Greetings all and Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate!
My gift to you all – some hard and fast advice: If you are an indie author wondering whether you should go the self-publishing route or pay a small press to cover the printing cost/cover design process, think again. Although these presses might even offer to publish your manuscript for free once you pay an editing fee, there is a hidden second cost: they will have complete control over your book’s Amazon page, meaning they decide when (or when not) to provide giveaways and price reductions to draw in new readers and, perhaps most importantly, they are the only ones to see the actual sales and royalties generated through Amazon.
If you’re “lucky” like I was, you might even never see any of those royalties, to which many presses will use the excuse, “Your book didn’t sell enough to generate royalties.” Put simply, they are taking 100% of your profits rather than whatever cut they agreed upon. While self-publishing might seem like the amateur way to go because “everyone can do it”, the fact remains that although anyone with Internet access and an Amazon account can publish to Kindle Direct Publishing, not every book will see many or even any sales. It’s all about knowing how to promote your book which, unless you can land a deal with one of the Big Five (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster), you are just as likely to generate as many sales yourself as any small press could accomplish for you. Rather than bank on the possibility that one of these five will pick up your work, better start querying agencies specific to your genre to see how they can get your foot in the door with big-name publishing houses. Here are a few to begin!
So say you decide to skip the agent querying process and self-publish – where to begin on the marketing journey? Well, here is just one starting point.
Bottom line: Always look a gift horse in its mouth. Any small/independent press offering you a deal on the contingency that you pay for any aspect of their service is what’s called a vanity press and to be avoided at all costs. Again, their covering print/distribution costs won’t seem like such a coo if you market your book well enough to make back that money in spades.
You’ve got this!
P.S. One week remaining to order a free gift copy of science fiction debut Apex Five. Please DM on Twitter @authorsarahkatz for your gift!