If you’re thinking of writing a book you’ve probably wondered if Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing is a better option or not.
IE 325: Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing with Deborah Niemann
On today’s episode we have special guest Deborah Niemann,
Deborah started her blog, Thrifty Homesteader in 2006 and got discovered by a publisher in 2010.
Deborah has written six books, but it’s really just one part of what she calls an information business which is pretty much what most of us are into, disseminating information.
Is it better to self-publish or traditional publish?
It really depends on the individual, there are some people who will do much better with one than the other.
You really have to be a go-getter to self-publish and to do it well.
Anybody can do it, you can publish for free using print on demand technology these days, but if you do that you will sell less than a hundred copies according to statistics.
When you self-publish, you’re not only the author, but you’re also everything else that goes along with it or you have to hire somebody to do everything and that’s a really long list.
What is the disadvantage of self-publishing?
Definitely a disadvantage is that you have to wear all the hats as a self-publisher, we’re not all good at everything and you can’t really be your own editor.
You have to hire an editor but if you have no experience in publishing then you may not even know what you’re looking for.
It’s not just a matter of making sure your grammar is right, a huge part of what a book editor does is make sure that this sentence means exactly what you meant it to say.
Deborah was shocked the first time that she sent her first manuscript because after she wrote it, she had her husband and daughter read it and thought it was flawless.
Then her editor said that they thought she should take chapter seven and move it to chapter two and Deborah realized that it was so much more than just her grammar being good.
There’s a book editor and then a line editor that goes line by line, kind of like looking at grammar, punctuation, all of that.
Your editor and you will be working back and forth over and over again so many times until you don’t see any mistakes anymore.
Do you make more money self-publishing or traditional?
It really depends on your audience and your ability to sell books; Pat Flynn has said that he has been approached by multiple publishers wanting to publish his next book.
He always says no because he has such a huge audience and such a big reach that there’s no way he’s going to make the same amount of money if he traditionally published.
Your publisher has to be able to sell seven times as many books as you in order for you to make more.
And it seems life self-publishing should be easier, but you have to think about things like publishers have things in place, they have salespeople who contact all the libraries and bookstores that your book is going to be in.
So, they do sell a lot more just instantly because of all of their connections in the distribution.
What size audience should you have in order to self-publish?
In most, it’s going to be niche dependent but of course you really need to have at least 5000 people on your email list and that’s not even making a living.
You’re not going to sell many books if you have said 300 people in your email list, you should have at least a few thousand people before you try selling anything.
It’s just to have it set up over time and continuing to grow.
What are the expectations of traditional publishers on audience size and marketing?
It kind of depends on the niche but all of them are necessarily ask you essentially the same thing as your media kit that you would give to somebody that’s advertising.
They want to see a website and they want to see a social media presence on one or more of the social media channels.
If you are willing to do the speaking, then they love that anymore if you can attend events and things like that.
So usually, they want to see something like starting a website, but of course they’re looking for a website that already has traffic.
When we’re looking at this it’s not necessarily about the money, what does self-publishing or traditional publishing actually give you as a blogger.
It does give you credibility, if you want to become an expert in something, a book is a really great way to do it.
If you’re traditionally published, that used to give you a big leg up.
If you can’t get a real publisher to publish you and that’s not the case anymore because there’s so much out there in terms of PA book packages which are not just the printers but people who offer you all the services.
So, you can put out really high-quality books if you self-publish.
Definitely check out the Roadmap for Determining whether Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing is right for you.
Deborah still leans towards traditional publishing just because of the marketing aspect of it, if she had a bigger audience then she would be much more inclined to go with self-publishing.
Can your publisher sell seven times more books than you? Because when you traditionally publish, most contracts are going to give you 10% of wholesale.
And that sounds ridiculous at first but in reality, all you’re doing is writing the book, they are paying for everything else so all you really have to do is write.
If writing is your passion and you hate marketing, traditional publishing will be less painful for you, but if you self-publish, the potential is there to make a lot more money.