a lot??

    2. My story is only a short story, so will I still be able to Traditional publish? Or do they only take full-length novels?

    3. I like the idea of indie publishing because it’s still my manuscript, but I really want to have a publisher, so which way would you guys lean towards if you’re planning to publish?

    @r-m-archer @daeus-lamb @hope-ann @faith-blum  — I don’t know who else to tag.

    So yeah, if you have any advice, that would be awesome!

    Courage, dear heart ~ Aslan

    #80257
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    @bama-rose

    1. I’d recommend checking out Nadine Brandes’ YouTube channel. I don’t remember if she tackles this specifically, but she has a handful of videos on traditional publishing and she’s really down-to-earth and genuine about all of it (and she has an awesomely quirky personality), so those might still be helpful. I know she has one on how much say an author has over their cover, which obviously isn’t the same, but… 😛

    2. Hm… I think the only option for traditionally publishing a short story would be to submit it to a literary magazine, or find an anthology that’s accepting submissions and fits the theme of your story. I could be wrong about that, but I think publishing houses only publish novels and maybe novellas?

    3. To some extent it depends. Why do you want a publisher, specifically?

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #80258
    Alabama Rose
    @bama-rose

    @r-m-archer

    Cool! I’ll check out that channel.

    The reason I want a publisher is because I know they would help to promote my story, and also (my little dream of mine) I want to walk into a book store and see my story sitting on the shelf. Are you able to print paperback if you self-publish?

    Courage, dear heart ~ Aslan

    #80259
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    @bama-rose

    *nods* That makes sense.

    The first issue can be addressed to some extent with self-publishing if you’re able to put together a really good street team (a group of people to help you promote your book) and you can put together good promotional graphics. (And be sure to have a professional cover.) It’s still not as good as having a big publisher to help promote your book, but if you’d rather go indie for enough additional reasons then that might still be worth it. That’s up to you.

    You can print paperback if you indie publish. I have paperback copies of both my published books. You can also get them in bookstores, but I’m not sure what the process behind that is. I know there’s an option (at least with Kindle Direct Publishing (which has merged with CreateSpace and does both paperback and ebook)) to make your books available for bookstore sales, but I think you’d have to get on a bookstore’s radar first and I’m not sure how that works. I haven’t published any books yet that I’d be super excited to see in bookstores, so I haven’t looked into it. Someone else might be able to tell you better.

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #80260
    Daeus Lamb
    @daeus-lamb

    @bama-rose Most traditional publishers will make you sign away (some or all of) the rights to your books, so technically they could change your book however they want. A lot of publishers will respect what you’ve done though and their changes will probably make it better. Remember that not all publishing houses work exactly the same way.

    Having defended traditional publishing, you should also know that it is perfectly possible to get a traditionally published book in a book store. You might have trouble with B&N, but there’s a lot of privately owned bookstores that would stock you.

    The idea that a traditional publisher will market your book for you is mostly a myth. They’ll get it in book stores which helps, but it doesn’t mean anyone will know about it. They may also have connections to reviewers which would help and may spend some money on you. All in all though, it’s not something to rely on.

    In my mind, the biggest advantage of traditional publishing is that, if your book isn’t ready to publish, they won’t let you! That’s awesome for a first-time novelist. (Of course, some traditionally published novels stink, but chose a reputable publisher and your chances are pretty good.) Oh, and you don’t have to pay for your own editor. 😛 That’s nice.

    The biggest advantage to self-publishing is the way higher royalties. As long as you’re good at marketing, your chances at a career are better in the self-publishing world.

     

    😀
    👕👍
    👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢

    #80369
    Alabama Rose
    @bama-rose

    @r-m-archer

    Oh, cool! I’d love to have mine in paperback. And I have looked into some editors and graphic designers to get a feel for it when the time comes. But I still haven’t decided on anything. I am a very indecisive person.

    @daeus-lamb

    I have come in contact with some pretty lame books that are traditionally published. Sometimes I’m not even sure how they made it. 🥴 I didn’t know that about going traditional. That’s interesting. And sad.😝 But it does help me to know which way might be better… Can you only self-publish through Amazon?

    Courage, dear heart ~ Aslan

    #80378
    Daeus Lamb
    @daeus-lamb

    @bama-rose Publishing involves two pieces: physical production and distribution.

