Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why Independent?

I am embarking on what promises to be an exciting journey. Risky, too, but so is the alternative. Forget about extending my big toe and testing the waters. I am flinging my arms open and belly-flopping into the world of independent publishing. Belly flops are fun. They cause big splashes and waves. And heck yeah, sometimes they hurt, but it's a fun, achy, red kind of hurt.
So, independent publishing. In other words, self-publishing, but independent publishing sounds more distinguished. Sure, there's a stigma, but as more and more authors find success through independent publishing, they're the ones laughing. Ebooks have changed everything.
How did I get here, especially since I had publisher interest and a contract at the ready? This publishing company has very nice people. I would have been glad to work with them, and maybe I will at some point if my belly flops don't work out. Honestly, I'm not sure how I got here. All I know was it happened bit by bit, until I realized: "Hey, this self-publishing shtick just might be the best thing for me."
*** Let's look at royalties first. With independent publishing, I can set my own prices. I'm not limited to a publisher's price maximum. I also get to keep 60 percent to 70 percent of sales money. In most cases, the figure will be 70 percent, because the majority of sales are through Amazon's Kindle. With a typical publisher, I would have gotten 30 percent of net distribution. A friend broke down an example for me quite starkly.
Say my ebook sells for $5.99 on Amazon. Amazon takes 30 percent, or about $1.80 That leaves $4.19 (and that is assuming the publisher uses Kindle Direct, not Smashwords. Figure on another 15 percent with Smashwords.). If I go independent publishing, that entire $4.19 is mine. With the publisher, if I negotiated to 50 percent, I take about $2 (the 50 percent net is based on the figure after Amazon takes its cut). With 35 percent, I'd be making about $1.46 per sale.
$4.19 sure looks a lot better than $2 and $1.46 especially when multiplied by X number of sales a month. Plus I can control and adjust pricing as needed.
*** Now let's look at upfront investment. When you go the independent publishing route, you supply your own cover, formatting, editing, ISBN if necessary and a few odds and ends. That costs money, heck yeah. Paying someone to do your cover can set you back anywhere from $100 to $1,500. Editing is about the same but can go much higher in some cases. Formatting is a bit cheaper at $100 to $200, but that's still good money. Fortunately, I've met someone (another independently publishing author) who will help me with my book covers and formatting. In exchange, I'll help her with story ideas and editing. In the long term, the higher royalty rates should offset the short-term investments.
*** This is the big question I've been asking myself: What can this publisher (and any publisher, really) do for me that I can't do for myself? The answer is a bit of marketing. But how much? Many of the self-published ebooks I've looked at have higher sales figures than many publishers' books. With any publisher, I will still have to do a lot of marketing and promotion work. The burden will still be on me.
So here I go. The water's warm!


kthybren said...

Well, that certainly explains the appear of self-publishing. Thanks for the explanation, Kelly.
and best of luck with your endeavors. You certainly seem to be in good company

kthybren said...

hmm lets try this again. Thanks for the explanation as to why you decided to go the self-publishing route.. I know there are reputable publishers out there. But i can also understand the financial aspect of going it yourself. Best of luck