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Merits Of Self-publishing
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Even when you know how to tell whether a manuscript is publishable, you need to decide whether your manuscript fits the needs of one of the traditional publishing houses or whether your manuscript best fits self-publishing. You might have a clean, mistake-free copy, ideas for an attractive, consistent layout and design, and well-written, interesting copy, yet that isn't enough.
These factors don't take into consideration whether or not there is a market for your finished book. Marketability determines whether your best strategy lies with finding a publisher or self-publishing.
Traditional Publisher's Needs
Traditional publishers must make profits. That means a print book must have potential to sell to a large number of people. Publishers can't afford to have warehouses full of inventory. When they do, the expenses associated with printing those books aren't recognized by the IRS.
This environment means there is a great deal of competition for publishing space in traditional markets. Few publishers accept manuscripts from unknown authors. Even finding an agent can be difficult. If your book doesn't have mass appeal, you either have to find a publisher that specializes in your niche or an agent who does.
This is one major reason for niche market authors to self-publish. Consider Carmen Leal. She had a manuscript for a book on Huntington's disease. There are only 40,000 people who have this disease in the U.S. That's not a large market. Yet, Leal had personal insights into the effects of the disease on the families coping with a loved one who has been diagnosed. This wasn't enough to interest a publisher. She self-published.
Her book continues to sell, many years after its initial publication. She has become a recognized expert on the topic and has speaking engagements regularly. She has proven that her audience is broader than those 40,000 people who actually have the disease. Friends of families have taken an interest in the topic. That has more than doubled her market.
Enter Print-on-Demand (POD)
Some books only fit a narrow niche-one major reason Print-on-demand (POD) makes so much sense. POD ensures that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to fill your garage with books you hope to sell. You may order small quantities on an as-needed basis. You also have the option with some POD services to sell through your own website without ever having to touch a book.
There will be additional costs associated with getting your book into print-ready format, unless you have editing and design skills. Only you can determine whether the effort of bringing a book into publishable form is worth your investment compared to the potential your investment creates.
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