To publish, or not to publish…

I’m finishing up a draft of my first book, working title: “The UpStart Manifesto: Planning New Businesses with Speed and Flexibility”. Like any good entrepreneur, I want it published yesterday. So I met with a close friend who is a seasoned veteran and a senior exec at one of the largest publishing companies. I found it fascinating, so I thought I’d share:

  • If you epublish with us, it will take about 6 months before you can start selling
  • We’ll then want the rights to publish the hard copy, which will take 12 months to reach the shelves/Amazon
  • We’ll also demand 360 rights, which will impact the rest of your business (more on that soon; building an online school for startups with branding linked to the book)
  • Oh, and we won’t do much to promote your book, or give you much of an advance, since you are not a proven commodity in publishing yet
  • To top it all off, you won’t make more than a few dollars for every book (you promote and sell)

Needless to say, I wasn’t jumping over the table to sign that deal. So looked into self-publishing, which seems at first blush to be a better way to go.

My startup philosophy is about planning with speed and flexibility. By self publishing, I can move much faster, retain the rights to my other books and lines of business, and make much more money on each copy I sell.

The downside? I lose the cache of being published by a major imprint. That cache is important to traditional media companies, so it’s less likely I’ll appear on the Today Show or in the New York Times based on my book. Bummer, but I think I can still play well on the long tail, and if my distance learning business is a hit, I can use that to get big media coverage since it will be pretty innovative and unique.

Any gurus out there willing to share opinions?

2 Responses to To publish, or not to publish…

  1. jchunter says:

    right up my alley…I think all serious authors, should invest in themselves. Just make sure not to make costly mistakes, especially when your book is going to print. Definitely, definitely make sure you own the ISBN and rights, get an editor, and a cover designer.

    Although self publishing companies have gotten a black eye over the years, not all of them are bad. Though, I’d advise you to stay away from them as you sound like you have big plans for your book.

    If you don’t have time to micromanage, the design, editing, printing, marketing, and distribution of your book, hire a seasoned project manager/consultant. Ask your close friend if he knows any. They are around. Most likely these people will have your best interest in mind, and will be able to get you the best prices and further more you’ll be working with the same service suppliers big publishers use.

    Best Wishes.

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