One factor that caused me to hesitate to self-publish was my perception of the amount of work required. Writing and promotion consumed all my time. How could I possibly find the time to publish too?
What I learned was that the additional wordload is negligible. Initially, it takes some legwork to find an editor, a cover artist, open vendor/publisher accounts with retailers, but once you do that–it’s smooth sailing. Once you have those connections established, the only extra thing you have to do is email your contacts to say “start the process” and then upload your formatted manuscript to vendor sites.
(Caveat: If you design your own covers and format your own manuscripts there is a little more work involved).
This is how indie publishing and traditional publishing have worked for me (note: by traditional, I mean an e-publishing company). There is variation in the publishing world, depending on which publisher you’re working with–but I’ve worked with five of them.
|I write a book.||I write a book.|
|I decide to publish. Thirty seconds later, give or take a few, I move to the next step.||Send email, synopsis, & MS to a publisher. Wait for acceptance. (Typically takes 2-4 weeks if one has an existing relationship. Can take 2-6 months if one is new to a publisher).|
|I hire an editor who begins editing||Wait for the publisher’s editor to contact me to begin the process. Can take 2-4 weeks.|
|Book is edited||Book is edited.|
|I hire/pay a cover artist. I start this early in the process, before editing.||Wait for the publisher to ask for the cover art form. Cover process occurs after editing is complete.|
|I have complete input into cover. If I don’t like it, I change it.||Limited input into cover. Publisher has final say over cover.|
|I get the cover well in advance of release so I can use it for promotion||I may not get the cover until a week before the book release—maybe not until the day before release.|
|I set the book price.||Publisher sets the book price. I have no input at all.|
|I hire a formatter.||Publisher does the formatting.|
|I decide when to publish.||Publisher sets the release date.|
|I upload the book to vendor sites.||Publisher uploads the book to vendor sites.|
|I do the marketing and promotion.||I do the marketing and promotion.|
|I get real time sales information that tells me exactly how well my book is selling. I can see sales trends, and I can see effects of promo efforts.||No access to actual sales figures until I get the royalty statement – 3 to 6 months later. Only info is Amazon rankings.|
|Production process from decision to publish to actual release takes 2-4 weeks (depending on freelance editors’ availability).||Process from submission of manuscript to publishing takes 2 to 6 months. Four months has been typical. (Note some publishers are faster or slower).|
|Amazon pays 60 days after royalties are earned. (Amz accounts for 95% of my sales).||I get Amazon royalties 3 to 6 months later (depending on publisher schedule). (Amz accounts for 90% of my sales).|
|I foot the cost of production – about $600 per book||Production costs me nothing.|
|I collect 100 percent of the royalties.||Publisher gets half the royalties.|