In one of her recent blogs, author Lee Foster offered some good suggestions regarding traditional vs. self/independent publishing, formats and whether to license your work.
Sadly, traditional publishing continues to deteriorate with the uptick of digital media and independent publishing, whether the medium is books, magazines, or newspapers. Independent publishers are gaining more of an edge over traditional routes but it’s important to maintain any existing relationships you might have with a traditional publishing house to ensure continued publication of your book. According to Lee, physical books still account for about 70% of the market; eBooks, about 17%, and audio books about 6%. These stats will likely change as the demand for digital media surges, especially with the 18-49 age group. It’s vital for writers to stay current with what’s in vogue so their work isn’t passed over because the format’s not popular.
If you’re an independent publisher, check Meetup.com in your area for meetups. They’re a great place to network, share your work, and get/provide feedback about the writing process. Who knows, you just might get some great ideas for that unfinished scene that’s been nagging at you for weeks or months.
The format you choose for your book can vary; publishing in all formats increases your exposure and ups the odds that more readers in your target market will find you. How many of these options are you using or are yet to use?
- Print book – Ingram, Lulu Press, Amazon KDP, etc.
- eBook – Lulu Press, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc.
- Audio book – Audible, etc.
- Translations of your book – the language/s you choose should be based on your target market and perhaps the setting/location or cultural aspects; if you can’t afford a translator, try Bing Translator or Google Translator. They can be time-consuming to use (one paragraph or so at a time) but if budget is limited, it’s a good place to start. You also may want to come up with additional title options, as not all titles will translate well. Do some research.
- A “website” book, where your work is available online in a website
Something else to think about is licensing your content. Do you write nonfiction, books for academia or business? Then you might consider the U.S. Copyright Clearance Center, where you can set up an account to collect fees from people who use quotes from your works with your permission. These are a few of the options from their site:
- RightsLink for Permissions – automates permissions and reprints from your website; “facilitate permissions and reprints requests for copyrighted articles, images, mobile and new media content right from their websites.”
- Republication Service – allows you to secure republication permissions for others’ works, as well as subsidiary rights
- RightsCentral – where publishers, authors, and agents manage their account; from this option you can also download title usage reports; view and manage your participation in CCC services; review your permissions and fees; and set your fees within each service