Pat Iyer's Blog

two women looking at a laptopWhen you tell people you know that you’re writing a book, you’re likely to get a lot of unasked-for opinions. They may ask you if you plan on independent publishing or approaching a traditional publisher.

Some will offer their views about traditional publishing.

  • “It’s impossible to find an agent these days.”
  • “Publishing houses are folding left and right.”
  • “Even if you get a publisher, they won’t do a thing to promote your book.”

On the other side of the argument, people may say:

  • “Independent publishing is for people without talent.”
  • “Do you know how many books are self-published? They’ll never find yours.”
  • “You have to be a genius at marketing to make it in independent publishing.”

The problem with all of these arguments is that there’s a little bit of truth in each of them.

It’s more difficult than it used to be to find an agent. Publishing houses in many cases are folding or consolidating. Publishers expect authors to do a lot of marketing.

Many people who lack talent self-publish. Many, many books are independently published. You do need some ability to market or the resources to hire someone who does.

Independent Publishing Can Work for You

These opinionated people will rarely mention the many good reasons to self-publish.

1. You have the freedom to choose what you want to write about. Traditional publishers may object to dearly-held aspects of your book. (I will note that sometimes they’re right to do so, but this isn’t universally true.)

2. You can set your own prices for both print and ebook versions. $20 for an ebook? It happens in the traditional world of publishing.

3. You can write and publish according to your own schedule. In traditional publishing, even if you get a contract, it will take at least a year and often longer for your work to be published.

4. You will get a larger percentage of the sale than you do in traditional publishing. You will get an average of 10-12% of the wholesale price of a book from a traditional publisher. You will get 90% of the retail price of an independently published book.

I know. I have written or edited over 46 books, and have worked with both systems.

woman shouting into megaphone

What Factors Will Help Make You Successful

1. You have a platform. This helps more in non-fiction writing than fiction. Say, you’re an acknowledged expert in your field. You have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and professional venues in your field. You have a list of followers and you regularly build it.

2. You can promote a book through speaking engagements, consulting, podcasting, and other forms of marketing.

3. You don’t mind asking people for favors. More important, you don’t mind doing favors for people. It’s a quid pro quo world out there.

4. Do favors for people. Review books in your field, feature them in your newsletter or blog. Don’t ask for favors until you have proven yourself a cheerful giver.

5. You’re self-directed. No one has to tell you it’s time to tweet about your book. You make and follow schedules.

6. You have the time to market your work. Five minutes a day won’t cut it. Give it time, imagination, and creativity.

7. You don’t have a bias against independent publishing. Go back to the beginning of this post. Read it again. Do you have a positive attitude? If so, you’re ready to investigate further.

Read about independent publishing, especially the stories of people who have succeeded. Think about whether you believe you could be one of them. If so, pursue your dream.

Would you like a free consult on what might be the best path for you? Use this link to set up a time for us to talk.