When I finished writing Poisoned, I had plans to go through the steps to traditional publishing. I poured through the thousands of agents and made the perfect query letters specific to each agent.
I read multiple stories of other people’s journey to publication. Most of them described a life long desire to see their books on a shelf and had a specific agent they wanted to work with. Neither applied to me. They also gave the length of the process, the quickest was five years and the longest took over twelve years.
“My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather,”
For those unfamiliar with the process of traditional publishing, the first step is finding an agent. The standard response time is six to eight weeks to find out if they want a full manuscript. If you get that far, then expect it to take another three to four months for an offer to be made or return to stage one. Once accepted by an agent, then they take your work to the different publishers. They typically have one pitch and can’t make another so it has to be perfect, so it can be a year or longer between accepted by an agent till the work is actually pitched to any publishers. Some author journey’s end here, which I can’t imagine the heartbreak that would be. For those who find a publisher, it can be another two years before the book hits the shelves.
I went to a Publishing Panel which featured several indie publishers and several self published authors. In preparation I did more research on self publishing. At that time, self publishing would be my plan B. I didn’t feel like it was negative or the option for weak authors who couldn’t get published traditionally, but I knew I needed support since I didn’t know what I was doing to do it on my own.
When someone traditionally publishes, they are given 5-9% royalties on all sales and on future books they will be given an advance plus the same royalties. The average first time advance is 5,000 and you only earn higher advances once you have earned back the original 5,000. Majority of authors do not earn back their advance therefore their advance never grows beyond the 5k. Publishers also expect the author to handle their own marketing and publicity. Your agent will help you with these things, but the bulk of the responsibility falls on the author. The publisher has all final decisions including cover design, book title, and the purchase price.
Amazon has changed the world of publication by becoming the number one distributor of books.
A traditionally published author receives the same royalties regardless of how the book is purchased. For someone to self publish through Amazon, they receive 30% (for 0-$2.98) and %70 return (for 2.99-9.99). As an example, if you make 70% royalty and your self-published book sells for $15, you receive $10.50 for each book. Deduct the cost of printing, $3.95 in our hypothetical example, for a net of $6.55 per book. 1,000 books sold = $6,550. Contrast that with a royalty payment of approximately $.66 cents per book when traditionally published ($15.00 – 3.95 printing = $11.05; 6% of 11.05 = .66). 1,000 books sold = $660.
(A quick note to people who buy books on Amazon, if debating between a 1.99 book and a 2.99 book, it is only 1$ difference for you, but for the author it is 50% difference in what they are paid.)
When I think of the different stories I want to tell, they span multiple genres. That is a publishing “no, no” and for each genre I would need a separate agent, separate publishing company, etc. I would be starting the road to traditional publishing from scratch with each new book I write. Even with self publishing having multiple genres is difficult, but at least it isn’t starting over (unless I use a pen name).
The more I looked into self publishing, the more I doubted the worth of traditional publishing.
I arrived at the Publishing Panel loaded with questions, but I wasn’t the only author ready. The Q&A session last over an hour with some amazing insight into the publishing world.
One author asked the panel, “How do I go about finding an agent?” and the first panelist answered “I wouldn’t get one.” The panelist didn’t quite place her hand over her mouth, but her eyes widened and the look on her face said she wasn’t supposed to have said that outloud. At the exact same time, every single panelist nodded in agreement. The unspoken rule had just been broken.
In today’s market, you do not need traditional publishing to be successful. There are thousands of resources for aspiring authors on how to do it yourself, which include:
- 20booksto50k – https://www.facebook.com/groups/781495321956934/
- Sprints and Spirits – https://www.facebook.com/groups/sprintsandspirits/
- Creative Writing Mastermind – https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativewritingmastermind/
- 40 Day Publishing – https://www.amazon.com/40-Day-Publishing-Authors-Workbook-ebook/dp/B00FS3QJJ0/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1498450450&sr=8-12&keywords=40+day+publishing
- And thousands and thousands of websites.
With a new goal in mind, I have plans to publish before the end of this summer. I have a master To-Do List which I acquired by reading several books and blogs. Each day I will post what I did and allow you to learn and follow me on this brand new journey!
Reasons I am Self Publishing:
- To have control over my success.
- To have my book published quicker.
- To have higher royalties. Since I’ll be doing most of the work I deserve most of the royalties.
- To be able to set my own prices and sales.
- I do not want someone who will spend seven seconds reading a query letter to determine if my story is good.
- Because I CAN!!
Please like and follow my blog which will help me have an estimate of the new readers I will have.
Thanks! And as always, with love,