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Professional writing isn’t for the faint of heart, and it involves more than just being creative. The business side involves an almost constant carousel of pitching, revisions, and engagement in both an idea and some form of publication when the dust finally settles.
Writers were once at the mercy of traditional publishing houses, because without them there was no realistic way to get their work out to the world and into the hands of an audience.
This is no longer the case as self-published books now constitute 50 percent in e-book market share. And the trend is only growing year by year. The self-publishing option has grown from a quirky option to a serious competitor for many writers. Here’s why.
1. There is more potential profit
While traditional publishers can give you a lump sum if they like your pitch, that pales in comparison to the gross potential of self-publishing in terms of long-term profit.
The most important figure here is the royalty rate. With traditional publishers, the standard hovers somewhere around 10 percent, which can be negotiated for those whose work is proven to sell.
The road to self-publishing blows that up, as the typical royalty rate that can be expected to skyrocket 35 to 70 percent, even for newcomers.
Price and volume still matter of course, but those percentages don’t mean much if the book fails to find an audience. With the right marketing, self-publishing is just as likely to be successful. When applied to thousands of sales, the higher self-publishing royalty rate directly correlates with more profit for the writer.
Related: This is the future of book publishing
2. Writers keep creative control
Most authors see their work as a labor of love. They start their project with a clear creative vision in mind and work tirelessly to bring it to fruition. This can become a point of contention when working with publishers, as often publishers want certain aspects of the work to be adjusted to better meet their needs or market.
The average book going through a traditional publisher requires at least two towers extensive modifications. What ends up coming out on the other side of these revisions might not be the same book the writer originally intended to bring into the world.
Ultimately, the publisher often has the final say on these matters, as it is ultimately those who pay for the product. For those who don’t want to move creatively with their work, self-publishing eliminates the need to make creative compromises with a third party.
3. The deadlines have passed!
Deadlines may motivate some authors to work at a faster pace, but many prefer to work without the pressure of delivering by a certain date.
If you’ve agreed to work with a traditional publisher, you’ll almost certainly have a deadline. This is understandable as they have invested time and money in your idea, but it can create a stressful environment for the writer as missing the deadline can have negative financial or professional consequences.
The average time to write a book is around six months, but I interviewed guests for Author’s podcast published who wrote (and published) their books in as little as two weeks. Others that took up to four years, so your results may vary.
If you’re not sure how long your project might take to complete – and newcomers consistently underestimate this aspect – self-publishing gives you invaluable respite.
Related: More than money: 4 types of value found in a self-published book
4. The market has changed tone
The publishing industry today is very different than it was a few years ago.
In 2007, Amazon’s self-published books made up only 6% of their catalog. But in 2018, that figure catapulted to 92 percent. These books don’t just sit idle on the digital shelf. In 2019, authors who published work through Amazon replaced $ 300 million in total sales.
Success isn’t just about financial gain, either. Many independently published works have won critical and public acclaim. This trend reflects a massive shift in the industry, as tech and market savvy writers have realized that publishers aren’t as necessary as they once were, and can be successful with or without them. .
5. Writers get real-time feedback
For writers who prefer not to wait to see how their book sold or what people thought about it, self-publishing is a big step forward in terms of analysis.
Most traditional publishers only provide royalty sales reports twice a year and most of the rewards operate on an annual basis. This means that you won’t get a lot of information about receiving your book for a while after it’s been submitted and published.
Compared to self-publishing, it’s the pace of a snail. Real-time analytics with daily sales figures and user reviews are an integral part of the self-publishing process, especially with eBooks, so the writer knows exactly how their work is doing in the eyes of the public.
This allows for faster adaptations in marketing style, distribution strategy, and all of the other aspects of the publication that are important to create a hard-hitting impact from the start.
Related: Publish your entrepreneurial wisdom yourself with this guide
6. The authors retain all their option rights
A major difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing is that the latter guarantees that you retain all legal rights.
If your book is a huge hit, then having the rights to any TV or movie adaptation could potentially be a huge bonus for you. On the other hand, unknowingly handing over these rights to a publisher might sting bitterly, as it can mean the difference between receiving only $ 500 for the adaptation of your work or significantly more.
The same applies to all translations in foreign languages or in limited edition. With traditional publishing you will likely receive compensation if this happens, but with self-publishing you can negotiate directly with the interested party.
Self-publishing ultimately leaves the writer more control, which can be exploited for a deal that seems fair to both his financial needs and his creative vision.