Home > Book Promotion > Self-Publish or Go the Traditional Way? The Debate

Self-Publish or Go the Traditional Way? The Debate

David Vinjamuri has a terrific article in The Forbes on this. Worth a read whether you’re traditionally published or chose to go the self-publishing route.

A direct quote from the article. (I picked this because a lot of writers seem to think being published traditionally will free them from promoting their work):

“An entire generation of traditionally published authors has come of age learning to self-promote.  Particularly for mid-list authors the burden of writing and marketing a book a year without much assistance can be crushing.  Some publishing houses have trimmed back even further, limiting editorial assistance to new writers to proofreading and line editing rather than structural editing.

These authors feel less beholden to publishers and more independent.  They have been forced to become entrepreneurs, but are not rewarded commensurate with their contributions.”

Here’s another quote:

“One thing that mainstream and Indie authors seem united on is contempt for is the royalty structure that mainstream publishing houses apply to eBooks which is much less favorable than for printed books.  This is foolish and counterproductive for publishing houses.  Indeed, authors like Edgar-winning mystery author Lawrence Block and Margaret Muir have already embraced indie publishing for the obvious economic benefits.  There are also many authors who started as self-publishers and are making a solid living in Indie-land.  Many of them would be considered midlist or even minor celebrities if they had more visibility to the existing publishing world – I’m thinking of people like Robert Kroese and Rachel Thompson here.”

Click here for the entire article.

  1. August 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Your article in the Sunday Hindu literary supplement was thought provoking and excellent.
    I have felt that writers are shortchanged by the publishers and the book distributors unless one becomes a celebrity.
    I have written a book, Contextual Selling published it myself, set-up a payment gateway on my website. Being a corporate trainer I do get some response which could be improved.
    Need your advice on the ebook front!

    • rasanaatreya
      August 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Rajan,

      You should go to smashwords.com, set up an account, download the excellent free guides available to format your ebook, then upload to smashwords. You can also set up an account at kdp.amazon.com and upload your formatted book there. After that it is a matter of networking and getting your book reviewed.

      Good luck!

  2. August 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Hi Rasana,

    Thanks for the wonderful article. It seems traditional publishers are slacking in what was once their biggest strength over independent publishers – marketing and promotion. Authors are realizing that they can do their own marketing and promotion. And websites like smashwords.com are totally free and give authors 85 percent of each book sold. I think I know which side is winning the debate…

  3. August 17, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Hi Rasana,

    It’s a shame traditional publishers are cutting marketing away from their authors. This was their only strength over independent publishers years ago. Now that we have the internet it makes more sense for an author to cut out the middle-man, publish on websites like smashwords.com, and keep 85% of their book profits.

    • rasanaatreya
      August 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

      Unless you want paperbacks in traditional stores. That’s still a tricky proposition. If you’re from India (like I am), most people still prefer paperbacks. All my friends and relatives want a copy of my book, but not as an ebook. That’s the next thing I have to figure out.

      • August 18, 2012 at 1:10 am

        Have you considered a POD service? Some don’t charge to store or upload the book’s file. They only charge when it’s printed-on-demand of course. That way there isn’t much front end cost to having hard copies of your book available for your readers and fans.

  4. August 17, 2012 at 7:31 am

    It’s an excellent article. The first quote is right on the money for most authors. Being published by a traditional publisher may be OK for those few authors who are big enough to get some real support from their publishers, but most midlisters aren’t going to get much help anyway. If you’ve got a quality book that doesn’t need major editing and you can afford to hire a cover designer (or design one yourself), then I think your odds of success are better with self-publishing than with traditional publishing — and you’ll maintain control over your work and make a much bigger percentage on sales.

    • rasanaatreya
      August 17, 2012 at 8:12 am

      And that’s today’s reality, like it or not.

  5. August 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Great post. Being traditionally published would be great, but with all the competition it is really tough. Self Publishing is becoming more and more attractive every day.

  6. October 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Self publishing is great and I have said this for quite a long time. Since publishers don’t help to push you unless you are a celebrity or big name author that can bring them the money, you are pretty much lost in the sauce and the sales you do make, you get the change from it while the bulk goes to the publisher, distributor, and the retailer…leaving you pennies on the dollar. BUT, the only thing and one thing that I can say for the big publishers is that your books are available in mass numbers.Downside to that, again, no marketing. You can have the greatest book, but if no one knows you, your books wont sell well at all. So you have to market yourself on your own dime pretty much and once more you still will only make pennies on the dollar. So yes, if I am going to work that hard to get my name out there, and have the opportunity to have my self published books available and reap the fruits of my labor, of course, self publishing is the logical choice for me.

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