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The Economics of Publishing Your Book (Part 1 of 2)

Money can be an issue when it comes to investing in your career. Aspiring authors are keen to ask about expenditures in varying aspects of publishing: How much does it cost to get published? How much commission will my agent get? How many royalties will I receive? These are all legit money concerns since we all want to get paid from our writing. From a critical standpoint, budding writers need to extend their assessment beyond these basic questions. Consider these assessment guidelines:

What do you expect from the publishing process?

This is the first question that you need to address. Once you are clear about your expectations from the publishing process, it will be easier to decide if publishing is going to be lucrative for you. How your publishing goals fit into your career plans will determine how much you’ll be willing to spend in the process. Now that you have addressed expectations, how much budget are you willing to dish out?

Be realistic here to avoid making the wrong decisions that will upset your objectives. Consider the scenario of the author who wants to make money from his book, but his only option is traditional publishing. This may not align with his financial objectives because he needs to consider other factors that will determine the success of his book. If you’re a new author, what are the odds that your book will climb the bestseller charts? How much will your publisher provide in terms of marketing and promotion? Will your book be launched at an opportune time? These are some factors that you’ll also need to consider to determine how much money you’ll make from your book. It’s wise to have a backup plan. This is why modern authors are open to self-publishing.

Self-publishing can offer better opportunities for you in the traditional route in the future. When you self-publish, you build a platform for your work and establish followers. Traditional publishers are very open to offering deals to successful self-published books because it guarantees that your book comes with built-in readership and, therefore, is easier to market. It’s more cost-effective for traditional publishers to invest in books that are tried and tested. Of course, in taking the self-publishing route, you need to be equipped with the budget to tap print on demand companies like Blurb, Lulu or Xlibris. These companies offer basic tier packages to suit budget-conscious authors. Always do a thorough search on different POD services to get the most out of your buck. Often the general rule is, when you pay more, you get more.

Despite opportunities in self-publishing, still, the allure of the traditional route fares better for most. Throughout history, traditional publishing houses have helped shape the names of literary giants and this has cemented the prestigious status of traditional publishing. On top of that, they shoulder most of the book design, marketing, and logistics for your book. All you need to do is wait for the public’s reception. These days, traditional publishing houses will still do these things. However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to put any effort into promotion. On account of inflation and the growing competition from self-publishing, traditional publishing houses set specific budgets for book marketing for new releases. These days an author is expected to dip into his own pocket to maximize the power of book promotion. To market your book, you may want to set aside a budget of at least $10,000. This can go higher if you have plans to go on a tour for book signings, speaking engagements, and media appearances.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado