A Business Case Study for Self-Publishing
Traditional book publishing is a laborious and expensive process. According to R.R. Bowker, Co., the book publishing industry in the U.S. is comprised of no less than 82,000 organizations producing over 200,000 titles a year. Authors wishing to see their works published must not only write their book but also find an agent to help them sell it. Though there are many agents, there are far more authors. As such, agents are very selective and choose to represent only the authors whose work they think publishers will buy. For their services, agents command commissions of 10% – 15% of the royalties earned by the author. Some charge for “polishing” the author’s work and demand a finder’s fee for each publisher they introduce to the author. Frustrated authors often claim that book agents are 85 percent hope and 15 percent commission.
Once found, an agreeable publisher purchases the author’s work. The publisher then edits the work and formats it for publication. If the publisher likes the finished product, it may then decide to print it. If it does, and the book sells, the author receives royalties of 10 – 15% of the book’s cover price for each book sold. If the book does not gain traction in 30 to 90 days, after its first printing, the publisher “pulls” the book and prints no more. In many cases, the author never sees a dime for his time or labor.
Possibly most disturbing is that traditional publishers do not always market the books that they produce. Instead, it is often the author’s responsibility to see that the book is publicized and finds its way into the hands of its intended readers.
A more efficient approach is for the aspiring author to use the services of a publisher that offers book shepherding services or pre-written customizable books. Because books are customizable in every imaginable way, with the proper help, authors can find their voice and style while offering the reader a useful and authoritative work without any of the hassles or disappointments of traditional publishing.
-Gene Ferraro, Publisher