When it comes to publishing, deciding which route to take can be a challenge.
For the traditional route, once an author writes a book, they sign on with an agent or publishing house. The author shares a hefty percentage of the sales, in exchange for the agent doing everything involved in getting attention and sales.
A self-publisher keeps all the money — but does everything, including possible hiring of an editor and book designer, buying advertising, etc.
New York City psychologist, Lisa Kentgen, Ph.D., debuted, “An Intentional Life: Five Foundations of Authenticity and Purpose,” June 2018. Here how she went about it…
Turning down a book contract was a painful decision. My book emphasizes listening to your internal voice. My voice told me I wouldn’t be happy signing a contract that didn’t feel mutual. The morning after making this decision the idea for my next book came to me. I then knew self-publishing was the right path.
Two things were clear. 1) I would create a publishing imprint to house this and future books. 2) I would be intimately part of the process.
Creating a publishing imprint meant establishing an LLC. Its mission is broad enough to cover other professional activities, like public speaking, so that my writing will be an essential part of my professional life.
There are reputable companies, like Girl Friday Productions, that help authors from concept to final production. I believe they quoted me $16,000. I chose not to go with this sort of company because I had a manuscript that already was far along and, also, it means not taking the lead in creating my team. Establishing my team meant spending hours finding a top quality editor, cover designer, and interior designer.
I was fortunate enough to find a developmental editor who is the vice president of a publishing company. She had me reduce my manuscript by 30%. She told me that while I don’t like telling people what to do (I am a psychologist) – as a writer I needed to be more directive. After a major edit, I hired another editor to polish the final manuscript.
For book design, I chose Reedsy, an online company that has wonderful professionals for hire. Inexpensive cover designs cost around $500. For an experienced, artistic designer it is closer to $1000. My cover designer was so good that I persuaded him to do my interior design which cost about $2000.
I learned the hard way that what makes for a beautiful physical book creates complications for the ebook. (Suggestion: Make a copy of the interior before getting fancy!) Creating the ebook to look like the physical copy proved difficult. I had no way to assess the actual skill level of designers. The first person misrepresented their experience, and I paid $450 for something I couldn’t use. The next person charged $500 and what I wanted took more time than estimated–so we negotiated a higher price.
My experience creating the audiobook with Brickshop Audio in Brooklyn was a pleasure. The audiobook, with production help, costs $250 per finished hour. My 55,000-word book (on ACX) cost $1650.
I recommend my path to authors who enjoy creating a business and who have the time and desire to address countless creative details. It means a lot more work upfront, but having finished products closer to your vision. I am excited to take what I have learned to new ventures!
What do you think of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?