Yes, the self-publishing options are getting better and better. In fact, in many respects the practice has moved from an author’s last option to his or her best option.
• Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
• Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
• David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber
• John Grisham, A Time to Kill
• Phil Edmonston and his Lemon Aid car guides
• Also, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Poe, Irving, Whitman, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Melville were all self-published at some point in their careers.
Independent self-publishing requires that you bear the entire cost of publication, and handle all marketing, distribution, storage, etc. on your own. When you self publish, whatever publishing services you eventually enjoy will have been put together by you! So you have a lot of say, and lot of control over all aspects of your book’s production and marketing... and the work that goes with it!
But don’t be frightened by that prospect. Every aspect of the process can be contracted out to the best bidder. That means the custom or independent self-publishing option can be the most cost-effective option for you, and can also result in a higher-quality product; it’s a bit like being your own general contractor when building your dream home.
In independent self publishing, you also get to keep all the proceeds from sales because you own the completed books, and you retain all rights to your work.
Once an author has decided going to a commercial publisher is not going to work, the decision often becomes one of choosing either independent self-publishing, or print-on-demand publishing.
With self publishing, the writer is in charge of all aspects of the process – from print style to cover art, editing, proofreading and physical printing to pricing, promotion and marketing. By contracting out each of these responsibilities with any one or a number of different companies, agencies and experienced individuals, costs and quality can be controlled and better kept to a budget.
Only through your choice of specific “packages” offered by the publisher does the author using P.O.D. services influence the publishing process.
With self publishing, you pay the publisher for books produced and you keep all proceeds from subsequent sales. Of course, “subsequent sales” are totally dependent upon your marketing and distribution strategy. If you don’t have a marketing agent and no such strategy of your own, your books will stay in your garage, your basement, or the trunk of your car—and sales will remain a dream.
Of course, that is also largely true with mainstream commercial publishers as well. They make the book available commercially but that doesn’t automatically translate into sales. Their promotion and marketing efforts are generally minimal.
With self-publishing services, payment comes in the form of a royalty, the amount of which can depend on the “package” chosen. The author always has at least a few sales via online marketing and/or other marketing assistance, again, depending on the publishing package chosen and/or the abilities of your marketer or publicist. You pay the P.O.D. publisher once, up front, and you get paid with each book produced and sold. Your royalty is generally larger than that offered in a typical commercial publishing contract.
With self-publishing, all rights remain with you as the writer, and you have full ownership of your books. This is the main difference between independent self-publishing and vanity publishing. Vanity publishers generally take over the rights.
With most P.O.D. services, rights are held by the service, which has an exclusive or nonexclusive claim on them for a set period of time.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, with self-publishing, contrary to what you might initially think, you don’t have to do it all yourself! There are companies and experienced professional individuals out there who can help you through the process.
A division of Hay House Publishing, some of our authors have been pleased with the services of Balboa Press