Publishing Part 4: DIY Publishing

I’m continuing with my notes from the writing workshop I attended last weekend.

Part 1: The Fifth Dimension – Marketing
Part 2: Dipping Your Toe Into the ‘E’ Pool; E-Books 101
Part 3: Get Into The House (Finding an agent)
Part 4 (today): DIY Publishing – Is It For You?
Part 5: My own insights into marketing: social networking and blogging

DIY Publishing – Is It For You?

This session was hosted – okay, it doesn’t matter who hosted it.  The answer is a resounding NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Why am I so vehement about this?  Because DIY publishing often takes the form of vanity publishing.  Basically, you’re paying someone to publish your book.  And that’s a huge mistake – the publisher should NEVER require money from you.  The guy running this session paid $4000 to publish his book.  All he has to do is sell 400 copies, and he’ll get his money back!

Not to be picking on this guy, but:

  1. Most self-published/POD books sell less than 200 copies – and most of those sales come from family and friends, especially if you don’t have a marketing platform.
  2. His 35k-word book is selling on Amazon for $24.  That’s a lot for a book by an unknown author.  Hell, that’s a lot for a full-length novel by a well-known author.
  3. Even if the publisher divides the author’s investment in two lump payments, that’s a lot of money to have to pony up (and yes, I realize self-published authors have to front the costs for editing, cover design, printing, etc., but at least they keep control of it all).

Statistically, he’s not going to see a return on his investment – his publisher is.

On the positive side, we had a nice discussion about the value of sites like Preditors and Editors, which reviews publishers.  And using Google to research a company before going with them.

It all comes down to common sense – does it seem too good to be true? Are there a lot of caveats in the deal? If so, RUN!

What are you experiences with vanity/DIY publishing? Any horror or success stories to share?

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