Self-publish or small press
by D.A. & M.P. Wearmouth
After completing a novel the first thing anyone will ask is “are you published.” Their inference that ‘published’ is generally accepted as an industry recognised validation of your work, and that it will be appealing to a market of readers.
The changes and evolution in the publishing world are well documented but fundamentally can be traced back to the ebook. A reader can now download a book onto a device in seconds from an online store removing layers of cost to the selling price of a book. Furthermore using KDP, anyone can upload a book for sale on Amazon. It’s true most books do not make it into ‘brick and mortar’ stores but there is no need when print on demand can deliver a paperback. The publishing world is opening up, but the doors to the upper publishing realm are firmly closed for the time being on the vast majority of indie authors.
In the vacuum of this change in state, small press publishers have taken advantage and offer many indie authors a form of publishing. They are not new and most offer a valued service to their clients in steering them through the stages of publishing and marketing a book. However for the modern media savvy author who can upload and market themselves, what do the small presses offer?
The positive spin on a small press is that they are knowledgeable industry experienced professionals who can reach more readers than the indie author alone. They can provide guidance on editing and will usually provide book cover and copy edit services. The authors book will be joining a list of other titles which can advertise each other in their back covers and also online. More importantly, seemingly to some authors, is that the small presses provide a ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ of being published.
The negative spin is that some small presses have a business plan to contract c.200 books under their banner. The books can be all uploaded to KDP in the same way an indie author would to Amazon, but the small press will take 35% royalty. In simple terms if the book is £2, then Amazon take 60p, the small press take 70p and the author will receive 70p per ebook (worse for the author on paperback more like 10% ie 20p). For this equal share of royalties the small press will advertise on their website and other social media. The vast majority do not have the time or budget for any paid advertising which would be funded by the author. Therefore out of your 70p per book, expect to spend all royalties advertising online. The small press business plan has practically no upfront or on-going costs, they expect to be presented with a finished product. The author pays for marketing and the small press can then upload multiple titles, all generating royalties of 35%.
Small presses play an integral and important part of the publishing industry; however the indie author should exercise extreme caution before signing up. KDP has opened the possibility for an author to truly work independently and be as successful as mainstream publishers. Still have that fuzzy feeling?
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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction
Rating – R
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