Monday, February 26, 2007

Self-Publishing — Yeah or Nay?

There are some reviewers, literary critics, and traditional publishers who believe that self-publishing, in all its varieties, is for the unprofessional and untalented author. Self-published authors have not faced any critical review of their work, and the companies that do self-publishing are motivated by money rather than the quality of the work! There is definitely some truth to this, but it applies equally to some of the traditional publishing houses. These houses have, over the last 10 years or so, maintained an unhealthy fixation on “Best Sellers” and on the “bottom line” — none of them have said they are not interested in making money. Many in the publishing industry are concerned about this trend and about the trend that the bigger houses have become too removed from the general writing population.

Clearly there are differences between self-publishers and the major publishing houses. The major houses have editors who edit the books. The major houses pay for the production costs, start to finish, for their authors. The major houses have good distribution systems and will heavily advertise books they feel will break through and become “Best Sellers.”

It is naive to think that authors taken on by the major houses are not paying for their books to be published. These authors do pay to get their work published — and pay and pay and pay. They receive royalties (as low as 10%) on actual book sales. The author also loses a great amount of control re copyright, editorial, graphic, and marketing decisions. The accounting practices of some major houses have left some authors waiting for months to be paid or to have recalculations and holdbacks on their advances. It is not until you become an important and saleable author that you can negotiate to make the traditional publishing house deals more equitable.

Authors: Alex Landels & A.G. Landels.

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