Six Self-Publishing Considerations

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I recently spoke on a virtual panel for the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference on why people should consider self-publishing, and why now may be one of the best times to consider doing it. I have broken down the six thoughts to consider into the acronym "WRITER."

Why Self Publish

We are in a new world of publishing. The old ways of publishing are no longer valid. Even before Covid-19, the world of traditional publishing was in trouble. Some of the big publishing houses are being bought out for their lack of relevance and performance. They often focus on their famous money-making authors and leave the first time authors to fend for themselves. Big advances are almost the thing of legends and myths.

Covid-19 only made matters worse. We have large book chains like Barnes and Noble against the ropes, and the smaller bookstores are closing. The big “A” while necessary, is considered a monopoly, and within the next few years, the way people buy, interact, and read books will change even more.

The great news is that self-publishing has become the standard for many authors, even those who had been successful in the past by using traditional publishing houses. Self-publishing is accessible to anyone and is becoming more accepted among readers and critics.

Research Your Options

There are many different types of publishing that range from traditional to Fully-Vested self-published. Some authors need help with the production aspects - cover, editing, interior design, and distribution. You don’t have to go it alone.

  1. Fully-Vested Self-Publishing: This type of publishing requires the author to do all of the items necessary to publish a book. Because they fulfill all the roles and therefore maximize their returns. This type of publishing can be tricky for those unfamiliar with book production or lack specific graphic design skills.
  2. Assisted Publishing: The author uses freelance editors and designers or works through a service like 99designs.com to help them with different production and publishing tasks.
  3. Hybrid Publishing: This is a crossover between self-publishing and traditional publishing. There are all sorts of models and companies out there. Authors should be wary of “vanity presses,” as they often say they are a Traditional or Hybrid Press. They usually require you to buy your books, and most everything is pay to play. These sorts of publishing houses make their money on the services you pay for, and take a big chunk of your royalties as well. They often lack any backend services, such as a proven marketing and PR plan. Some of the less reputable companies promise “best seller” status, but what they mean is a bump on Amazon for two hours in a subcategory. Do your research!
  4. Coop Publishing: L’Oste Vineyard Press (my company) is this type of publisher. We invest our own money into a project alongside the author. The focus is the backend: a healthy marketing plan to recoup the investment and to share in a tidy profit. Instead of charging the author money for services on the front end as a markup, the publisher pays for a percentage of the cost to produce the book. In a coop-publishing deal, the publisher does not make any profit on the upfront costs.