Jul 27

Question: Should I submit to a publisher or only publish on Kindle?

BookQuestionQuestion: Should I submit to a publisher or only publish on Kindle?

Really crappy answer #1:

If you can get published via publisher, it is always better. The reason is that,
1) you automatically get support for editing your book from publishing house,
2) most importantly you became “validated” author as, most times self-published Kindle authors are not considered professional, because everybody can publish with Kindle even if their work contain plenty of grammar mistakes.

If your book is fictional book, you have less chance to sell your Kindle ebook if readers don’t know you (for example from your blog page, twitter account and etc.) .

However there is also some advantages of Kindle publishing :
1) As I told before it is quick you can publish directly , nobody will check it
2) You can always update contents of your book
3) You can always un-publish safely to protect your reputation

If you decide to publish with Kindle ebook, I really recommend find someone to proofread your book and create professional cover. (You can outsource these works in fiverr easily).

Good luck 🙂

Really crappy answer #2:

I have a two-part series of blog posts about this. I’m providing you with the link to Part 2, because I think it’s more relevant to what you’re asking.

Link: How Self-Publishing Can Prepare Your Book for Traditional Publishing

Personally, to be on the safe side, I’d use Kindle as a last resort if you don’t want to accidentally botch your chances with a publisher. An agent recently rejected me simply for already having the book self-published, and told me to submit to them in the future before self-pubbing if I write another one.

Note that this was only one case. Another agent specifies that she doesn’t care if the book is self-pubbed or not, she treats them all the same.

The ACTUAL answer:

Well, to start with, you shouldn’t listen to anyone who thinks indie publishing is a “last resort” because they – obviously – don’t know what they’re talking about.

And if someone is telling you that getting published “via publisher” is always better, you can safely discard that answer as well.

To CORRECTLY answer your question, let me ask you a question: why would you voluntarily give up 56% in royalties and control of your work to see your book on a bookshelf four years from now – and only on that shelf for a few months?

If your work is worth so little, why do it in the first place?  You can earn more on unemployment than you can going the legacy publisher route.

Here’s a timeline of how long it takes to get your book published through a legacy publisher:

  • It’ll take you at least a year to find a literary agent willing to represent you – and that is only if you have a compelling query, story, and package to submit to them.
  • Assuming you can even get a literary agent, it’ll take another couple of years (or more) for that agent to drum up any interest in your work – and you’ll only be hip pocketed during that time (which means you’re the fallback position if he doesn’t sell the other book(s) he took to the publisher to sell as a package deal; you’re the “do you have anything else you’d like to show us?” answer that comes when the publisher isn’t interested in anyone else he’s representing).
  • If the publisher is interested, it’ll take another year or two before your book is published.  You’ll be asked for rewrites, you won’t be given any choice in design, you won’t even know what the cover looks like – and you’ll get a royalty advance of a paltry few thousand dollars for the privilege of giving away your work.
  • Once your book is published, it’ll be part of a package deal (much like it was when it got picked up by a second-rate publisher); your work is only thrown into the box because the bookstore believed it could sell some other book in the package – not yours.

Your book will hit bookshelves spine-out and be buried.  The book the bookstore wanted to sell will be put on a table up front where it will sell.  Your book will languish – unpurchased – for the minimum required four months before the bookstore packages it back up and sends it back to the publisher for a refund.

The book may sell enough copies to cover the $2 or $3 thousand in royalties you got upfront.

You will have now spent four years and four months waiting for your book to get published.  For every book sold, you’ll get 14.5% in royalties … which won’t cover the advance the publisher magnanimously gave you.  And here’s the best part: the publisher gets to hold on to the publishing rights  for an additional number of years, which means you can’t sell your rights to anyone else, or get your book published anywhere else.

But hey, you made $3,000 for four years work!  That comes to about a buck a day, including all the time you spent writing your work in the first place!

Welcome to the wonderful world of legacy publishing.

