When a you get a publisher, you get two big things.
- A company that will assume the up-front costs of printing the book … probably in volume (1000+) at therefore a unit cost not achievable for the self-published author.
- An organization with specialized marketing resources – people, experience, lists of bookstores for readings, etc.
But again, the internet makes it possible for an unknown writer to market to a national audience of people who like children’s books at almost no cost. The internet is the bonanza of the self-published.
For example – and thanks to WordPress – this website and blog cost me nothing to produce and nothing to maintain. My domain name costs $25, I think. I’m learning to tweet and need to update my Facebook page. But these are free. It’s the Wild West! It’s a bonanza.
Let me not get giddy. It’s going to cost me a lot to market the book – costs that a publisher would typically cover. For example, the owner of FlyLeaf Books in Chapel Hill has seen a PDF of In Mr. Handsome’s Garden. She said there are “a dearth of children’s books like this” and quickly agreed to let me have a reading and signing once the book is available.
If I were with Random House, they’d send a couple dozen copies to Flyleaf, maybe a poster or two and I’d show up to do my tricks. But self-published authors bring their own books to the signing (i.e., we buy them out-of-pocket). If we don’t sell any, we have inventory on hand for the next event or a friend’s birthday. If we do sell books, we give the bookseller 30-40% of profits, which is fair – they are the hosts. We are not complaining. We enjoy they day. We are happy. But we are taxed. 🙂
All that said, I look forward to the challenge. Pending a successful Kickstarter campaign, it’ll begin for me on Labor Day 2014. I can’t wait!