I think if you want to impress friends and relatives with your book, then sure, do self-publishing. To me self-publishing is likened to posting videos on YouTube. Anyone can do it with the right software and a camera. Of course we all know the quality of YouTube videos greatly varies. While some become viral, getting millions of views, others get maybe 5.
I've noticed on Amazon that a lot of people are trying to capitalize on the e-book formatting by offering a low price for a Kindle book. Seems a good idea. But if you aren't known, you have an upward hill to climb. A long, long hill to climb.
From what I understand, those who have self-published with success have swamped message boards, social networks, and the like to get their name out there. It's not as if you just becoming instantly famous.
I think the old fashioned route is still the best...for the time being. With the collapse of book stores in America and elsewhere, I feel like an increasing reliance on e-books will continue. That could mean a flooding of the market with writers who self-publish, and that may not necessarily be a good thing.
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Just a question. What's the difference between an unknown author self-publishing and an unknown author getting a publishing deal? They both have to start out as unknown authors to the reader, regardless of any marketing dollars put forth either independantly or by a major publisher.
It all boils down to whether readers enjoy the work - to them, especially those with e-readers, it doesn't matter if it's self-published or released by a major publisher.
I will grant that a large number of self-published works are sub-par where quality is concerned. But there are people out there doing their homework and putting out their own money to put together quality writing. And you know what? Those are the people that are making money by self-publishing, and they're going to get a lot more for each sale of their book than someone who goes through a publisher (or even an agent).
The fact of the matter is self-publishing NOW is a lot different than it was before e-readers became common-place. Your chances of success (which quite honestly depends on your definition of the term; for instance, if I wanted to self-publish something, I'd be happy with 5 sales in a month simply because I don't have a lot of marketing leverage at my disposal) are a lot higher now than they ever were before. But only because of ebooks, really.
Do all bookshops take self-published books? I asked at a random bookstore - a franchise that was owned, so it wasn't part of the main chain, but had the name - and they said to date they haven't simply because they need all the space they can get for books from publishers. If someone asked for a specific book, it may be possible for them to order it in... but probably wouldn't be worth their while, and would be easier for the singular person who wanted it to order it themselves.
So is there a chance more than just this bookstore feels the same way, and self-published books would find it hard to get space in bookstores? Depending on how the self-published book was set up to be ordered, I suppose.
Sorry for the badly worded post. Just woke up and this site is blocked at my work for some reason
"Aren't ordinary people adooorable. Well, you know, you've got John. I should get myself a live-in one. It'd be so funny."
The amount of work you put in to marketing, hiring artists, editors doesn't seem to have much of a correlation to your likelihood of success. For every time I hear a story about someone making it big as an independent author, I hear a horror story about someone who spent $10,000 and saw no more than $1,000 in return for their efforts. It's a big investment, and I'd frankly rather I got $3,000 and it went no where than I spend $3,000 for the same result. And, even as an ebook, a publisher's name is attached. There are certain publishers I like - they publish a high percentage of quality books. Given two books that look and sound interesting, but one is published independently and one is traditionally published, I will near invariably pick the traditionally published book. It would have to be a really phenomenal self-published book for me to pick it first, or, you know, it was published by a friend of mine.
Self-Publishing means that you front the money yourself, and then hope you can get it in front of people who will buy it.
I know an excellent self publisher. I was going to use it myself unfortunately me and Bry now have a baby on the way and I can't afford the package I want for it LOL. This is the link to Xlibris. They were so very helpful to me and worked with me even though I wasn't finished with the manuscript. They even cut me deals when I couldn't afford their cheapest package...
Self Publishing and Print on Demand Company | Xlibris Book Publishers.
You may be able to self-publish less expensively these days because of e-books (though don't assume "less expensive" equals "free")… but, to rephrase your example by reversing its elements, the people who are making money are the ones who are putting money into it—and I'd like to see their balance sheets before claiming too much success for them. Do they make a lot more off each sale? Almost certainly. Does it make up for the difference in quantity of sales? Almost certainly not. Remember that an author accepted for print isn't paying one cent to get the work published (aside from a ream of paper to print the manuscript out, and postage to mail it), and unless he accepts very dubious contract conditions, is guaranteed to make some amount of money off it, even if every last copy is returned unsold. (Which never happens, as there will always be a few library sales, if nothing else.) That doesn't even begin to take into account cover art, distribution, publicity, promotional appearances/tours… all the other things you're paying for yourself or doing without when you self-publish. And all of which are important to getting an "unknown" author noticed by readers—overcoming that "unknown" disadvantage. You might spend hours a day trolling through e-book titles by people you've never heard of; I have more than enough to read from people who have made it into print.
But the real kicker is my first point: getting anyone to take you seriously. There's a reason these are referred to as "vanity presses." Self-publication is virtually an admission—more importantly, will be viewed as an admission—that you can't get your work published any other way. It will definitely be viewed that way by any publishers you approach at a later date; it will probably be viewed that way by much of your potential readership. If you do decide to self-publish, you'd be well advised to conceal the fact if you ever want to go beyond that stage.
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I'm going to bow out of the thread because it seems that everyone against self-publishing is ignoring the e-publishing route. The only reason self-publishing is a viable option right now is because of e-publishing. You don't have to have a physical book to self-publish. The only reason self-publishing authors are successful is because they DON'T have to shell out a ton of money to publish their book.
They can sell it as an e-book and not have to sell a large number of copies just to break even.