Why do writers still need publishing companies, when you can self publish?

Writers don’t need publishing companies. They haven’t needed publishing companies for more than a decade.

Writers also shouldn’t self-publish. With the maturation of the indie publishing community, there are professionals (the exact same professionals who work for publishing companies) who can help any anyone with a manuscript go from writer to author.

Every writer should make use of the indie publishing community. You don’t have to self-publish. There are artists, editors for every stage of your book, format and layout professionals, blurb writers, beta readers, and reviewers out there. Indie publish. It’s the future of publishing.

To correct some misconceptions:

  • Traditional publishers won’t offer new authors anything. No seasoned team of editors, no cover designers, no public relations professionals, no nothin’. You’ll get a flunky editor, a crap cover, and your book will be bundled in with other books and sent to a bookstore where it’ll languish for 90 days before being returned to the publisher for credit. And you’ll have no control over the editing or the cover. You might as well just put your manuscript in a shredder.
  • Traditional publishers don’t have any special distribution channels that aren’t open to indie publishers.
  • Bookstores get bundles; a book or two that’ll sell and will be put out on tables in high-traffic areas of the bookstore where customers will see and purchase them. Newbie author books will get put on a shelf – probably in the wrong section – spine out where no one will see it. It’ll sit there for 90 days and then be returned to the publisher where it’ll sit in a warehouse becoming a silverfish farm over time.
  • Bookstores will stock indie published books. They do it all the time.
  • As someone who has helped more get more than 250 books published, you can “trust me” that those books have shown up on bookshelves in Barnes & Noble – as well as other brick-and-mortar stores. Don’t buy the BS that indie books don’t get into bookstores. That’s nonsense perpetuated by someone who doesn’t know the industry. It’s ridiculously easy to get your book on bookshelves.
  • There is ZERO “gravitas” to being traditionally published. All traditional publishing means to an author is that they’re suckers who’ll settle for 14.5% in royalties instead of 70%.
  • The “vetting” process for a traditional publisher isn’t exceptional. Traditional publishers will only put out books that they think will make them money – not necessarily books that are good.
  • Indie publishing is a business, and it can involve exactly the same “different jobs” that traditional publishing can. The indie publishing community has professionalas who do editing, layout, cover design, marketing, sales, distribution, customer service, and even financing.
  • Handing your manuscript over to a traditional publisher to do all the grunt work is the WORST idea ever. Don’t do it. You won’t see your work on bookshelves for years – YEARS – if you see it at all.
  • While there are some “really poorly written books” that were self-published, there are just as many traditionally published books that were shit as well. I’ve seen books with missing pages, missing paragraphs, missing chapters, misspellings, crappy formatting, and dreck that was absolutely unreadable from so-called “traditional publishers.”
  • Indie-published books are easier to promote and attract attention to because the indie publishing market is far more flexible, limber, and pivotable. Traditional publishers are like the Titanic speeding through icebergs – and we all know how that ended.
  • There are NO advantages to finding a publishing company will to bring out your book. You’ll wait years for publication, you’ll get no money, and your book won’t be seen by anyone. And – my favorite – it’ll only be available for a short time. Indie publish and your book is available forever.
  • “In a word, marketing” is laughable when applied to traditional dinosaur publishers. Newbie authors get none. ZERO. You’ll have to market your books yourself and you’ll pay for it out of your pocket. AND you’ll only get 14.5% in royalties. Why would you do that? Why would you give up 55.5% in royalties so you can schlep boxes of books around in your trunk by yourself? That’s idiotic.

Many indie published authors do very well – it’s not the “exception” that an indie author will have a great book out, it’s the “rule.”

Don’t let naysayers who don’t understand the publishing industry dissuade you from indie publishing your work. You can get your manuscript out in DAYS instead of years, you can bet your book in bookstores, you can get your book marketed, you can get your book bought, and you can get your book read using the indie publishing industry. Do it.

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