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Heeelllooo, Everybody, and welcome to
THE PUBLISHING WORLD GAMESHOW
The Gameshow where contestants pick their publishing path.
Today’s contestant hails from the north woods of California. Please welcome…
“Oh, oh, I’ve always wanted to be on this show! Big fan, Big fan!!!”
Thank you Ms. Writer… and now for the host of the show, she's the Queen of Choice, the Mantra of Muse it’s…
Thank you, thank you, you’re too kind, all of you! Now, let’s get right to it shall we? Now Ima, you know the rules: We have two publishing options hidden behind these curtains. I’ll ask questions and based on their answers you pick the option that best works for you. If you pick the right one you could win this –
A Published Book!
Enjoy the cozy satisfaction of being in print as your book is released into the world. Feel the luxury of your own name on the front cover, and your own words inside. But wait, there’ s more! How about a fabulous…
Watch with awe when someone buys your book and leaves a raving review. Or someone who connects with your work wants you to know! All this could be yours and maybe some money, if you pick the right publishing option on THE PUBLISHING WORLD GAMESHOW!*
*Prize not guaranteed
“Oh, Wow, wow, wow! That would be my dream!”
Yes, that’s wonderful Ima, now let’s get right to it shall we? But first a word from our sponsor...
And we’re back! So let’s get right to it shall we? Bob, tell us about the options.
Right-o Dee! With a team of professionals who’ll create the book for you - if they like your writing, behind curtain #1 is Traditional Publishing!
Option #1: Hello, Ms. Writer! I’m eager to see what you’ve written!
And behind curtain #2, for the truly entrepreneurial soulmate, it’s... Self-Publish Route!
Option #2: Selfie moment! Hiya Writer! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
“Oh, oh, both options sound soooo good! Which one will I choose?"
Well, you don’t have to choose right away, let’s look at what each option has to offer. We don’t have a lot of blog space, so let’s get right to it shall we? Question number one - How much does your path cost?
Option #1: Oh, it doesn’t cost you a thing to publish with me! Except maybe the cost to have internet, a stamp or 50 (depending on submission guidelines). And you probably won’t get far without taking classes and workshops – some need it more than others – and you should seriously consider joining a few writers organizations. Oh, yes, and read a boatload of recently published books in your genre – but you were going to buy those books anyway, right?
Please Traditional Publishing, we need an answer.
Oh, sorry… Just put less than $10.
Thank You. Now, Self-Publishing?
Option #2: First of all, I’m changing my name. Call me Indie.
Ok, er, Indie, now what’s your answer to the question?
Option #2: Um, could you repeat the question?
Question number one - How much does your path cost?
Option #2: mmphmmmshmmm.
What was that? Speak up! Quit mumbling!
Option #2: *sigh* I said, sometimes thousands of dollars. But not always! There are ways to publish that cost a lot less than that… it’s just that quality editors, and if you need an illustrator you’ve got to pay for that, and there are printing costs or you can just publish digitally… it can add up is all I’m saying.
“Wow, when you put it like that, I’m definitely leaning toward Traditional right now.”
OK, but don’t pick either option just yet. We have a lot more categories to cover. But let’s look at the scoreboard:
The next category is Money. Question number two: How much Money will Ms. Writer make if she picks you?
Option #1: Weeelll, we’ll negotiate all that in the contract.
An answer please.
Option #1: You might get a small advance, and then if your book sells enough to ‘earn out the advance’ then you’ll get royalties – doesn’t that sound great?
“Um, how big are the royalties?”
Option #1: Weeelll, maybe 15%, sometimes less. And of course you split the money with an illustrator if your book needs one. Oh, and your agent gets a cut, too - if you have one.
“So, I might get a dollar per book?”
Option #1: If you’re lucky. Probably closer to 25 to 50 cents.
There you have it, thank you Traditional. And how much money will Ima make with your path, Sel- I mean Indie?
Option #2: Oh, honey, you’re going to love this! With me, you make up to 70% of your sales! So that book you’d be making 50 cents on over there? You could make over $10 when you pick me!
“Oh, oh, oh! Indie Publishing Route suddenly looks like a whole lot better option!”
Yes, it sure does! Let’s look at the scoreboard now:
OK, we have more categories to cover, so let’s get right to it shall we? Question number three – How long will it take to get published?
Option #1: Weeelll, realistically, it could take years. You have to query publishers which could take years, and even if one of us accepts your work, it usually takes 2 years to get published after that.
Option #2: Hee, hee, I’ve got this one! You can publish as soon as you want! Thirty days, or sooner! Whenever you’re ready just push the publishing button. Not ready that soon? No problem! You set the date!
“Wow, yes, Indie certainly has a more attractive timeline.”
