The desicion to self-publish Shaping Destiny was, at first, really difficult. Like most of us, I believed that self-publishing was for writers who were not good enough to be published by traditional presses. I thought there would be a terrible stigma and the book would languish in some kind of never-never land because I wouldn’t be able to get it into the world in a meaningful way.
I wrestled with epublishing because I am such a book addict and I thought that epublishing was the sure death of print books. I thought that if I joined this new wave, I would be just another nail in the coffin for writers trying to get paid for the work they do.
While I still have some doubts, there are fewer every day. As it turns out, traditionally published authors are moving to the self-publishing world on an ever increasing basis. The reason for this is simple. In the traditional publishing industry, mid-level writers (most writers) can expect an average advance of $5,000 or less. In addition, they are required to do their own marketing and build there own platforms. Then, at the end of it, they get a roylaty rate of between 7% and 17% for each book sold.
OK. Let me get this straight. If I go the traditional route, I do all the work. I spend all the money to market my book. If I am successful and my book sells, then I lose all my rights and only make a pittance for my effort.
Conversely, I self-publish. I do all the marketing. I build a platform. Then, if I am successful, I get to retain all the rights to my book, set my own prices, and retain a 35% or more royalty rate on the books I sell. Hmmm. Seems like a no-brainer.
OK, what about distribution? Well, it turns out that Amazon will distribute for me to libraries, Universities, and bookstores. I will be listed on Amazon and my ebook can be sold through any ebook distributor.
After much soul searching, it turns out that all a traditional publisher can do for me at this stage of the game is give me a pat on the back and boost my ego because they thought I was good enough. I do think my book is good enough and my readers (hopefully) will vote with their dollars which, for me, is a much bigger confirmation of the value of my work than any New York editor can give me. Here’s to the indie trend. May it continue to rock the world and empower authors and artists in all genres to do the work that feeds their soul and still have a chance to get paid for it!