Going with a traditional publishing house is good for a person with an established platform (radio host, a speaker, someone with a huge newsletter following, etc.). The good thing about traditional publishing is that they take over, and do everything from editing, to cover design, but you lose creative control much of the time.
The book after the editing process may not even resemble your work. But you do get an advance, although it might not be too much for a first time author, and if you don’t “sell through,” that is, make back your advance in sales, you will have a really hard time convincing the publisher to put out another book of yours. And you may never see a dime after your small advance. As well, if your book does make it to the book store, if it doesn’t sell in 30 days, the books will be returned and you will most likely be blacklisted by the publishing house.
You generally have to sign your rights away unless you hire a good attorney who has stipulated that you will get the rights to your book back if it does get shelved. Traditional publishing houses used to pay royalties of 10% retail (i.e. if your book is $20, you get $2) but now they mostly only pay 10% of wholesale, so you only get $1 for that same book.
Self-Publishing is hard, because you have to do everything yourself, but the returns are great, because you can retain 70-90% of your investment. If you print them up yourself and then sell them, you really can make some great money. However, the biggest stumbling block is distribution. Very few distributors will deal with a self-published author. Even getting online distribution with Ingram or Baker & Taylor is going to be very tough. Plus, you have to print up at least 2,000 books to bring the price down, and they will most likely be sitting in your office or basement until you can figure out how to sell them.
POD – Print on Demand – is a great technology that combines the two types of publishing. It’s great because there is no inventory to return, or sit in your basement, and if you pick the right pay to publish company, they will give you a pretty good return on your investment – that is, if you choose the lowest distribution discount (20%) to maximize your online royalties. For example, the POD that I am with, they give me $6.28 out of every $14.95 book that I sell. And they provide online distribution, so the book is on Amazon.com, B&N.com, etc. The drawback is that you have to pay an upfront fee, like $1000 to publish with them. And if you are trying to be NYTimes bestseller this won’t happen because they don’t review POD’s. As well, you will not be in bookstores because POD’s carry a non-returnable status.
But, more good news: you own your rights 100%. What I do, is I use my POD for online distribution and cover art (but you can also submit your own cover design, interior files and retain complete
control). Then, I purchase the cover back from them, and take the files to a printer so that I can get my book printed up for substantially less, so as to have copies to send out to the media, sell at various events, etc. My POD charges me $5.65/unit, whereas if I go to a small printer, I can get my books for approximately $3.50/unit.
This is just a quick overview. But choosing the type of publishing for your book is an important one, so it is worth taking the time and energy to figure out which one is right for you.
Please visit Sally Shields, speaker, radio personality, free publicity specialist and author of the #1 Amazon.com bestseller, The Daughter-in-Law Rules on the web at: http://www.thedilrules.com for contest giveaways, free bonus gifts, Sally’s newsletter, 101 Surefire Ways to Market Your Book, Product or Service, free music, … and more!