A few thoughts on self-publishing

My stance on the value of self-publishing goes like this:

In today’s technology age it’s best for an author to be open to trying as many different avenues for publishing as possible. Submit a story to a magazine, put it up on your blog, enter a contest, try to get a literary agent, self-publish your book on your own terms, use CreateSpace, etc.

An extension of this is, the project dictates the method of publishing. Now genre fiction can be traditionally published or self-published. It tends to find a particular niche on eReaders so if you have the platform to make it happen that’s not a bad option, but neither is going through an agent.

Some projects, like very very niche projects, are well suited to self-publishing, especially if you think it would be an uphill battle to get a publisher to fund an expensive book only a few people would read.

Self-publishing does not limit your options. The authors making the most money today seem to be the “hybrids”, traditionally and self-published authors.

That being said, some elements of being a self-published author are unfortunate.

If you don’t want to sell exclusively on Amazon you are:

  • Getting a 35% royalty instead of 70%.
  • Unable to run a price promotion unless you actually change the price  (no scheduling).
  • You will not be selected for a Kindle Daily Deal (though apparently some Kindle Worlds projects can be).

If you want to publish on Smashwords you are:

  • Confined to 5MB of content.
  • Relying on a third party to convert your book into multiple formats.
  • Working with a company with a sketchy better business bureau rating (C-).

If you want to publish for the Nook you are:

  • Getting a better royalty but still need to meet the $10 threshold to get paid.
  • Which may be a lot harder given that Nook Sales are a much smaller piece of the eBook publishing pie.
  • And Nooks are perceived as being on the way out, even if they might be better hardware.
  • And their on-line formatting software still needs a lot of work.

Even Bundle Dragon, who I love, has a couple of caveats:

  • Less mainstream name recognition so much higher self-promotion required.
  • Reluctance of readers to buy something they can’t manage in their Amazon library.
  • It’s still in its first year of being a fully released platform. And its own audience is more games and music oriented.
  • Still totally worth it since the profit margin is 80%, you have full control over everything, and you get paid monthly (without the 60 day wait).

It’s important to have all the facts, and weigh all the options when considering what to do with your next story. But the best solution to fixing something you’re not happy with, is to write something else and try it somewhere else. Success, it seems, is earned by those who put out quality work in great quantity.

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2 Comments

Filed under Trube On Tech, Writing

2 responses to “A few thoughts on self-publishing

  1. Wow – didn’t know about the BBB rating on Smashwords. Then again, the only stuff I “sell” on there are free, so I guess it doesn’t bother me too much.

    Great points, Ben. Thanks for sharing! 😉

  2. Pingback: President’s Day 2014 | On (or close to) Schedule

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