Self-Publishing Continues to Challenge Traditional Publishers

Digital Self-Publishing Trends Upward

While retailers were talking– once again, about the importance of mobile, video, personalization, and other digital trends at IRCE 2015, My Web Writers attended Write-to-Publish to learn more about the 2015 publishing market for writers.

The notable trend in publishing is the migration of authors from hoping to be signed bywtp panel traditional publishers to taking the reins with self-publishing or a middle ground solution. The number of e-book and self-publishing companies in attendance at Write-to-Publish this year was easily double what it was a few years ago.

With the average book only selling 500 copies, most traditional publishers at this conference mentioned they’d like to see newer writers cut their teeth (or break their pencils) on self-publishing. But, passing over potential is a profit gamble for publishing companies.

What Experienced Authors Have to Say about Self-Publishing
James Altucher says that for writers,

“the key is the Era of Validation is over. Nobody needs to pick you. You pick yourself.” Altucher suggests that “your book is the new business card.” He also divulges that “When I self-publish, I make about a 70 percent royalty instead of a 15 percent royalty with a traditional publisher. I also own 100 percent of the foreign rights instead of 50 percent. I hired someone to sell the foreign rights and they get 20 percent (and no upfront fee).”

Harry Bingham, an author for more than 15 years, now embraces this latest era in the publishing industry.

“And then too, if I was going to be published e-only by Random House, I would receive just 25% of net ebook receipts. That’s about 17% of the ebook’s cover price as opposed to more like 70% by simply publishing direct with Amazon. I couldn’t understand why I’d want to do that. I mean, yes, I’d have listened if they’d come to me saying, ‘Harry, I know giving up 75% of those net receipts sounds like a lot, but we’re going to add a whole ton of value to the publication process. We’re going to do a whole heap of things that you can’t do on your own. And here’s a stack of in-house data which shows that we can boost your sales way past the point you could achieve.’…

They didn’t actually make any argument at all. When I said no to 25% royalties, that was it. No further conversation… And this, I think, will be the theme of this fourth era that’s now just possibly emerging. It’s a world where authors with plenty of Big 5 sales experience choose to say, ‘You know what, I’m not playing this game any more.’ Where authors make a positive choice to walk away from the terms offered by good, regular publishers.”

For new authors, this fourth era is great news. You can self-publish or take the improved odds of succeeding with traditional publishers now that veteran authors like Altucher and Bingham are walking away to self-publish. Learn from the process and consider your options with each new book.

Market Your Business with a Book

For businesses, self-publishing provides both a marketing channel and an unexpected income stream. Most digital marketing firms took advantage of publishing downloadable e-books years ago, but there are still some brick and mortar companies leaving stories unwritten. Today, it’s easier than ever to hire ghostwriters to create content about your company’s CEO, creative product uses, successes, or early days in the industry, and then turn those stories into e-books or self-published coffee table books for your lobby or employees’ bookstore. Paul Jarvis suggests

“self-publishing through Amazon makes sense for authors who are willing to give up the customer details and accept lower royalties for a potentially higher sales volume. I’ve seen a massive spike in sales by selling this way.”

In his Indie Author Manifesto, Mark Coker reminds authors that, “A few years ago, it was practically unheard of for an indie author to hit the New York Times bestseller list. Now it happens nearly every week.”

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Filed under Authoring Books, Business Strategy, Conferences, Marketing, Self-Publishing

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