Self-publishing is not a means to an end, despite what you may think.
In fact, it is easier to see success as a self-publisher than it is with a formal distributor, or at the least: equal in pros and cons. So what is the basis behind such a theory? Experience. At one point, I was up for a traditional publisher deal, but I did not take it after I read over the contract. What I found was stipulation, at best.
I was not only losing my work on a creative level; I was also losing royalty rates, and the ability to see my book in stores was no better nor worse than if I were to do it myself. The difference, I guess, was the fact that finding traditional publishing is not only hard (it is actually near impossible) but also does not guarantee a damned thing. Here is why.
The Lesser of Two Evils
A traditional publisher takes your manuscript, reviews it, and if they like it enough (among the thousands of other manuscripts submitted every month, or possibly every year) they will toss a rather greedy, unstructured contract asking you to 1) give up every ounce of creative control you have over your book, and 2) to accept that your royalty rates may drop to around 10 percent per sale (charging $9.99 a copy? Expect about a dollar or so that actually goes into your pocket).
Losing An Important Sense Of Control
In congruence with the latter, you won’t get to choose the price either.
They always forget to tell you that you will be in control of marketing your novel (just like if you self-published); you will be in control of getting it into stores (just like if you self-published); and you will do all of the latter without much help from them. Their job is to place a company title on your book, hoping that simply by having it published through them will raise your perceived value. But that is not a key marketing strategy, and does not help you much unless you sell.
And then they will care about you.
Distribution Is Not Guaranteed
Ingram is a service (I prefer to just counterpoint them as a catalog) that most retailers use to decide what books to stock. The rate-of-sales (i.e. how many copies of a book have been sold) and the feedback provided gives stores like Barnes & Noble’s an idea of what books are selling, thereby leading them to stock them on the shelves within. The rate-of-sale and popularity of each novel dictates what books they stock.
Distributors (statistically-speaking) do not have any particular “say” in this. If you self-publish, you can submit to become part of the Ingram program, Distributors have no formal or supplementary control over how these books are ranked, though in all fairness they do have a better chance at landing shelf space. However, there is a paradox here. For one, store shelves do not dictate your chances at success.
You Are Not Guaranteed A Thing
It is speculated that 60 percent of sales come from bookstore shelf space.
But how does this make a traditional publisher any better than a well-rounded self-publisher? The answer is simple: not much whatsoever. If you want shelf space, you have to sell copies. In order to sell copies, you need creative control over your book. If you sign with a traditional publisher, that creative control disappears…
Think about that one for a while.
There Is A Solution
The solution is to simply self-publish. Though everybody seems to think that wasting their time with a traditional publisher will allow them a better marketing schemata. You will maintain control over your book, and you can locate a proper self-publisher to allow you the same thing a traditional publisher would: an opportunity to market your novel properly and on your own time.
We offer the solution and can get you on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s website!
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