Friday, January 7, 2011

The Time Factor in Traditional vs E-Self-Publishing

Forget about whether you will be accepted by a traditional, royalty paying publisher. For the sake of argument, assume you will. It will take a lot of work, maybe conference attendance, networking, querying, submitting, seeking an agent, etc. But assume someday it will happen.

The day you are accepted by an agent for representation, with a completed manuscript, it will likely take at least six months before you have a contract in hand from a publisher. At that point the clock is ticking for publication. Deadlines are set. If you don't shoot yourself in the foot, your book will be published—in 24 months.

Yes, that's right. Two years is the approximate time from manuscript acceptance to the completed book hitting the bookstores. That's the time for cover design, jacket design, jacket text generation, copy editing, line editing, sales meeting, pub house strategizing for marketing they won't actually do, printing, warehousing, distribution. So today, if an agent told me, "I'd like to represent you" (which isn't going to happen, since I don't have any queries out with agents at the moment), My book would be in bookstores around July 2013.

But, if I took the plunge and decided to e-self-publish, my novel Doctor Luke's Assistant could be available to readers somewhere around March 1. Now I'd have to move pretty quickly to make that happen. I'd need to find a cover artist and pay some money. I'd have to write dust jacket text, and catalogue text. I'd have to figure out how to format a .doc file for Kindle and other e-reader platforms. But all I'm reading suggest this is not rocket science, and that it's all do-able in the stated time frame.

That, in and of itself, is a good reason to go the e-self-pub route. When you add in the infinitesimal chance of being accepted by a print publisher, it seems like a no brainer to choose e-self-pub. You might say how small the sales would likely be for the e-book. Agreed; most likely the sales will be small. But they'd still be more than they would be never being in print at all with a traditional publisher.

More internal debate coming...stay tuned.

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