If you ask me do I know any published authors, I can safely say you are looking at one, without lying in the process. But I am yet to hold that title under the Publishing House umbrella, which means I will soon leave the self-publishing boat for metaphorical watercraft that arguably has a better captain.
Enter the traditional publishing.
But why am I even considering going through this process when we have Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing? After all, traditional publishing tends to be a pretty slow process, and it requires great patience from the author.
I have valid reasons for my decision, and this is a quick overview of them:
- The self-publishing route is more expensive than many people think
- Marketing knowledge is essential, and many authors don’t have it
- Publishing house handles the business while you relax
- Selling of the boook inevitalby raises tax questions
- Being under publishing house umbrella simply feels good
Before explaining every point, let me quickly describe the path I had with my book, officially called, Pussified: A sex change story I didn’t have the balls to tell.
About my book
I wrote my life story in 2020, during a period of about 8 months, and after discovering that, to my delight, you can be a self-publisher on a giant platform like Amazon, I did my best to get my written work checked for grammar and structure.
This was an emphasis for me since I am a native Croatian speaker and I wrote a book in English, but I was lucky to have an English professor – my dear friend – by my side.
So after that was done, and after I created a cover for myself (I am a graphic designer), I uploaded the manuscript to Amazon. Those were some happy times!
But now, two years later, I’m in the final stage of publishing my book with Pegasus Publishers, and people ask me, “Why?”.
Well, here is why this was a no-brainer for me. Let’s start with the first point.
The self-publishing route is more expensive than many people think
Even if you are lucky like me proofreading-wise (I mentioned my friend who checked the book), there is much more work that needs to be done in the pre-production process – and I mean a lot more.
I’m not saying Amazon is not an amazing and never-before-available opportunity for aspiring authors, but the fact is, a lot of unevenly formatted and poorly written material plagued with grammatical errors can be found in this digital library. Trust me on that.
Now, after going through almost all of the stages with Pegasus Publishers, I can tell you, from experience, how much different by book looks now. I’m not talking about content – this was not messed with as I (and I’m not bragging ) did a good job here – I am referring to the overall formatting of the book and the consistency it now possesses.
It looks professional, dots, commas, bolding and italic effects, as well as quotes are used properly, and bugs that always find a way to sneak in (It’s a book after all) are exterminated.
And who is, in the end, responsible for that? A person in the publishing company who is experienced and well trained to do this job – and who is a part of the team that has other people ready to double and triple-check everything just as efficiently.
Take it from me, if you are not in the business, you are certainly missing some important things, but that’s only because you didn’t know they are a part of such a process.
Don’t blame yourself for that, I didn’t blame myself, either. Just know there’s always something happening in the background, that you are not aware of.
In the right publishing house, you will receive suggestions, even rewritten versions of your own cover blurb, for example, and if something you wrote doesn’t make sense, you will be notified.
You will also have the opportunity to explain what you want to have on a cover and have your vision realized. They usually have their own designers, and they purchase selected Shutterstock images for this purpose.
So proofreading, formatting, graphic design services, Shutterstock license (or buying a single image), and the time you are spending on everything.
How much would that cost? I’m not about to calculate that but I am gonna ask: does traditional publishing sound a bit better now?
Let’s continue with point number two.
Are you a marketing expert? If not, this could spell trouble
I am a part of several Facebook groups that gather amateur and professional writers, and the question I often see revolves around marketing.
“Ok, I finished my book, but how do I make sure people see it and buy it?”
I cannot tell you how to promote your book, but I will tell you – and this will not surprise you – that it will cost you money to use Amazon’s advertising platform. Unfortunately, simply pushing the book on social media, especially from new accounts, rarely works to the author’s satisfaction.
However, I’m not saying you shouldn’t scheme up some good plan around your book, but it needs to be promotionally sound, and publishing houses are experienced here, as well.
Not only that many of them will send you complimentary copies of your book so you can have some physical versions handy, but most will even push your book to local libraries.
Can you reach Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Dublin yourself? If you are in my position, the answer is pretty much “no”.
Let’s move on to point number three.
Post and ghost – not a single worry in the world
Your book is your baby, I absolutely understand that, but even your own babies can drive you mad. The good news is, a publishing house can be your perfect babysitter that relieves much of the stress.
It takes time, I’ll admit it, but once you do your part, you just have to wait for them to get back to you with the updated manuscript, and they do everything why you are dealing with your own day-to-day activities.
The fourth point brings up a very important question.
How are you going to handle taxes?
I have my own sole-trader business in Croatia, and I know a few things about taxes and how brutal the handling of the paperwork can be.
Think about this – Amazon has many different markets, US, DE, IT, etc., so when you get all these receipts, different ones for different countries, you will, more than likely, have to file them separately for the ball-busting revenue service in your country. Reason? If a different revenue source!
I, personally, felt a relief when I found out I will receive only one payment, from one source – twice a year – no matter who buys my book from the independent publishing house I’m associated with.
Less tax work – I’ll take that any day of the week!
I will finish up with last but not least.
That prestige feeling I mentioned previously
I’m not gonna lie. I feel like a badass when I think about my book being embraced this way by the people “in the business”, and I didn’t even sell a single copy yet in Pegasus.
But my written work will soon enough, 2-3 months from now, have a “Preorder” status, and I will be happy to do my part with the promotion – especially because I know we published the best version, clean and polished.
I know what it will look like, and let me tell you, it will have many little awesome add-ons in it I never considered having in the Amazon version. I am prouder of it than ever, and I don’t regret going through all of this one bit.
If you wonder how I started this process, it was actually very simple. I had a text that was representing my book and I sent it to different publishers while uploading my manuscript (or example of it) at the same time.
Just remember, many publishing houses will probably not reach back for at least a few months.
So these are my words on this topic, and I hope I’ve been helpful to you, my fellow writers. I feel connected to you because we share the same passion, and I wish you nothing but success and fun while achieving that success.
My book can be found on Amazon here.