People always think they have to choose between self publishing and traditional publishing. What saddens me is that over 50% of the time people choose to settle for self publishing after receiving rejection after rejection when trying to pitch their book to a traditional publisher and/or distributor. This saddens me on 2 levels; firstly because I don’t see self publishing as settling for second best but actually I prefer it as a) there is no rejection, b) it has higher financial returns and c) it allows you to have complete control of your book and the whole publishing process. What people always seem to forget is that you don’t actually need to make the choice but self publishing is a viable way to get picked up by a traditional publisher and/or distributor.
Now that might sound strange as why would one area of publishing seemingly in competition to the only other option look at that publishing option to source prospective authors? The answer is really easy it is less work for traditional publishers as they can already see the results so reduce the risk of their financial investment by jumping straight to the profits. The average person who pitches a book to a traditional publisher submits a manuscript. While this is a standard procedure page after page of plain text is not only boring to read but looks like all the other manuscripts submitted on the same day as yours and as such you pitch gets lost in the pile. You receive a standard rejection letter not because there was necessarily anything wrong with your book but because they didn’t even have time to read it as it didn’t stand out from all the others.
Self publishing your book first is a perfect back end into the traditional publishing industry as your book stands out like a black sheep. Instead of a manuscript they see a finished product so they know exactly how the book will look. You don’t only send a manuscript but you send one with appropriate illustrations, designed to look like an actual book, possibly already registered to give you credibility and even if only a sample copy already printed so they don’t need to invisage how the final product will look. All that is left for the publisher/distributor to do is the distribution and marketing and as that is where the money is to be made. As you have already done the hard work if they like your title they will jump at the opportunity to work with you. Better yet they are much more likely to like your title if they can already see it has been brought to life rather than picturing how they would have to do that for you.
Shan Joseph, author of ‘Colour Worms’ a 3D illustrated young children’s book to teach children colours is a perfect example of this. While it was not necessarily his intention to traditionally publish in 3 easy steps he got offered a traditional distribution contract he wasn’t even looking for. I bet you want to know what the steps are so you can do it yourself. Well since this is a case study I am actually going to share them with you.
Step 1 – Self Publish your book – eg. write, illustrate & print a copy so you know exactly how you want your book to look.
Step 2 – Approach a Self Publisher to take your book to the next level – eg. edit your writing, improve your design, check the legally of your book to make your book all round more professional and then professionally print and distribute your book so you have a higher quality product that reaches a larger audience so step 3 comes naturally.
Step 3 – Wait for a Traditional Publisher to find you – notice I don’t say pitch to one, pitches more often than not end in rejection but if you wait for a traditional publisher to approach you suddenly they don’t have control of whether they accept or reject you but you get to make the decision of whether you accept or reject their offer – an interesting turn of the tables.
And so that is exactly what Shan did. He did enough work himself that we were very excited to work on his book to get it to the next level and into bookstores Australia wide and within 6 months of distribution his title had already been picked up by a traditional distributor.Of course the downside is they may want changes you may not agree with and your profit margin is significantly reduced, which are usual with traditional publishing (everything you have already done being changed to what they would have done) but the good news is he never would have got this opportunity had he not done this work first and have a finished product that they could see it to invest in. In short he may have had to reduce his profit per sale but with the ability to distribute on a larger basis it is an opportunity he would have been crazy to turn down.
To purchase Shan’s current book click here
For more information on using The Publishing Queen’s services just like Shan did click here
To read Shan’s testimonial of the experience see below:
I have always wanted to write a short Children’s Book, for me, the biggest hurdle was the actual publishing and printing of the book. For a long time that had daunted me until one day I decided to take the plunge and see how far I could go. Initially to be honest I found it very difficult to get any sort of information. When asking for quotes from printers, I would generally get a very brief reply with hardly any explanation, some printers were generous enough to lend me a hand but for the most part of it, they seemed to think that I was just wasting their time.
I guess what was a blessing for me was when I bumped into Kylee. She was doing a presentation at a nearby library and a few friends encouraged me to go. Feeling quite defeated, I dragged myself to the presentation and was pleasantly surprised when Kylee started going through the book process in a very down to earth non-threatening approach.
After briefly showing her some prototypes of my book, I booked in a session with her to discuss it more in depth. My first session was great, I had a million questions, and she helped me lay out a book plan in easy steps to help me achieve the goal of getting my book published.
I had about 1 million more stupid questions, and Kylee answered them all, she really made me feel comfortable in asking any questions, and always explained things a few times if needed. After multiple mistakes on my part, and even more questions my book was done. But not only was the book done, I have actually learned quite a great deal through Kylee and in future how to approach other books.
My book fell into the hands of a publisher, and then picked up interest which led me to getting a publishing deal. A finished product definitely gave them an idea about what the finished product would look like, however another factor was, that the skills and knowledge I had learnt through Kylee and the process, also allowed me to speak to them in professional manner, understanding concepts which strengthened their willingness to invest in my as an author.
Overall, I am really grateful for Kylee helping me along the way in this part of my publishing journey, and making the process as painless as possible!