    Physical production only applies to print books (unless you want audiobooks on CD or something). You can upload your manuscript to print on demand companies like KDP and every time someone buys your book, they’ll print it and ship it to them. This is AWESOME for first-time authors. If you ever get big, you could do a bulk print run and ship them yourself or use a fulfillment company. (Potentially, you could get higher royalties this way.)

    Distribution is just getting your book in places where people can see it. Amazon is the world’s foremost platform for this, but there are many others including Kobok, iBooks, B&N, physical bookstores, catalogs, etc. Self-published or trad-published, most of these options are open to you.

    😀
    👕👍
    👖 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢

    #80476
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    @bama-rose

    Can you only self-publish through Amazon?

    No. There are other options like IngramSpark and… I think there’s one more big one, but I don’t remember what it is right now. It might just be those two that are pretty big. There might be other, smaller options as well, but if there are I’m not aware of them. (I started with Amazon and I’ve stuck with it; it’s worked well for me.)

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #85527
    MyClipboardIsMyViolin
    @myclipboardismyviolin

    In my mind, the biggest advantage of traditional publishing is that, if your book isn’t ready to publish, they won’t let you! That’s awesome for a first-time novelist. (Of course, some traditionally published novels stink, but chose a reputable publisher and your chances are pretty good.) Oh, and you don’t have to pay for your own editor. That’s nice. The biggest advantage to self-publishing is the way higher royalties. As long as you’re good at marketing, your chances at a career are better in the self-publishing world.

    I think the disadvantages for a indie publishing bid is the up-front cost. Some of my research suggests that you have to pay for printing and other marketing expenses, which can run up to $15,000 up-front. While POD companies may allow you to evade that monetary expense, they don’t cut you enough of a profit and you lose money on each book when promotion expenses are factored in. (Am I working with outdated information here?)

    I got this from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier – I checked the 2010 version from the library – I should probably get a newer version. Here’s a breakdown behind that $15,000 sticker shock, from page 135 of the book (scary):

    Cost of Sales

    $1814  Editing and Indexing

    $1695 Cover Design

    $2173 Interior Design and Typesetting

    $7216 Manufacture (this is the printing cost)

    $1,152 Shipping

    $14,050 Total

    This moolag is real – my college literary magazine has a $15,000 budget, most of which goes toward printing. And that’s before you throw in marketing stuff like website hosting.

    Also, it is very difficult to get your book in Christian Book Distributors if your work isn’t traditionally published. See this article: https://authorchristopherdschmitz.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/how-do-i-get-my-christian-book-listed-on-cbd-christian-book-distributors/

    Also, you kinda need a book distributor to get your work into Christian bookstores, which is important for Christian publishing – unless you don’t care about that route and want to go completely Internet and rogue. Here’s an article on that: https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/tag/book-distributors/

    I get skeptical of the people who say that you can just print your book on Amazon and market it on Twitter and call it a day. I think those people have big groups of friends or something. Either that or their book isn’t selling.

    Make no mistake: the publishers aren’t going to market your book. You’ll have to run your own social media and write your own press releases to get buzz. But at least the traditional publishers will get you listed in the right places and ensure that you have a fighting chance. Otherwise, you’ll have to do the hard work of fighting the machine yourself, and it may be easier in the end to get someone else to do it for you.

    Further, the amount of Christian literary magazines for publishing short fiction and poetry is actually fairly small. See here: http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/flesh-made-word-five-lit-mags-defined-christ One of them I looked into the sub guidelines and found them to be an absolute ripoff. Someone recommended me a Christian Writer’s Market Guide, which might help in finding what you need…

    Sarah, Miss S, Sierepica_Fuzzywalker

    #85535
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I got this from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier – I checked the 2010 version from the library – I should probably get a newer version.

    As I probably don’t need to tell you, nine years in internet time is practically infinite and the self publishing space is very different to how it was then. I don’t have the experience or knowledge to lay out how much it has changed, but it definitely has. At the very least, some of those prices listed are absurd.

    A pretty good editor for a 100K word book will be less than a thousand, you can get an amazing cover for $300-$600 depending on your genre, and layout only costs a few hundred. And as far as I know, PoD is the only option anyone considers, which requires no up front cost for you and makes up only a tiny fraction of most indie book sales anyway.

