In the past few years, the publishing industry has changed from an industry guarded by the gatekeepers (traditional publishers) to an industry that no longer needs or wants those guardians of books. Nowadays, you no longer need an agent or a publisher (gatekeeper) to get a book published. Physical bookstores are on the way out and digital books are on the rise. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has said that for every 100 print books they sell, 180 digital books are sold. Imagine what that stat is going to be in one, two, or three years from now? Wow.
If you’re on the fence about whether you should still try for a “traditional” book deal or self-publish on your own, you might find the following arguments listed below helpful. You can read more about authoring a book and why you should self-publish in my book entitled Write A F*$%’ing Book Already – The Insider’s Guide To Increasing Your Sales & Improving Your Career With A Book.
A book is a book. Period.
There used to be a distinction between a digital book (or e-book) and a printed book, but not anymore. A book is a book, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter how it’s delivered. However, I do understand that there are still plenty of folks out there who don’t see it that way. Some people still drink the Kool-Aid that the traditional publishers have made us drink forever, making us think that only printed books by big publishers, sold in bookstores, are books. Let me tell you something. I don’t care how I deliver it or what format it’s in. It’s a book if I say it’s a book. If I put a cover on it and put my heart and soul into it, it’s a book. If I choose to not upload it to Amazon and give it away on my site, it’s still a book.
This nonsense about how self-publishers aren’t real authors, or don’t really write real books, is all a made-up form of control from the industry that wants to keep their power. You know why most people don’t write books? I do. I talk to them every day. The #1 reason they tell me is that they don’t believe that they can do it. Why? Because they say, “If you want to write a book, you have to get an agent and a book deal. You have to figure out how to format your book just right and you have to have perfect grammar and so on.”
Not true anymore.
You’re going to do all of the marketing anyway.
So, why pay a publisher their cut? Unless you’re a proven best-seller, you aren’t going to get much marketing help from your publisher. So, it doesn’t make much sense, does it?
You can get it done faster yourself.
Traditional publishers can have a 9-12 month cycle to getting your book published. Who has that amount of time to wait? As an entrepreneur or executive looking for a job, are you willing to wait around for a year or more? I wouldn’t recommend it.
Bookstores? What bookstores?
If you honestly believe that you’ll be able to walk into a super-sized bookstore in two to three years from now, sit down, have a cup of coffee and browse books… well then, I have some swampland to sell you in Florida.
You keep the rights.
Why would you ever want to give the rights to your book to another company? That would be like handing your proprietary system to someone and giving them control over it. It’s a bad business deal, no question about it.
When you give away your rights, you can do nothing. You can’t price your book the way you want. You can’t change the cover art. You can’t sell it where you want. You can’t do anything without the permission of the publisher. Why in the heck would you want to do that?
You’re not getting a book advance.
Sorry, you’re probably not. The book business as it existed is dying. Publishers are not walking around throwing money to people who have no previous book-selling experience. Sure, maybe if you’re a celebrity or other well-known person, they might throw some money at you.
I’m sorry to say that Jersey Shore star Snooki has two books by a traditional publisher, for which she earned signing bonuses. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the state of traditional publishing today, I don’t know what will.
You can make more money.
After your agent takes a cut and then the publisher takes a cut, you’re probably left with about 17.5% of the profits from each book sold. And that’s only after the initial run of your books is sold-out or your signing bonus is reached (the earn-out, as it’s called). In other words, you’re not getting a dime until they sell enough of your books to make back their money.
If you self-publish, you can sell the book yourself through Amazon and other sources, and earn up to 70% per book. You can even sell the book yourself through your website if you want and earn ALL of the profits.
So, what do you think? Do you still feel that traditional publishing is a model that makes sense? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.