To be published or self-publish, that is the question.
Since the advent of the ebook, a slow and constant paradigm shift has been occurring in the publishing world. Much like how Napster and, later, ITunes changed the face of music, Amazon and the Kindle have changed the face of publishing.
No longer do authors have to fit into limited slots and strict guidelines to have their books published by traditional publishing houses. No longer do authors have to give up the rights and control of their work in order to get a small advance and 15% of the royalties.
Thanks to the ebook and the Amazon marketplace, anyone can upload their book and make it available to consumers. Under normal price points, Amazon takes 30% and you keep 70% of all sales. Under this model, for every book you sell self-published, a traditionally published author has to sell five books to make the same amount of money.
There are many challenges to self-publishing. You still need a good editor, a great book cover and a marketing plan. Self-publishing requires authors to be entrepreneurs at the same time. They can’t hide in their rooms and only write. They need to promote and sell their wares. They need to blog and be involved with social media.
If you’re interesting in self-publishing and unsure of where to start, I strongly recommend Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant with David Wright.
These “authorpreneurs” work and write together to create an insane volume of work, all the while openly sharing their real world experiences on their popular podcast, Self-Publishing Podcast (note: their podcasts often include colorful language).
Recognizing the advent of binge consumption of television programs, they’ve come up with a series of novellas they call episodes and that, together, make a series. It’s a brilliant approach that has worked very well for them.
Through trial and error they’ve come up with effective strategies in the current selling structure, such as making the first book in the series free forever (or perma-free) and using that as a “funnel” which allows many people to try out their work with the hopes of directing them to a focused call-to-action, i.e., buying the rest of the season.
They’ve had great success with this approach and have been completely honest about how they do what they do, both in the podcast and in the book.
The book is more than just a how-to, it’s their story. It’s a very easy read and, if you are like me and prefer paperbacks over ebooks, it’s a hefty 478 pages. When I purchased the paperback they also included the ebook for free which is a great perk, because it allows you to read the book in your preferred way, yet use the ebook to quickly find any info you may need at the time. I don’t know if that perk is permanent or only available when I made my purchase.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a hands-on, successful approach that takes advantage of the opportunities the current publishing landscape affords.
If you’re interested in self-publishing, begin with Write. Publish. Repeat. It will start you off in the right direction.