Great! Question number four – How good a quality will the published book be?
Option #1: *Snort*, better than Indie’s.
Option #2: Ok, that’s a myth. Yes, self-publishing has had a reputation of poor quality products. But that is changing and you CAN find a good quality product. You just have to do your research.
Hmm, it seems we’ve hit a snag. Which option is the better choice?
“Gee, it seems that both are good options, Dee. I’ve noticed the binding and paper of some traditionally published books are more easily torn these days. But the words on indie-published books sometimes fade way too quickly.”
Well, while Ima Writer thinks about this, let’s have another word from our sponsor. Bob?
Right-o, Dee Side!
That’s what we’re trying to find out on THE PUBLISHING WORLD GAMESHOW!
And now, back to you, Dee!
Thank you, Bob. Now when we left the scoreboard was 2-1
And Ima Writer was determining which option had a better quality product. Both seem to be pretty equal, but have you made a choice, Ima?
And which option did you pick?
“I’m going to go with Traditional.”
Oookay! We still have three more categories, so let’s get right to it, shall we? Question number five is all about the bad guys – what are the “vipers” in your industry?
Option #1: Well, we don’t really like to talk about that.
No one does, Traditional. No one does.
Option #2: Well, I’m not ashamed. Listen, Ima, there are a lot of scammy snake-oils in the business. We call them Vanity Publishing. They’ll promise you the moon and take your money instead. Don’t sign any contract that seems too good to be true. It’s your money you’re forking out, so know what services you’re getting for it. In fact, that's why I changed my name to Indie - I'm a professional, not some self-serving publishing scam.
Thank you Indie. Now, Traditional? What vipers will Ms. Writer find on your path?
Option #1: OK, fine. Well, we’ve had a few scandals lately. Some shady Agents and Publishers who seemed so legit and fooled even reputable organizations for a while. But in the end, they were found out and the rest of the traditional publishing world rallied around the victims. So you’re not alone!
Wow, another hard one! Which one will you choose, Ima?
“Do I have to choose?”
Yes. That’s how the game works.
“OK, then I choose Indie. Both seem to have vipers as you call them, I like how the ones on Indie’s side seem more easy to spot.”
Well, with only two more categories to go Option #2 is in the lead:
Question number six - How much marketing will Ms. Writer have to do?
Option #1: More than you think. Most publishers do have a marketing department, but even the big ones tend to prioritize their authors. The best-sellers get the best-seller treatment, and the rest get a lot less. But we’ll work all that out in the contract. If we like your book, we’ll publish it, isn’t that enough?
Thank you, Traditional, I’d say that’s quite enough. Option #2, what’s your answer?
Option #2: Well, you know, you really are going to have to do everything. If you want bookmarks or stickers, you’ll have to buy them and hand them out. You’ll have to talk to book sellers and work out deals with them yourself. Any kind of marketing, really, you’re going to have to plan and execute yourself – or hire a publicist to do it for you.
“Well, I’d say this is a no-brainer, here. Traditional publishing offers me at least some marketing. I’m going with Option #1.”
And now the last question, the tie breaker is: How much control will Ms. Writer have over the publishing process?
Option #1: Can you define “control” please?
Sure. Control includes having a say in the illustrations, publishing date, and the look of the final product.
Option #1: Oh. You probably won’t get any of that.
Interesting. You say that Ms. Writer won’t have a say in any of that?
Option #1: No, probably not. Editors decide all those things, and Ms. Writer may not even know about them until after everything is set.
Very interesting. And what about Option #2?
Option #2: Oh, you’ve got control of EVERYTHING! You choose the illustrations, what the product looks, like, when it’s published… Everything!
Well, then! This one obviously goes to Indie. Which means –
“Um, Ms. Dee?”
“I choose Traditional.”
“You see, I don’t have the skills to pick good illustrations. I wouldn’t know if I’ve created a quality product. Heck, I wouldn’t even know if my publishing date was a good one! Traditional publishers offer me all of those things in one neat package without me needing to do the research and pay for a quality team of experts. All I need to research is my local bookstore for a publisher that already sells great quality books, and trust them to create a final product I will be proud of. So, Indie Publishing might work for some other Writer, but for this Ima, Traditional is the way to go.”
Well, folks, that’s all the time we have today. Join us next time with our contestant Iro D. Novel and see which publishing path HE will pick on THE PUBLISHING WORLD GAMESHOW!
*Wild, WILD Applause*
(PS: There probably won’t be a next time.)
(PPS: The Insecure Writers Support Group didn't really "sponsor" this post per se, but the optional question this month did spark this post into existence. I hope you'll check out all the other bloggers in this awesome community, and maybe join yourself!)
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)