In the past few months, I've been watching large publishers announce their entrance into the DIY or author services market. Interesting. How many times have you heard traditionally published authors and their publishers, publicists and the media belittle and degrade those that have chosen to self publish? If you have been around publishing in the past decade or more, probably a lot!
So, the traditional publishers suddenly want to "help" self published authors that have been swimming in the big shark-infested waters of NY publishing for years. Why? Because the smart money is on high-quality independently published books that have a niche and an aggressive marketing strategy, that's why.
What's really ironic is that in the last few weeks, I have seen many self publishing experts writing about how to be a bestseller, or how to get your book on the shelves of the big bookstores, or how to pitch to an agent, or how to do a query letter, or how to attract a publisher. WHY? Why would you want to spend your money to get into a distribution channel that makes it virtually impossible to make a profit? One that requires a wholesaler for sure (at a 55% discount plus shipping), and possibly a distributor (another 25% discount on net, plus all sorts of fees), returns, accounting issues, cashflow -- Argh!
Self publishers: Stay the course and keep selling to your non-traditional markets and do not spend your money chasing after your dream of seeing your book on the shelf of Barnes and Noble. (If you really, really need that for your ego, put one on the shelf and take your picture standing next to it! But don't push your book into stores when it's not profitable.) And stop worrying about getting on Oprah and being a NY Times Bestseller -- neither one of those things guarantees you'll sell a ton of books, but they DO guarantee you'll spend a lot getting there.
Final thought. Don't think for a moment that the traditional publishers are getting into this market because they want to help authors. They see the writing on the wall -- Self publishing, or DIY is where the money is being spent, and the consumer is beginning to realize that the books published by high-quality independent self publishers are likely more timely, more efficient, more cost effective, and better when the author is in control and they know their market.
If you would like to offer your books as premiums, check out Brian Jud's Premium Book Company. Great way to expand your reach into the non-traditional markets, break down huge barriers to entry in this distribution channel, and gain new readers.