Self Publishing: The Reasons
post # 412 — August 2, 2007 — a Strategy and the Fat Smoker post
As I have previously reported on this blog, I am going to be self-publishing my new book STRATEGY AND THE FAT SMOKER, an integrated collection of the articles I have written over the past two years or so.
The decision to self-publish always raises questions among friends, and they often ask why I have decided to go this route. They worry — on my behalf — that people might get the wrong idea that regular book publishers no longer want to publish my books. I have no idea if the risk of that is real, but itâ€™s a risk Iâ€™m prepared to take.
Ask any business author who has published a book what the experience was like: for the vast majority, the horror stories are endless.
Basically, publishers donâ€™t actually add any value. Yes, they can edit a manuscript and get a book typeset, but both of those things are freely available as stand-alone services to anyone.
Publishers, like record companies, would be incredibly valuable if they marketed your book for you — most authors can use all the marketing help they can get. But just like the record business, the truth is that publishers donâ€™t do any marketing for you unless youâ€™re already a star. Since so few books succeed, itâ€™s not worth them spending anything on an individual book: they put a portfolio of product out there and wait to see what succeeds.
So, as every author knows, you have to do our own marketing: hire your own PR at your own expense, etc.
In the old days, the publishers (again, like the record companies) could get away with this because they controlled access to distribution — your book would not be stocked in the big chainstores unless it was published by a â€œnameâ€ house.
That may still be true, but today you can get your book easily listed on Amazon, Barnes &Noble.com and 1800CEOREAD, and reach a high percentage of business book buyers. I donâ€™t know the percentages, but apart from airports, I donâ€™t know many business-book buyers who cruise bookstores. And — hereâ€™s my point — my publisher never got my books into airports anyway.
(BTW, Iâ€™m not saying they were worse than anyone else — Iâ€™m saying they were no better.)
So, the adventure begins. Iâ€™ve been learning a lot about self-publishing, and in future blogposts Iâ€™ll tell you about some of the things Iâ€™ve learned (and who Iâ€™ve learned it from.)
Have any of you been down this self-publishing path?