When I wrote “Lessons from the Depression” in 2009, self-publishing put your book in the “not good enough to make it to the big leagues” category. I originally wanted to find a publisher. After talking to David Chilton who wrote the incredibly successful book, “The Wealthy Barber,” I changed my mind as he gave me three really good reasons to consider self-publishing.
The first is money. No publisher was interested in his book until it started selling. When it became popular, David was offered, and made, a deal with a major publishing house and went from retaining all of the profits of his books to a small percentage. He told me he lost on the deal because it was his efforts that brought the book to that level of success and publisher cashed in on it…big time. Which brings me to the second reason to self-publish.
Many believe that if you are published traditionally, the publisher will take care of all of the marketing. Hate to break it to you, but, in most cases, that is not true. David realized that his efforts of being on TV and radio translated into book sales. He did that, not the publisher. Unless you are a Kardashian or a Wayne Gretzky, expect to do the majority of your own marketing.
And the last, but not least, thing to consider is that when a publisher buys your book, they BUY YOUR BOOK. You no longer own your story. They do. Which means, if they don’t want to print copies, you are out of print. If they want to publish in 2018 and you want to publish now, in will be 2018 until you see a copy of your book. They decide everything. For control freaks or those with attachment disorders, this is difficult.
Traditional publishing used to be the gateway to credibility in the literary world. After books like “The Wealthy Barber,” the originally self-published “The Martian” and “Fifty shades of Grey” along with big winners like “The Celestine Prophecy” and “The Shack” the lines have been blurred in the publishing world.
Your choice in publishing comes down to preference, level of control freakishness, and fit, rather than acceptance by a publishing house. In the end, that is how it should be.
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