The notion of real publishing as opposed to self-publishing and the stigma surrounding it is obsolete. I have no objections to traditional publishers but every one of them started off as a “self-publisher” with a first book. I have pretty much stopped referring to myself as a “self-publisher.” I produce and market books like anyone else in the business.
Real Publishing vs. Vanity Publishing: Self-publishing is often confused with so-called “vanity publishing.” If you pay someone like XLibris or iUniverse to publish you, you are not a publisher—and neither is the company that claims to be your publisher. Vanity presses take zero risk on your book. They make money producing it and they take a piece of the cover price as a royalty, double-dipping at your expense. If your so-called publisher has not made an investment in your work, they are not a real publisher. Real publishers invest in books, pay royalties when there are profits and incur losses when sales don’t match projections.
Comment: I see self-publishing as vanity publishing. There’s a reason there’s a traditional route; it really does sift out the crap. I may not be a published author, but I’ll be damned before I chuck in the towel to push out my writing through self publishing. I did not spend years honing my craft, get myself into all sorts of tight corners just to get my stories, and lose all those late night hours redrafting just so my work can get lost in the crowd.
My Response: I’m a proud self-publisher. Self-publishing is, by definition, not vanity publishing. I own all my own rights and my own ISBN numbers. My press is a legal entity. I also got myself into all sorts of scrapes to get my stories and I spend hours honing my craft every day, seven days a week. It’s 5:30AM as I finish this. I challenge any traditional press to exceed the quality of the work I produce.
Traditional presses do indeed filter out some crap, but to assume everything not vetted by a Big Six publisher is crap is the literary equivalent of racial prejudice. Major marketing vehicles like the New York Times Book Review serve only the upper crust of the publishing world, defining by exclusion who “the crowd” is. Continue reading →
Today’s post is from Lisa Ryan, CEO and Lead Strategist at Tinley+Ryan, former Marketing Manager of On-Demand Publishing Services at Amazon.com and former Vice President of Marketing at BookSurge.I’m honored to have your contribution, Lisa.
On a macro-level, independent and traditional publishers not only co-exist amicably, they are full-on partners in the publishing and production of books. They are not competitors.
Today, publishers large and small are concerned with digital rights management, monetizing assets like out-of-print titles, and the lightning-speed evolution of alternative format books/readers. Because of these and other economic factors, they work hand-in-hand with digital publishing houses and POD fulfillment providers for support. They in turn support self-published authors. It happens every day. It’s a symbiotic eco-system on the back end, no matter how the surface-level factions consider the issues.
Self-published works provide the data traditional publishers need to take calculated risks on new authors. One initiative we worked on at Amazon was a reporting system that allowed large publishers to monitor the sales velocity of our best-selling self-published titles. We’ve seen some pretty impressive deals come out of that – of note, a three book, six figure deal for a fiction series. Continue reading →