By self-publishing your own Christian book, you can keep control of all aspects of your writing. Trade publishers are notorious for denying authors involvement in factors such as: wording and editorial decisions, title and book cover selection, and promotional decisions.
When it comes to editorial decisions, a large trade publisher may delete large sections of the book or change the wording despite the author's disapproval. They may give the book a title they think will help sell the book, but that seems unsuitable to the author. They may use a stock photo for the cover of the book instead of an original photograph or artwork. They may do very little book promotion since books by new authors tend to get lost in the shuffle. Although they will probably get your book into bookstores, they may fail to approach other sales outlets. It is also a fact that large publishers will generally take little interest in your book. As the author, the person who really cares about your book, you can do a better job if you really set your mind to it.
(2) You May Be Unable to Get Your Manuscript Considered
It may be difficult for you to get a publisher to even consider your manuscript. Since most publishers receive huge quantities of unsolicited manuscripts for consideration each day, they are likely to either return your submission unopened or to simply throw it on their slush pile for disposal. Unless you are a television or movie celebrity, a big politician, or another easily recognizable person, you will most likely have little chance of attracting a publisher. Many publishers have an existing stable of authors and only accept new authors through agents.
(3) You Can Get Your Book Published More Quickly
If you feel your message is urgent or that you will miss your market, you may not want to wait for a big publisher to get your message into print. Most bigger publishers usually work on an 18-month production schedule which doesn't even begin until after contract negotiations and signing are complete. Actual publication of your work could actually be two to three years in the future. You may not want to waste valuable time and money submitting your manuscript around to see if a publication house is interested in publishing it. Consideration of manuscripts can take a long time and getting the book into actual print can take much longer.
Another factor is that bookstores are likely to carry the first book on a new or popular subject, but less likely to carry a later book on the same subject, even if the later book is better. This happens because the store buyer will probably take a pass on the newer book since the buyer already has the subject covered.
(4) You Will Find That Self-Publishing Is Good Business
Royalties you receive on your book from a trade publisher will probably amount to only 6% to 15% of net but you can earn 35% or more if you self-publish. Basically, a large publisher will get your books into bookstores, but brick and mortor stores aren't the only places to sell. In fact, some self-publishers aim directly for Amazon.com and other online retailers to get their books out before the public instead of relying on actual bookstores. See Aaron Shepard's book, Aiming for Amazon, to learn more. For updates and more resources, visit Aaron Shephard's publishing page at www.newselfpublishing.com. Of course, there are many other places to sell your books in accordance with your subject matter. There will also be more tax breaks for you if you go the author/independent publisher route rather than just the author
(5) You Will Learn The Industry
By self-publishing you will gain a better understanding of independent publishing. You will not only begin to think and act like a publisher, but as you thrust yourself completely into your efforts to produce, market, and promote your work, you will learn a lot about the intricacies of the trade. You have a lot of knowedge to gain from becoming an independent publisher.
(6) You Will Gain More Confidence and Self-Esteem
By independent publishing, you will become proud that you have done more that just write a book, you have actually published it yourself. Instead of pleading with other publishers to consider your manuscript, and then if you do get a publisher, bending to their will in regard to a contract, to aspects of editorial changes, to the visual design of the interior and exterior, to marketing and promotion, and so forth, you can go forward using your own talents, but with the help of professionals if needed, to write, produce, and market your own Christian book. You will be glad you have taken the reins into your own hands and published a product of yourself, your book, according to your own expectations and wishes.
(7) You May Have to Self-Publish
Because there are more unsolicited manuscripts submitted for consideration than can be read by the big guys, you may be forced to independently publish your book. After my first manuscript had been submitted to every publisher I could think of and rejected, Dr. Terry Miethe, the author of the foreword to that book, advised me to self-publish. I took his advice and I'm glad I did. That book, A Personal Grief & A Reasonable Faith, was reviewed by Booklist, among others, and was the winner of a Midwest Book Achievement merit award in the category of Best Book Cover Design.
Next week my blog will be, "Should You Take the Challenge to Self-Publish?" Although there are many advantages to self-publishing, you need to be cautioned that independent publishing is not for everyone, so my next blog will focus on some of the reasons.
Are you a self-publisher? Share your story here!