Yellow's Green

The Adventures of Money Blog.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Should I Self Publish?

An old co-worker was trying to explain to me why he would be upset if his future wife did not take his last name. I never could make sense of his argument (although I did choose to take my husband's last name) but one thing he said has stuck with me. He said, "You have to do a cost benefit analysis for everything, right?"

I'd never thought of it before, doing a cost benefit analysis for everything? I'd always sorta kept the concept work related, but everyday life related CBA makes sense!

So, I have a picture book story in the works. The illustrator is drawing, a content editor is reviewing, and I have some decisions to make. There's the find and agent and get published route, and there's the publish yourself route. If I'm looking at publishing from the financial angle, which would benefit me more? I've been reading self-publishing guide books and I'm still not sure.

With an agent and publisher, my cut of the income from the book is diminished. If I go through a Print-On-Demand place like Amazon's Book Surge, it's higher. If I go at it alone, it's 100%

An established publisher would have access to marketing and placing my book in places far beyond my reach. Although, if it doesn't do well off the bat, it may not stay in print long, cutting out long-term gains. I've read that you still need to market your own book heavily even if a known publisher gets it out there.

Marketing is NOT my strong point. I'm hesitant about selling myself. I don't know why. I mean, I do have self confidence, and I don't mind others' praise at all - but selling something by singing my own praises makes me uncomfortable.

Self publishing sounds like a lot of work, investing a lot of time and my own money up-front. However, I wouldn't have to worry about losing control of my work. I still choose the title, the illustrator, and how long it stays in print. I really like the idea of having the final word on my own creative work.

I don't have to decide today, but the ideas are stirring... any advice would be appreciated.


  • At 8/24/2006 11:59 AM, Anonymous ric said…

    It all depends on if you have access to a market. I have friends who self publish quilt books and swear by that... but they have distributers who travel to national shows and sell tons of their books for them to a very targeted market. Those women are at those shows for the purpose of shopping! The authors also travel nationally and teach from their books and lecture to quilt guilds who then buy their books.
    Think long and hard about how you would get your book to a buying consumer.

  • At 8/25/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger emjaybee said…

    I used to work in children's book publishing. It's a tough market, because the old classics tend to sell and resell and new books don't get pushed much unless a celebrity wrote them or they win an award. So even if they take you, you might not make much and quickly get remaindered because they didn't publicize you.

    And the two aren't mutually exclusive; if your self-published book is doing well, it can always get picked up by a major publisher later.

    In today's market, if you don't want to do publicity...well you shouldn't publish at all, sadly. Big publishers don't do it for you anymore. So you might as well self-publish first and then commit to marketing it if you want any sales. Or hire a reputable agent who will do it for you.

  • At 8/29/2006 8:22 AM, Blogger Amber said…

    Thanks emjaybee, what you've said is right in line with the books I've read... sounds like I'm going to need to study up on marketing.


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