    Granted, that’s still a huge amount of money, and it doesn’t even touch what you’ll be spending on marketing, but <=$2000 is considerably less than 14K a book.

    @myclipboardismyviolin

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #85541
    Alabama Rose
    @bama-rose

    @taylorclogston @myclipboardismyviolin

    Just out of curiosity, what is PoD?

    Courage, dear heart ~ Aslan

    #85555
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @bama-rose It means Print on Demand. When you self-publish, you have two choices. You can pay for a print run of your book, which is the same as what a traditional publisher would do for you, which means you might be paying $3-$6 a copy, depending on whether your order size is closer to a thousand or a hundred, vaguely respectively. You then get all those copies and have to try to sell them, shipping them to your customers or using a fulfillment service as a middleman. You end up with a relatively large profit per book this way, potentially $5 a copy or even higher.

    With Print on Demand, the book is printed and shipped one copy at a time when it is ordered by a customer. You use a PoD provider for this, such as Ingram Spark or Createspace (now owned by Amazon). You have fewer options with PoD than with a custom print run. For example, you can’t have embossing or spot foil on a PoD book to my knowledge, and at least Amazon didn’t have the standard trade paperback size when I looked at them last December.

    Additionally, you receive much less per book for PoD, in part because it costs quite a bit more to print a single book than each copy of a large print run does. On Ingram Spark, a single copy of a 300-page trade paperback with a matte color cover and standard weight creme interior (the same options I used for the calculation above) will cost you almost $11 with 5-day shipping. You’re probably not getting much of a profit on this, but it comes at absolutely no risk to you.

    Finally, if you want to have your book in libraries and book stores nationwide as an indie author, I believe PoD through Ingram Spark is the only way to do it. Don’t quote me on this, but I have been told that there’s a catalog you can be in as an Ingram Spark publisher that brick and mortar places draw from.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #85560
    MyClipboardIsMyViolin
    @myclipboardismyviolin

    Finally, if you want to have your book in libraries and book stores nationwide as an indie author, I believe PoD through Ingram Spark is the only way to do it. Don’t quote me on this, but I have been told that there’s a catalog you can be in as an Ingram Spark publisher that brick and mortar places draw from.

    That would only be if you are doing PoD printing. I got some more (current) information on this:

    POD vs. Offset Printing[/url]

    Print-on-Demand Publishing Companies[/url]

    Another review

    And I think that really isn’t true, but if you go with a different POD service than IngramSpark you’ll have to pay Ingram to distribute it anyway, which some of the other companies do like Blurb and BookBaby. And then you’ll have to deal with bookstore returns. Ah, the joys of running a business.

    By contrast, if you offset print, you end up having to incorporate yourself as a small press and get to negotiate with the distributors and bookstores yourself (my outdated book attempted to school me on how to do this lol) but then you’re back to the 14K. 😛 (or the 9K, with @taylorclogston’s revised expense report).

    I’ll throw this out here for free: for some types of books my gut tells me how to publish them. For example, for a Christian non-fiction book, I would traditionally publish that to get maximum editorial input/feedback there and it needs to get in Christian bookstores and CBD. For a poetry book, I would PoD that as the best marketing course is to sell it via poetry reading YouTube videos and by taking it to poetry readings. Paying for bookstore distribution for that is likely a waste of money, and you’re not likely to make a mint on those books anyway.

    But for a fiction book I’m not sure. It depends on the audience for your book (who are you selling it to?) the risk you’re willing to take, and the upfront capital you have on hand to spend on it when you start.

    Sarah, Miss S, Sierepica_Fuzzywalker

    #85562
    MyClipboardIsMyViolin
    @myclipboardismyviolin

    POD vs. Offset Printing[/url] Print-on-Demand Publishing Companies[/url]

    Argh these links keep breaking.

    [https://blog.reedsy.com/print-on-demand-books/]

    [https://blog.reedsy.com/print-on-demand-versus-offset/]

    Sarah, Miss S, Sierepica_Fuzzywalker

    #85715
    Alabama Rose
    @bama-rose

    @taylorclogston Oh, that makes sense. That’s what Amazon does, right? Or could you pick which way you want to do it?

    Thanks for the explanation!

    Courage, dear heart ~ Aslan

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