Since the explosive growth of self-publication a few years ago, many authors have one more thing to worry about. Should they choose a traditional big-name publication or should they choose to publish independently on places like Amazon?
That is a crucial consideration. But it’s nothing to lose your sleep over.
Like many other creative concerns, however, this question has no definitive answer. It’s all relative. The route you choose to follow depends on what you want out of the experience of writing the book. So ask yourself why you’re putting pen to paper in the first place.
Since we don’t know you personally, we’ll try to guess some of the common reasons why people choose to write books. And then we can compare how both of these forms of publications fare in each of those areas:
If you are a professional writer, the income from book sales is obviously one of your biggest concerns. If you write to earn, then you need to know the differences in the mechanisms of royalty distribution in both forms of publications.
Well, there is a difference. And it’s pretty massive. Big name publications take a massive share out of your earnings. What you’re left with, at the end of the day, is around 7 to 25 percent of the monthly royalty check. On the other hand, independent publication through Amazon can let you earn up to around 70 percent of the royalty revenue.
So, if royalty is your primary concern, the answer is pretty clear.
If you’re an artist writing for the sake of art, you probably worry about artistic integrity and how much of your work is truly and yours. If creative satisfaction is what you crave, total creative control is what you really need.
And that can only come with independent or self-publication. Big name publications are in it for the business. And the marriage between commercial and creative concerns is built on compromise and fraught with problems.
Self-publication gives you the control of the output and lets you deliver your book to your audience on your terms. And if you need someone to rein you in artistically, what you need is an editor, not a publisher.
Building a Personal Brand
Apart from being a source of creative pursuits, books can also be a commercial venture. Many of the professionals in various industries write books to reach their potential clients or establish themselves as the expert in their niche.
If that’s what you need, writing a quality book can only take you so far. You also need to exhaustively market the book to expand its reach. In that case, the choice between any of the two forms of publications is irrelevant. Even with big name publishers, you have to carry out all the marketing activities yourself. So it’s better to do it through self-publication.