Post a new topic
    1 Reply Latest reply on Apr 22, 2009 1:20 PM by Lighthouse24

    Are Self-Publishing Companies "Cheating" ?

    bsampson Newbie
      In spite of growing evidence that self-publishing is poised to replace (or at least match) traditional publishing in the future, many conventionally published authors (and those striving to become such) still view self-publishing with contempt. They feel self-publishing companies and those authors who choose to use them are "cheating" somehow. After all, getting a book published traditionally has always been "hard work." Those who have done it (or long to) perhaps feel as if self-published authors are not paying their dues.

      But are self-publishing writers really "cheating," or are they simply taking advantage of widespread changes taking place throughout the entertainment and business worlds?

      Why Should the Book Publishing Industry Be Any Different Than The Music and Entertainment Worlds?

      The same Do-it-Yourself (DIY) fever has swept through the music industry. Musicians (talented and otherwise) are no longer waiting for acceptance from the "establishment." Instead, they are distributing their music through iTunes. They are finding their audiences through Myspace. And, they're broadcasting their music videos via YouTube.

      It is safe to say the music industry has irrevocably changed. Musicians no longer give 95% of their royalties to the "industry" and customers no longer buy CDs from brick-and-mortar music stores.

      Are these musicians cheating?


      They are still paying their dues, but now the invoice comes after their music has already become available. They still must market aggressively to obtain listeners, but at least they have something to market. The audience determines which of those musicians succeed and which of them fail.

      This is no different from the self-publishing book industry.

      How the D-I-Y Mentality Removes Unnecessary Hurdles

      Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if all that were required to start playing for the New York Knicks was writing a check for $1000 to some Internet company? Can you imagine the fervor if all that were required to obtain a recording contract was standing in line at some reality show try-out?

      Wait a minute!

      That's already happening. Reality television has altered the search for "talent" and now, in rare instances, getting "discovered" is no harder than filling out an application. Nowadays, instead of submitting audition tapes to countless producers, lyricists stand in line for American Idol and face the possibility of public humiliation at the hands of Simon and company.

      Is this "cheating," per se, or has the do-it-yourself mentality simply removed unnecessary hurdles that prevented talent from being discovered faster? You see, talent is the one common denominator and talent cannot be purchased. Cast members of Survivor have their fifteen minutes of fame and then disappear back into the abyss. The try-outs for American Idol feature thousands upon thousands of "hopefuls" standing in lines around city blocks and yet the main competition is comprised of just a handful. Most had their opportunity to shine, and their audience rejected them. But at least they received a shot.

      How a Self-Publishing Company is Like American Idol for Writers

      As a recent New York Times article states, self-publishing companies are thriving, and that is because self-publishing companies give writers their shot. Their fifteen minutes of fame.

      Self-publishing companies are like American Idol for writers. They make it easy to publish a book. If "publishing a book" is your dream, you're going to be happy with the result. And if your dream is to be successful, famous, rich, or a combination of the three, you're going to receive your chance. But just like everyone else who is successful, famous, or rich, you are going to need to bring something special to the table.

      Most reasonable people recognize this. Those who don't may become disillusioned, but listen - if it were easy to become a bestselling author, a multi-platinum recording artist, a player for the New York Knicks, or a highly-sought-after runway model, then everyone would do it.

      How Self-Publishing Can Help You Make More Money Fast

      See, self-publishing companies shine a light on writers. It is the writer's job to shine back. Some authors do, like Gang Chen, who earned more than $39,000.00 in royalties from Outskirts Press in the 4th quarter of 2008, and nearly that much again in one single month in January 2009.

      Did he sell a million copies of his book? No. Is he making a lot of money as a self-published author? Yes. By any reasonable benchmark, Gang Chen is a successful self-published author who has given specific permission to have his successes shared.

      Can you achieve this kind of success when you self-publish your book?

      Yes! But, you must understand that success is never guaranteed. All writers are different just like all contestants on American Idol are different. If you are going to self-publish your book, you're better off publishing with a company where your chances for success increase. Above all, you have to believe in yourself and you have to work hard. Success rarely comes easily for anyone, but now, thanks to self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press, everyone has an equal chance. They will shine the light on you. What you do with that light is up to you.

      Brent Sampson, bestselling self-published author of "Sell Your Book on Amazon" and "Self-Publishing Simplified," has helped thousands of authors realize their dreams of publishing and distributing their books worldwide fast with Outskirts Press. Now when you go to you can get TWO FREE EBOOK GUIDES on how to self-publish your books the simple, successful way.
        • Re: Are Self-Publishing Companies "Cheating" ?
          Lighthouse24 Ranger
          Interesting post.

          Perhaps it's just semantics, but I've always viewed Outskirts as a subsidy/vanity press. In my mind, a traditional publishing company handles all the traditional publishing "chores" (editing, proofing, production, marketing, distribution, fulfillment, etc.), bears all the risks and costs associated with those, and pays the author a percentage of the profits from the sale of the book. A self-publishing company is founded by one or more authors to handle those publishing chores and bear the risks, and the author(s) receive all the profits from the business. With a subsidy/vanity press, the author pays the publisher up-front to perform those publishing chores, the author bears all the risks, and the publisher pays the author a percentage of the profits from the sale of the book. It seems like the worst of both worlds in a risk/reward sense.

          But is it cheating? No. It's the only way some authors can get a book to market -- and as with music and film/video, just because there's not a mass market for something doesn't mean that there's not a profitable niche market for it. "Find a need and fill it" is the entreprenuer's guide, and sometimes a subsidy press solution is the only way to fill the need.

          In the music and film/video industries, the real changes were enabled by technology -- which gave the unsigned musician or film/video maker the power to produce and market a commerical-quality product. A "self-publisher" is the book industry equivalent of the independent ("indie") music label and film/video studio. Desktop versions of professional publishing tools, digital presses, and the Internet have helped to make true self-publishing more feasible (and vanity/subsidy presses far less attractive to an author who has a decent book and a realistic plan for marketing it). Still, those companies have a valuable place for authors/projects that are less "developed" -- and for authors who don't want to be in the publishing business, but prefer to focus fully on their regular profession instead (which is probably the case with Mr. Chen).