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Genre – Personal Development / Self-Help / Motivational
3 Pet Peeves of the Publishing Industry
by Paula Renaye
Author of Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation
The Gatekeepers. Today, for traditional publishing companies, it isn’t about who’s written the best book, it’s about who has the biggest list to promote from. It’s true they’re in the business of selling books, and having the potential buyers identified ahead of time is smart. However, it doesn’t automatically provide the best product to the consumer.
Just think about the big name and celebrity books you’ve read that were basically reworks of old material or books that were simply a lot of feel-good fluff. Did your life in any way change because you read that book? Did you learn anything at all that you are using in your life now? I hope so, but I doubt it, because that wasn’t the primary intent—it was about creating a product that would sell fast. It may create a logical business model, but it also contributes to the flood of mediocre books to wade through. Which brings up another pet peeve…
Self-Publishus Vomitus. Just because you can publish it doesn’t mean you should. Now, I have been a self-publisher since 1999 and am deeply grateful for the fabulous options available to authors these days, not to mention that the eBook evolution has been a godsend for me. However, I’ve also published some things I shouldn’t have—and can never take back.
Today, it is so easy to put words into a book format that anyone and everyone can instantly become a published author. For authors of high quality books shut out by traditional publishers because they don’t have 5-10,000 followers yet, that’s a really great thing. For a beginning writer whose mother and best friend are raving about his novel, it is a potentially reputation-ruining temptation. Speaking of double edged swords…
Returns. For anyone who sells print books through a distributor or directly to wholesalers and bookstores, returns are a fact of life—a very unpleasant one. The only solution I see for this is to move solely into digital. I’ve done that already with my mystery novels and it has been very successful. The self-help side is a bit different, particularly in my case where the book has workbook aspects. Still, the benefits are there, and with the first printing nearly sold out, I don’t yet know if there will be a reprint. The 180 unsalable books being returned to me—for which I paid shipping to the vendor, back to the distributor and now to me, not to mention they can’t generate income—is a financially significant loss.
The publishing industry is constantly changing and each facet—author, publisher, distributor, wholesaler and bookstore—is trying to adapt and survive. Sometimes it is mutually beneficial—sometimes it isn’t.
Yet, for all that annoys me about the publishing industry, there is far more that excites me. A coach once chided me for my dream of being a full time writer, explaining that books were nothing more than a resume to get a speaking gig or for coaching credibility. She said vehemently that the book industry was broken. I disagree. I say it’s broken open. There are challenges and not everyone who pens a book will become a star—nor should they. But those with the skill, savvy and determination to keep improving their craft and consistently deliver quality products that consumers want, well, the sky’s the limit!
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Paula Renaye is a life and relationship coach, speaker and eight-time award-winning author. Her award-winning self-help book, Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 and won the Independent Publisher IPPY Gold Medal for Self Help. The book is available worldwide in English, Spanish and Chinese. Writing as Paula Boyd, she is also the award-winning author of the Jolene Jackson Mystery Series. www.paulaboyd.com For more information, visit www.paularenaye.com