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One of the big conclusions you may draw in this process is whether you want to self-publish your book or seek an outside publisher. Let’s discuss how to know which is right for you.

Until a few years ago, authors considered self-publishing only after being turned down by traditional publishers. Times have changed. Because publishers now shift much of the business and promotional responsibilities to their authors, all of them must be active participants in order to succeed. Combine this reality with the technical advances and sophisticated resources that are currently available, and you can see why self-publishing is now the method of choice for many authors.

Whether or not it is the right decision for you depends on a number of factors. Here are a few of the trade-offs for you to ponder:

1. Royalty vs. direct revenue–With a traditional publisher, you are paid a royalty, a percentage of book sales, which is usually 10 percent to 15 percent. In most cases, that translates to $1 to $3 per book.

If you self-publish, you will be paid directly for the books you sell (sometimes at full retail). On the surface, this sounds highly appealing (and it can be), but you must calculate into your equation that you will be responsible for all of the development, publishing, and distributions costs otherwise picked up by a publisher. You will generally pay several dollars per book copy, with perhaps hundreds of these becoming non-revenue-producing review and promotional copies. In addition, commissions and/or discounts to distributors, wholesalers, and retailers can take a healthy cut from your profits. Add to that all of the marketing costs, and you will begin to see the real picture. If you have an entire product line to absorb the costs, especially the costs of marketing, this direction might be right for you.

2. Control—If it is important that, as an author, you control the content of your book as well as the production time line, self-publishing will put you in the driver’s seat. However, with freedom comes responsibility. For instance, ask yourself:
· How comfortable are you in letting someone else make the final decisions on important elements? If you want to control elements such as content, title, layout, cover, and distribution, then self-publishing presents a tangible advantage.
· Is your time line flexible? It can routinely take a year to a year and a half for a publisher to take your manuscript to the marketplace. If your business plans and finances are dependent on expedited book availability, this time line can be a serious problem and lead you to consider self-publishing. Compare this with how long it will take you to provide the resources to develop the book yourself.
· How does your book fit into my core business? If you want to make your book an integral piece of your core business— supported by a series of spin-off products—self-publishing will give you more latitude. But remember to be realistic by asking one more question…
· Will the many aspects otherwise handled by a publisher overwhelm the needs of your core business? New authors often underestimate the time and financial resources needed to bring a book to market. As a result, books are too often put on the back burner temporarily or sometimes permanently.
3. Time—Regardless of whether you go with a traditional publisher or decide to self-publish, success depends on treating your book as a serious business. In either case, this means allocating sufficient time and budget to get the job done right. Thus said, the time and resources required to self-publish are far more extensive, and the learning curve is steep.
There is a certain prestige that comes with being published by a large New York or otherwise recognizable publishers. On the other hand, self-publishing will allow you to tailor every element of your book in a way that will reinforce your core business and your personal goals. Make the decision that is right for you and your book. Tanyab 05:52, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
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