Self-Publishing? Is It A Great Divide? Part 4 of 12

Welcome to all who are new, great to have you here and jumping into the comments. To all the regulars thanks for dropping by and commenting it’s great to hear from you.

I was amazed last night when someone from my past ( high school to be exact) phoned me up. He is a writer as well, and he made some excellent point about self-publishing. Now, he didn’t send it via email, but I asked him anyways if he’d let me write down some of his comments, thanks Sam for letting me.

“I’ve published using the one of the “big three” in self-publishing. That was a mistake, I was young and naive and wanted the moon. Of course I talked myself in agreeing with them about the highest level of service they offered. nearly $3000 later… I had about 20 books and little experience. Thankfully, someone helped me out, but that was an additional expense. No, I didn’t get very many sales since I assumed they would work with me.”

Okay Sam as promised i won’t tell who you went with but I’ll narrow it down for everyone (AuthorHouse, IUniverse or Xlibris… back about say 7 years ago.) The point he made was good, it cost him to much and he did talk himself into the highest priced category, at the same time I wonder if they also fuelled that talk. They are there to sell not much more.

One thing I would do is really look into these groups. That’s important. I did go out and read a book done by one of these companies, and well, to say that it looked good was one thing. To say it read well was another. I know I need an editor, ask Rachel, she can spot a typo of mine a mile away… ( No, I’m not getting into that) it was in bookstores, for about $10 but the thing I found most interesting was the bookstore manager comment: “It sells to writers who tell me they want to make a lot of money, and who don’t have time to “edit.” It’s useful if you take some advice, but it’s not if you take all of it.”

Great points. I asked about Lighting Source. She commented, that from what she’d heard they do have a good binding and other positives, but warned that you want to edit, edit. edit and edit before sending it out. IF you can get someone to evaluate your manuscript all the better.

I asked about traditional publishers. Her comment was interesting, to the larger bookstores a small first time novelist will have more problems than a well known one. Amazon, and Chapters and Barnes and Noble help, and help a lot, but again connections are vital to either a self-published author or a traditionally published author.

She main concern was to those who think that as self-published they have a right to a share of the shelves. She told me that if they had gone out their way to make a connection, she would consider putting the books on the shelves, granted she’s have to go through channels, but she pointed out that a local author who has spent time in bookstores and is known by the staff and doesn’t make themselves to pushy will get noticed.

Same with a traditionally published book. Connections, editing, speaking, time. All these are needed.

For me to hear this hit home the point that it isn’t so much where you publish, but the people who will work with you when you are honest and hard working. A good book will sell, a great book with good marketing will sell better, and so on.

My Question for you today is this: What are you feelings about the larger self-publishing groups such as AuthorHouse ( not the smaller ones such as local printers etc.)? What sort of ideas do you have to working with your novels to make them work for you?


  • Alissa

    I think the point you made that they exist to sell their services is a very valid point, and one that authors must keep in mind. While a traditional publisher is looking out for themselves as well, they have a vested interest in selling your book. With self-publishing, all the work of selling a book falls on an author. As long as an author understands that and is willing to do all the legwork necessary to make connections with book buyers both online and in person as well as media contacts, then they can be very successful in self publishing.

    I think self publishing holds the greatest potential for someone doing a non-fiction book. There is so much more potential to promote that on your own whether it's through local media, through the web in terms of a blog or YouTube videos or with organizations related to the subject matter of your book.

  • Elle Scott

    This was a great post. There is a lot of information on the dangers of self-publishing (for example, visit the Absolute Write forums.)

    But I do think there are some good uses for self publication. For example, many authors (including myself) use self publishing as a way to promote our published works. It's kind of like giving away free samples at a grocery store. The idea is that if people like your free stuff, they will be willing to pay for it, too.

    True, self publishing will not earn you large amounts of money, and you must be very careful about reading the contract. But, at times, it is worth the risk.

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