Now, if you’d gone indie publishing instead – and if you started today – your book would be up for sale on every major eRetailer, available to libraries, bookstores, and academic institutions by the day after tomorrow.

…and your book would be available as a physical dead-tree book forever.

…and your ebook would be available to the world Forever.

…and you’d be making 70% in royalties.  FOREVER.

Let’s put that whole royalty thing into perspective, using the $3,000 royalty advance a legacy publisher would have given you:

Legacy publishing: You have to sell 4,167 books at $5 to make $3,000.

Indie publishing: You have to sell 857 books at $5 to make $3,000.

It’s a whole lot easier to find 857 people to buy a book than it is to convince 4,167 people to buy a book – especially when you’ve only got 4 months (and no advertising) to sell those 4,167 books.

If you’d have sold 4,167 books (which isn’t hard to do as an indie; MANY indie-published books sell hundreds of books per day – some sell thousands) at the indie royalty rate of 70% you’d have made $14,549.50.  By going with a dinosaur publisher, you lost $11,549.50.  And (my personal favorite argument): it took you four YEARS to lose that money – money you could have made in a single week (or less) by indie publishing.

If you still want to go with an old school legacy dinosaur publisher after you indie-publish first (I don’t know what you’ve got against making money…), you probably won’t have any issue doing so; that dying breed is always looking to turn a profit; if you put your book out as an indie – and it sells – you’ll have those guys beating down your door to steal that 56% in royalties from you!

Now, to dispel some really ignorant guesses about the publishing industry:

  • You WILL NOT get “support for editing your book” from a publishing house.  You will be told to change your work.  That’s not support.  That’s called giving away control of your manuscript to someone who isn’t invested in your work and has no interest in whether the work sells or not; they’ll still get their paycheck.
  • You WILL NOT get “validated” as an author by going through a publishing house.  There’s no such thing.  Only idiots think that there’s some kind of ‘validation’ for giving up your income.  I’ll let you in on a little secret: being validated as an author is done every time you cash a royalty check.  It’s not some mystical magical unicorn fart from an imaginary publishing fairy.  It’s cash in the bank because you put noses in books.  Duh.
  • Indie published books are as good as – if not better than – legacy published books; they are more professional, they are usually edited by the same editors that the dinosaurs use, their covers are better, and there is a huge community of readers who are looking for works that the legacies don’t publish.
  • If your work is a fictional piece, you’ve got the same chance – if not a better one – of selling your book as an indie publisher.  Why?  Because legacy publishers don’t spend a dime on advertising some no-name author.  Ever Any advertising YOU do of YOUR book will be on YOUR DIME; the publisher won’t reimburse you – nor care that you’re trying to sell your book.
  • Indie books almost always have better advertising and marketing than legacy books.  Why?  Because the indies are selling a product, not a box of books from a bunch of nobodies.  And that is EXACTLY how they look at you; they’re not invested in you – they’re only accountable to their shareholders.
  • Virtually every indie published book is edited – and often edited better than a legacy published book.
  • Indies have the same access to content and line editors that the legacies do; and they usually have faster turn around times, too.
  • There are plenty of professionals available to help authors get their works out there.
  • The Holy Trinity of Self-Publishing is Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords Direct, and Createspace; you put out your ebook through KDP and SD, and you put out your physical book through Createspace.  These aren’t ‘last resorts’ at all; these are the outlets and the tools you use to make money.
  • Those that think an agent rejects an author for having a “self-published” book are fooling themselves; the agent rejects you if they don’t think they can make money off you.  Duh.  This is a business.  Some people just don’t seem to realize that, and make up fiction as to why an agent rejected them so they can sleep at night.  If an agent rejects you, it’s because they don’t think you’re worth their time. Period.
  • “Good Luck” isn’t a wish, it’s the result of good planning and flawless execution.  Duh.

Don’t listen to naysayers or people who don’t know what they’re talking about.  You CAN get published, you CAN sell books, and you CAN be a published author making good money.  MANY authors already are.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me direct; I help get authors published every day!