|No hidden meaning intended with this picture, I just thought it was funny. :)|
I have many friends who have embarked in the world of self-publishing. Many have had great success with it, in fact. As they watched me through the disastrous situation with my former agent, they've begun trying to lure me to the "other side."
Despite the triumphs of my friends, I am still refusing to go that route and before I drown under the cries of "join us, join ussss!" (Sorry, friends, I gotta tease ya a bit.) I feel compelled to state my personal case. Here I go, in no particular order.
1.) Self-pubbing the "Right way" costs money. Yeah, anyone can throw their work up on Smashwords and other sites, but the most successful self-pubbed authors hire editors, cover artists, and pay for various forms of promotion. My funds are limited in that capacity. Speaking of promotion.
2.) All authors, whether commercial or self- pubbed, have to spend a lot of time and effort in online promotion. But I've noticed that the best self-pubbers are almost superhuman in their web presence. ::cough Jamie DeBree::cough Between my job, my family, and my writing/ editing schedule, it's enough for me to keep up with the blog/ twitter/ facebook. Still, I think I'm doing fairly well.
3.) Security. All respected authors have specific lines that the reader trusts to get what they expect from. i.e. unknown authors become an insta-buy for faithful readers of specific imprints. I would feel far more confident and honored for my work to be among a successful imprint.
4.) I WANT AN EDITOR!!!! A good editor supports your work and is behind you 100% ....but she won't let you go out in public with your fly unzipped, figuratively speaking. ;) There is so much I don't know about the industry and I would feel much more comfortable for an expert's advice on keeping my readers happy.
5.) I want a team behind me. Besides an editor, commercial publishers have marketing/ publicity departments. They do a bunch of mathematical calculations and secret magic ceremonies to determine the most profitable circumstances for your book release. Like, X-genres sell best in the fall, X types of titles are trending...or X author has a new release that month so let's do a different month so she won't overshadow you. How cool is that?
6.) I want a profitable cover. Yes, I've seen some really bitchin' covers in self-pubbed books, but a publisher's art department has even more resources. They have their own magic ceremonies to determine what cover will attract readers. Bold colors or pastels? Embossed or flat font? Topless guy (mmmm) or embracing couple?
7.) A GOOD agent would be a godsend. I know jack about negotiating contracts, subsidiary rights, foreign sales, or when it would be appropriate to approach the editor about a new project. And hopefully my agent would help me get my manuscript in its best shape before the editor sees it.
Yes, self-published authors get to keep the majority of their profits, but for me, the benefits of commercial publishing I listed above are well worth the reduction of my royalties.