Articles and Features
How Three Publishing Myths Kill the Author
by Judy Collins
Agents and publishing houses have their best interests at heart, not the author's. Save yourself from headaches, disappointments, and money down the drain. Become your own independent publisher and produce your book faster and cheaper. All you need is a little help from professionals.
Myth: You need an agent or big publishing house to market your book and make big money.
Since big publishers don't look at unknown authors, now is the time to look at what they can do for you. Dan Poynter, self-publishing guru, says that if a publisher can't sell four times as many books as you can, you're better off selling it yourself. Self-publishing first is good because it acts as a test market for your book. If it sells well (over 10,000 in a year), publishers may be interested in your book. Traditional publishers and agents accept only 1-2% of authors' submissions, and even if you are one of the "chosen" you may not make much money after printing, bookstore, distributor, wholesaler and other expenses--probably $2 on a $14 book. Yes, you get an advance, but your sales must meet that and more. And after the initial book tour, the trainee marketing person is onto the next new author. Then, your books disappear from the bookstore shelf unless you, personally, devote a lot of time to marketing them.
Book Publishing is a new game today. Think self-publishing where the profits are all yours. Self-publishing is in. Thanks to Dan Poynter of the Self Pulsing Manual for giving us permission to do part of the task ourselves. If you self-publish and decide to print, you need to print only the copies you need (5-500) with the new technology Print on Demand (POD). No more unsold cartons of books in your closets or garage. You print as you go leaving enough cash flow to market your book splendidly.
Myth: To be a respected author, you must invest thousands of hours of time on your full-length book.
The reality is that people today want concise and useful information. You don't have to write a 200-page book to be a real author. Remember The One-Minute Manager and the One-Minute Salesperson? Around one hundred pages. People want information fast and convenient. Create short information products you can sell online, even if you don't have your own Web site.
If you choose to print your book with Print Quantity Needed (PQN), your perfect bound books will look as good as any book on the bookstore shelves.
Myth: Authors must spend a lot of money to publish themselves. The printing costs for 1500 copies of a 160-page book might cost $3000, about $2 a unit. Small runs cost even more per unit. That's a lot of cash for anyone to put out all at once, and it's not worth it to many of us to use our home equity or life savings to finance our book. The answer is a small run with Print on Demand (POD) where you can print only 500 for around $2.40 for 160 pages. Without the high inventory, you can maintain a comfortable cash flow.
You save even more money if you don't print your book. Book publishing is going Internet. You can write small books in less time, market them easily and inexpensively on the Web and reap profits sooner. Try an e-book. It can be downloaded, it takes no printing costs because your buyer prints or downloads it. You don't even have to have the whole book finished to sell it. Just include your table of contents at the end of each chapter and present it as an e-serial book.
Judy Cullins: 20-year author, publisher, book coach
Helps entrepreneurs manifest their book and web dreams
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