Today, on the blog, I’m featuring a guest post by author Kimberly Castillo. Kimberly has recently self published a book called The Convenience of Lies, a story of friendship, mystery, crime, sex and betrayal. Kimberly is a strong believer in self-publishing, and her post is below.
By the way, before we get to Kimberly’s post, I’d like to say that I also believe in self-publishing for some authors. Before publishing Living by Ear with Booktrope, I self-published it, and it was a very good experience for me. My biggest problem with self-publishing was with marketing, but Kimberly seems to be doing a great job of that on her own. Thank you, Kimberly, and congratulations! I look forward to reading The Convenience of Lies.
Self-Publishing is the Future
Two separate small publishers offered me contracts to publish The Convenience of Lies. I turned both of them down because I didn’t like the terms they were offering. For both contracts I would receive minimal royalties (less than $0.25/copy sold), would be required to do all of my own publicity, and I would have to sign away the rights to my book. One publisher even required me to pay my own editor! At that point, it seemed like all the publishers were really providing for me was cover art and prestige, and for a very high price.
To be honest, I didn’t want to sell myself out like this. The Convenience of Lies is a project I started 10 years ago and I have truly invested my heart, time, money, and soul. While I was shopping my book around the traditional publishing world, it fell into the hands of an editorial reviewer, who gave me a glowing review of my work. Not only that, but my mom is a high school English teacher and she’s had boys in her class who don’t like to read complete it in one night, by choice. I was not about to let a traditional publisher take advantage of my creation.
At the same time as I was querying publishers, I was also researching self-publishing. I discovered that I could self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace and receive royalties of over $5.00/copy, which is more than a 20x increase from traditional publishing. Also, CreateSpace has a cover creator tool that I could use to generate the cover, and has a print on demand option. Meaning, when someone orders my book from Amazon, CreateSpace prints it, takes their cut of the profit, and sends me the royalties. There is no up-front cost for either party.
Not only is self-publishing arguably a better business decision, due to the internet it is now the choice of the future. We are in an era where we don’t need a publisher to reach our audience. The internet has cut out the middle man and made it so that artists can reach their audience directly. This applies not only to publishing your book, but also to promoting your book. Between tumblr, twitter, facebook, reddit, and the blogosphere, you can reach out directly to readers as I am doing now. Keep in mind that many traditional publishers require authors to do this promotional work. So, let me ask you, what is that traditional publisher really doing for its authors?
As ironic as it is for me to say as an author, the world of traditional publishing is ending. Artists can now affordably create professional works and also reach their audience as never before. Not only that (and a real cincher) the author can also keep possession of the rights to their works through self-publishing. The world of traditional publishing is simply taking too much from authors and not giving them enough in return. The internet has cut out the middle man with the connections and has given you direct access to those connections. As they say, it is simply up to you to seize this opportunity.
I’ve been hearing this more and more. Great post and food for thought when I complete my own work.
I have been hearing this a lot too. Recently I joined wattpad and I got to wondering, with so many free books out there, will that mean that book sales will eventually also fall by the wayside? I think the answer is no and I think we will see a hybrid of self-pub and traditional pub somewhere down the line.
Right now the biggest thing I think publishers offer is their name – a vetting process that readers know they are investing in a book that at least meets a certain level of quality (where as a book bought randomly on amazon or read on wattpad, could be utter drek) That being said, book bloggers have become increasingly important to readers because they are helping out in the vetting process.
What I could easily see occurring is publishers meeting writers in the middle (allowing more books to be published each year on the promise that writers carry their own expenses for the most part as they do in self-publishing in exchange for better royalties) but the publishing companies coming in to provide that vetting and maybe hiring/building book blog communities to promise readers the same quality they’ve come to expect from a book bearing one of the big publisher’s imprints.
A girl can dream, right?
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Thanks, DeAnna! I have definitely seen some really interesting new models in publishing recently. Both Booktrope (my publisher) and SheWrites press are hybrids that offer services similar to what you mention. A while back, my amazing literary agent, April Eberhardt, contributed this guest post to my blog about the way the publishing world is changing. Best of luck with your writing and publishing!