Of course, you would prefer your novel or management book to be published by one of the major publishing houses. Or by a niche publisher that focuses specifically on your target group, for example medical or scientific publications.
Publishers have the experience, can deploy a multifunctional team, arrange and pay for everything and also do promotions. In short: the greatest chance of a bestseller. However, you ‘pay’ for this with the fact that you never receive more than about 8% royalties.
The choice to be published through a traditional publisher often lies not with you as an author, but with the publisher. And they are extremely economical, knowing that they lose money on more than 80 percent of the books published. Reason enough for these publishers to reject 99.99 percent of the offered manuscripts.
Despite the small chance of success, I can still advise you to approach a number of publishers. Find out which publishers have published similar books and only approach those that seem like a good match. You immerse yourself in the market, the players, the offer, and the competition in your niche, you will make new contacts, and will probably receive valuable feedback.
If you do receive an offer from a publisher, you can make an informed decision whether to accept it or not. If you don’t hear from the publishers you approach, or if you’re rejected, that doesn’t mean your book can’t be published. I recommend that you always walk the two paths in parallel (searching for a publisher and preparing for self-publishing at the same time), so that you don’t sit around waiting and become dependent, but keep the helm yourself.
Self-publishing a book is a great way to get your message out to the world. There are no gatekeepers – the publishers – who judge whether your book is ‘good enough’. There are many fine examples of books that were rejected by traditional publishing houses and eventually became bestsellers when self-published.
With self-publishing you publish your book yourself, you are at the helm, execute everything yourself and can make all choices. You also pay for everything, by the way. This is offset by a higher margin: 15-70%.
There are various players in the field of self-publishing. The main platforms that guide you through the entire publishing process are:
These margins differ per book type (for example, paperback and e-book) and per sales channel. I would advise to choose all sales channels. Good self-publishing platforms are transparent about the margins and offer a price calculator. This was you can see for yourself at what price you can buy your own book, whether there is a volume discount, and what margins you can earn as an author.
There is also an intermediate form, where you pay a fee to a publisher/service provider. They then provide various services (ISBN, fulfillment, possibly editing and layout) and ensures that you receive a certain number of books.
How do you ultimately decide where and how to publish your book? Based on your goal and what you are willing to do yourself, you can use the following matrix to decide.