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Publishing Your Book
What Way is Best For You?

Judy Cullins, Guest Author

Your book is nearly finished. You wonder if you should try to get an agent to represent you to the publisher. Maybe you've already sent out your query letter to some agents. You dream how great it would be to be taken under the publisher's wings.

What's wrong with this picture? Even if an agent has given you the go and asks for a book proposal that has specific marketing information in it (takes another three-seven months), you still have to face reality.

FACT:  Like Oprah, publishers and agents choose only 1-2% of proposals submitted.

Let's say for now, you are chosen. The point is, are you fortunate to be chosen?

Are you willing to wait on the traditional publishing process 18 months more? Are you willing to accept around 1% of the profits? Do you realize that after a few months of one initial book tour (of which you must pay all costs from your book sales), you are on your own? And, it you don't put a lot of time into promotion, your book will fade away from the brick and mortar book store shelves. All unsold and coffee-stained books left will be returned. Unless you are a favored celebrity or famous author, publishers put little time or money into your book's promotion.

Get the Right Help the Right Way

Who says you can't publish the book yourself? It will certainly cost you less than you imagine, even under $1000. It will certainly bring you all the profits. It will certainly put you in charge to make suitable and favorable writing, publishing and promotion decisions.

With a little help from professionals! These entrepreneurial experts such as book coaches, book designers, and eBook specialists can guide you to publishing success. These people may give teleclasses, an inexpensive way to learn the ropes where you get their expertise for $50 or so. They will shorten your learning curve too, so you get the right help right away. .

When you think you still have to promote your books, even with a publisher, why not keep most of the profits and do some of the work yourself. Learn from a coach's mistakes, "Do What You Do Best - and Hire the Rest!" (That doesn't mean you can't barter for services). Check out the methods below and see which one suits you best. is more rewarding and far more profitable.

Why Self-Publishing?

In self-publishing, you are the boss. You get to choose the cover, the style, the layout, the message, even the format (eBook or Print Book). It's your story; you are the one enthused about it.

In self-publishing, who do you think can sell it the best? You, the passionate author in love with his book, or the rookie publisher's employee in charge of marketing your book?

In self-publishing you'll make much more profit from your effort and you will get your book out to the buyers so much faster, making faster profits. A $15 book costs $4 to print even a rather small run using "print on demand" (POD) or "print quantity demand," (PQN). If you sell it at the back of the room, you will make $11 each book.

If you sell it as an eBook on your web site or link it to other authors' web sites, you will make the whole $15.

FACT:  In traditional publishing, you must get a distributor, and a wholesaler to get brick and mortar bookstore chooses to carry your book. The bookstore gets a percentage too. Maybe, altogether 90%!

Is there a drawback to self-publishing? You must pay for the printing yourself, but remember that could be as low as $50. Print on Demand and Print Quantity Needed print short runs from five to 500. Depending on how many that could run from $2 to $5 for a book you can sell for $12. You'll only have to make a small investment, you won't have a huge inventory, and you can use money you don't have to put into printing on promotion!

Promotion is always at least as important, if not more important, than your book. Drawbacks are starting to look like profit and low cost investment for you. With PQN (you have all control, keep and distribute all the books) or eBooks you won't have hundreds or thousands of unsold books in your garage gathering dust.

Many people feel it's a drawback to have to market and promote their books. Yet, you can learn skills such as the sixty second "tell and sell," the promotional article or power press release, the sales letter for your Web site from an already successful coach. Publicity agents charge a lot of money and tend to overdo the media kit, (media editors and reporters usually throw everything away except the news release).

You need to learn how to talk about your book in a few sentences, a few paragraphs, and a longer sales letter. You need someone who has authored and sold many books, one with long-term copy writing experience. But even if you spend $1000 for coaching, editing and printing, you'll still be able to realize a larger profit than the traditional route.

Traditional Publishing - Where does the money go?

Lets say you have a $15 book. Your agent takes 15% of what you get paid. Your publisher takes all risks, pays editing, design costs and may pay an advance vs royalties (around 5 to 8% of cover price or 10 to 15% of net). They book tours for you, but you must repay those costs from your book sales. The sad thing is they keep your book alive for only three months as does the bookstore unless you are a best seller. Your well-written, great message book may die here.

Your distributor/warehouse who sells to bookstores takes 25 to 30% of net from bookstore (12.5% of cover price). They charge extra fees for storage, to keep you in their catalog, shipping costs, and returns. What does that leave you? Maybe $2 a book. Often distributors go belly up, and so does your investment with them.

You the author need to decide what path is best for you. Make sure it's a profitable one.


Copyright © - Judy Cullins. - Reprinted with permission. Judy is an author, publisher, and book coach. She helps writers manifest their book dreams. 24 clients published since 1999! "Write Your eBook or Other Short Book-Fast!" - Send an e-mail to The Book Coach Says... For 2 free eReports


  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Author & Speaker Coaching for specific details and fees.

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