Monday, October 27, 2008
Extremely good 2006 book needs an update
Peter Bowerman's The Well-Fed Self-Publisher makes a very strong case for self-publishing as opposed to going through the agony of trying to get published through a traditional publishing house. There's no doubt that you'll get published, you'll have more control over what is published, your books will be available for selling sooner, and you'll probably make more money.
His numbers and other arguments are very convincing, and he has lots of ideas for maximizing and multiplying the income streams from a writer's work.
Peter also does a good job of demolishing what he describes as Print-On-Demand (POD) publishing, which appears to be much more costly than Peter's method of self publishing -- actually paying a printer to produce a pile of books at one time, to be warehoused and shipped when ordered.
Peter's POD targets are companies such as AuthorHouse, which act as a publishing service for authors, but print books on demand to ship to customers.
Where I disagree with Peter is in his ignoring another class of self-publishing where an author becomes the publisher and uses a POD printer (such as Lightning Source) and does not use a third company for design and other services. With these companies you sacrifice control, spend more money, and take more time to publish.
With the direct-to-POD-printer scenario, the author/self publisher has all of the control and freedom that Peter enjoys with his method, but there is no investment in a stack of books that could become obsolete, soggy, mouse-nibbled or have no market.
There is a difference in cost and profits, of course, but the costs are still much lower than using a publishing service, and this is the path I plan to take with my books, and what I would recommend for a new book with unknown sales potential. If sales zoom, then I may follow Peter's principle.
I strongly recommend Peter's book for anyone who wants to self-publish through any channel, and I also recommend that Peter do an update so people don't improperly dismiss POD. There's more to POD than Author House, Lulu, iUniverse and Outskirts Press. Actually, if Peter used POD instead of having invested in thousands of books, it would be very easy to update his book.
Writers who want to self-publish with POD should buy Morris Rosenthal's Print-On-Demand Book Publishing to understand the process, and get Peter Bowerman's book for more help making money.