Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Brief talk on publishing models

As my day job is expanding, I've said goodbye to some of the things I've been doing over the last two years, including being part of a writing group.

In the early stages, I gave a talk on digital publishing, and I was thrilled when one of the members said it encouraged one of her family members to self-publish his own book. Here it is again.

Think beyond the traditional model of publishing. You don’t have to send your manuscript to agents, and if you’re lucky enough to be accepted, then wait to get a publishing contract. Now there is more than one way of getting your books read globally.
 Think of the following models of publishing
·                     Traditional model – manuscript to agent, then to publisher.
·                     Digital model – manuscript direct to a digital publisher, ebook and print both available online
·                     Self-publishing – you control the publishing of your book.

I’m a hybrid author. Hybrid authors are ones who have books with publishers and are self-published. I’ve been published for 6 years by digital publishers, and I’ve self-published several books. I’m going to talk about the advantages of digital publishing, and a brief discussion on the cons. Feel free to ask me any questions and if you want to know more, email me at

Digital publishing is publishing your books online, for downloading in various formats. EReaders were once a novelty, but now a lot of people have an eReader such as Kindle, or read on iPads, tablets and phones. Advantages include the books an eReader can store, and for people with poor eyesight, you can alter the size of the font.
·                     Global exposure – for instance South Korea is an expanding market. Do not ignore the American market.
·                     Niche genres get a wider audience. Whereas once they were ignored by mainstream publishers, now anything can be published. Examples of niche genres are my own, gay romance, or Viking sewing patterns (that was totally taken from another blog post).
·                     Shorter works can be published. One of my best-sellers is eight thousand words.
·                     Lead times from writing ‘the end’ to seeing your book in print is much shorter.
·                     Larger percentage of royalties. 10% traditional to 30-40% digital publishers, or 70% for Amazon self-publishing. Plus a steady income stream after publishing. My first books are still selling.
·                     The market is also changing. A large part of my income comes from translations and audiobooks.
·                     Sense of a global community with writers, readers and bloggers.
Readers are excited to find new books! There is nothing like a reader who reads one of your books, and then emails to say they’ve bought your entire backlist. One-click (on Amazon) is the best invention ever for authors.

“You’re not a real author. When are you going to write a ‘real’ book?” If I had a £1 for every time I have heard this I would be driving a Range Rover.
·                     There is a huge amount of snobbery from the publishing world and public to digital authors, although that is slowly changing as traditional authors realise there is money to be made in digital publishing.
·                     Books are not in bricks and mortar bookstores, especially niche genres. However, bookstores are folding. Our town went from three books stores to none in less than a year.
·                     The kudos from being traditionally published

Digital Publishers:
If we start with digital publishers. Initially they were small presses with a few authors, many designed to publish the owner’s books. This is how my publisher started. Now they sell over a million books a year, and have a publishing schedule into 2020 (I wrote this in 2016). There are also digital imprints at major publishers.
·         No need to have an agent. You can submit direct to the publisher
·         Publishers cover niche genres / shorter formats
·         Higher royalty percentage / steady income stream
·         Shorter lead time to publication
·         Professional editing, cover art and formatting
·         Contract with less restrictive terms than traditional publishers
·         Potentially more input in details like cover art.
·         Marketing and exposure (although the author is expected to market their own books)
·         Print, translations and audiobooks also possible
·         No returns as in traditional publishing
·         Wide range of online sales outlets, not just Amazon, but also household names like Waterstones / iTunes / Tescos.
·         Smaller presses less financially stable
·         Read the contract!
·         Some presses are more professional than others. Do your research.

·         More control over everything!
·         Quick lead time to publication
·         No contract restrictions
·         High royalties
·         New life for backlist / reverted titles
·         Must get it edited, formatted, cover art. Don’t skimp!

·         You have to be a micro-publisher, not just an author.
·         Have to do all your own marketing
·         Up front cost to get it produced
·         Less kudos

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