Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Is it important to have a publisher anymore?

Is it important to have a publisher?

There was a time not so long ago when a writer was nothing without a publisher and an agent. There was no real way of getting your book out there to the public without their support.

The self publishing industry was small and those that did self publish did it to give copies to friends and family. The costs were restrictive and the avenues for distribution were small. This has all changed.

When I first wrote the The Viking's Apprentice I had no intention of releasing it in any form. It was a book for my daughters and that was that. When they were old enough they could read it and hopefully enjoy the fact their dad wrote it.

I then decided to take the chance to try and get an agent and/or a publisher. I sent the required synopsis and those important three chapters and began the waiting the process. Some responses can come in quickly, some take up to a year. Some will never appear. At the time of writing this, coming up for 9 months since those letters went out, I am still awaiting a response from roughly 50% of the publishers/agents I contacted.

I sent the first letters out in August 2012 and began to get a steady trickle of replies by email and the occasional postal response. Always polite, always encouraging, some positive and some not. Within two weeks I had my first definite offer of a contract. The publisher  (no agent involved) wanted a 6 year deal for an ebook version and I would get 50% of the money they received for the book. Being a new author I was delighted, a publisher wants the book, they like it enough to back it. Then my wife asked a very simple question 'What do they do that you can't do yourself?'

This got me thinking, what exactly would they do that I could not achieve myself. So I called them and I emailed them and we started a discussion about how going with them would be easier for me and take the hassle out of publishing.
They went through one by one each thing they would do for me.
They would set up the book on Amazon, Ibook, nook, Lulu, kobo etc etc. All something you can do yourself with a bit of effort. That effort equates to over 70% royalties coming direct to the author (amazon ebook figure). Let's think about that. If I went with the publisher I would get 50% of the 70% so half what I would get going it alone.

My next question, how would they advertise my book? Simple answer, they wouldn't, not really. The larger publishing houses would advertise for new authors, but smaller houses wouldn't do much. The advertising plan they showed me I could do myself. Twitter, facebook, blogs, postcards etc. It's not expensive and it's not difficult. It takes time and if you have taken the time to write something you love, you will take the time to tell other people about it.

My final question to them was simple. What about paperbacks, actual print copies? Not something they do, there is not enough money in it anymore. Think about that for a minute..... Paper books would not make this publisher enough money to make it worthwhile. I checked some of their other authors and true enough they all were in ebooks but not in print. Some were doing very well and there was still no sign of a paperback.

So I looked in to it. If you want paperback versions it can be done for no up front costs with reputable companies with a good percentage share coming back to the author.

You are probably guessing that I went for self publishing in the end and indeed I did. The Viking's Apprentice is doing very well in ebook format in both amazon.co.uk and amazon.com. Yesterday the paperback was released with the help of createspace and went straight into the top 100 in it's genre in under 10 hours.

As traditional book shops die out (something that saddens me) the roll of the publisher become less and less important.You can do everything they can do at no cost to yourself with some effort and some research.  I used to go into Glasgow and go to Borders, Waterstones, the few wee independent book shops and loved walking around seeing all the books. Now there's only a small Waterstones left.

There is a great article on self publishing that everyone should read Self publishing is the future

The future of books is changing and if publishers and agents remain stuck in the ways of the past they could get left behind. More and more authors are seeing a chance to go it alone, to not be restricted by the view of one person at one agency. As a result some excellent work that would otherwise of gone unpublished is out there being enjoyed by readers all over the world.

My story as an author is in it's infancy, but by deciding to go it alone at least that story has begun. My book has received rave reviews from all over the world. I am delighted to say that every one of those reviews has been 5 stars on amazon, goodreads, blogs and anywhere else you can think of.

If you are looking to self publish and would like any advice (free of charge!) then contact me through the blog or any of the other avenues listed below. If you would like to buy a copy of the book in ebook or paperback (thank you in advance) and the links are below.

For the UK and European paperback follow the link to buy The Viking's Apprentice paperback

For the UK and European Ebook version follow this link to buy The Viking's Apprentice Kindle version

For USA and the rest of the world paperback follow this link to buy The Viking's Apprentice paperback

For USA and the rest of the world Ebook follow this link The Viking's Apprentice kindle version

If you want to contact me you can use any of these channels.

my website www.kevinmcleodauthor.com

my email kevinmcleodauthor@gmail.com

facebook www.facebook.com/thevikingsapprentice

Twitter @bannon1975

Goodreads Kevin McLeod's author page

In the next few weeks I hope to have some guest posts by some excellent self published authors. watch this space.

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