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All writers dream about signing that book contract and becoming published authors.
However, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, self-publishing is more accessible than ever, and writers all over the world are making decent money with it.
So maybe it’s time to abandon that old dream of getting a book deal and go your own way? Here are a few things you should consider…
#1 You will probably never get a book deal
Truth hurts, but it’s good as a medicine, right?
The reality is that publishing houses are inundated with manuscripts. Sure, you can still submit one, you won’t lose anything. Just know that the manuscript into which you have poured your heart and soul will likely end up at the bottom of the slush file. You will be lucky if the 22 year old intern will get to reading it.
The reality is that the vast majority of writers who submit their manuscript to the publishing houses will never get a book deal. So why put yourself in a situation where the odds are stacked against you?
#2 Publishing houses are not what they used to be
Even if you do manage to get a book deal, which, as we already established, is highly unlikely, it probably won’t be what you expected.
You see, in the past, publishing houses were pushing books really hard. They ran ads, they organized book tours, they got authors interviews on TV shows and on the radio, etc. And if you are being honest, you probably expect all that to come with a book deal, right?
Well, if you do, you’ll be in for a big disappointment. Nowadays publishing houses expect you to handle your own marketing. Of course, it’s different if you are George R.R. Martin… But you aren’t.
So basically, you would end up signing a contract with a glorified printing house, and give away most of your revenue without getting much in return.
#3 You can make much more money if you self-publish
Another thing that you probably expect to come with a book deal is a nice fat advance check. Yeah, that is not going to happen, unless you are an established writer with a significant online following. Publishing houses don’t like to take bets on first-time authors… And when they do, they make sure to keep their losses at a minimum.
Meanwhile, with self-publishing, you get to keep a much higher percentage of the revenue from each book sold. It’s as high as 70% for digital books. Traditional publishers can’t beat that!
#4 There are almost no upfront costs
In the past, going with a publishing house made sense, because self-publishing was very expensive.
However, things have changed, and today you can publish your work with very little up-front costs. All you really need is a text file with the manuscript and image files with the cover. That’s it!
And yes, it applies to paper books, too. With Amazon CreateSpace print-on-demand service, each copy only gets printed when someone places an order, which means that there’s no need to buy copies in advance and hope that they will sell. It’s time to join the print on demand revolution!
#5 You can self-publish anything you want
Publishing houses are businesses. They see books as products that they acquire and then sell to consumers. Each one has to sell a certain number of copies in order to be profitable. That means that books that are a bit more niche or a bit more experimental have close to zero chances of being published because there simply isn’t a big enough audience for them. You can’t color outside the lines if you want to get picked up by a traditional publisher.
Meanwhile, with self-publishing, you are the one in the driver’s seat. There’s no one to tell you that your book is too “out there”. You can write and publish whatever you want. And, as long as you know how to market it, you can get it into the hands of readers!
Self-publishing is the future!
Of course, self-publishing isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, and it takes a lot of hard work to be successful at it. You can’t remain in the comfort zone of being a writer only. You have to wear a lot of hats. Editing, design, marketing… It’s all on the shoulders of a self-published writer.
But it gives you one thing that you could never get from a publishing house: complete creative freedom. Yes, making all the decisions can be a burden, but it’s also liberating. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make money without having anyone tell you what you can and can’t do?
So stop chasing (most likely) unattainable dream of getting a book deal. Don’t spend your life waiting for someone to choose you. Summon the courage to forge your own path. Choose yourself!