Publishing Deals vs. Self Publishing: Which is better in 2016?

Self-Publish Clipboard Write Promote Sell Writer Author BookWhile publishers have done well with books, they have been losing ebook share because they just don’t understand the market and they price their ebooks too high. They try to price them similarly to physical books and pricing them this way leads to fewer sales.

In addition, they don’t know how to market ebooks on Kindle. They don’t seem to understand  the importance of finding the right keywords and categories as well as which pages you want your book to show up on. I know because some of my writing clients have signed deals and I have worked with publishers doing book launches for my clients.

On the other hand, ebook sales have been increasing for self-published authors, especially books that don’t even have ISBN numbers. (You don’t need an ISBN number to publish your book on Kindle.) One of the reasons is that Kindle has a pricing tool that tells you what the sweet spot is price-wise for selling your ebooks.

Plus, because of the business model that Amazon employs, authors no longer need a publisher: they can sell directly to their audience,  so more authors are able to participate, hence more books are sold. And, it’s a lot cheaper to start with an ebook than a book.

The ebook market itself is only growing at about 1% a year. But, the dramatic shift in how they are sold, has made a huge difference for self-published authors. However, authors themselves may not be aware of this shift and so many are still opting to go for a traditional publishing deal first and only resorting to self publishing when they don’t get one (which is the case for 95% of authors).

What most authors don’t seem to realize is that you make a lot less money, in most cases, from a publishing deal. You’re  lucky if you make a dollar per book with a publisher, and it can be much worse. I once had a writing student tell me that she had a friend who had written a cookbook that sold for $40, but her friend was only getting 40 cents a book!

Teaching people how to self-publish has become my mission because I know how it feels to be the creator and have other people make most of the money from your work! I started out in the music business where we got 10 cents a record. I thought that was criminal. And I think it’s criminal in book publishing too!

Selling my ebooks on Amazon for just $2.99 at 70% royalty pays me about $2.00 a book! And, I have priced other books higher than that; that is double what a publisher would pay-and that’s for low end ebooks. Imagine how much more you can make on higher-priced ebooks or a series of ebooks? Plus, if you have a physical book as well,  you’ll make more money by adding those into the mix.

In addition, unless you are a top-tier author (selling a lot of books already), even if you sign with a traditional publisher, you will still end up having to market your books yourself so you might as well get paid well for doing it! Don’t you agree?

So, whether you want to sell books for passive income, or to grow your business, you are better off self-publishing. And, if you are blessed enough to sell a lot of books and decide at a later date that you are wiling to take a pay cut in order to get the advantages of working with a publisher, you’ll be in a much better position to get a deal!

Ellen Violette is a book-creation, book-marketing, & business coach. She is a 6-time #1 Bestselling author and creator of the Bestseller Business Blueprint. Ellen is also a 2-time eLit Award winner, recipient of the “Be the Change” Award, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter.

She creates book and business strategies using publishing and content marketing for thought leaders, coaches, independent professionals, speakers, and authors. To learn more go to: and register for a FREE PDF “11 Steps to Getting Bestseller Ranking in Kindle With Your eBook”.

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