To promote herself and her business, JL wants to write a book.
But she isn’t quite sure how to get her book into print.
“It feels like getting a book published is challenging,” she writes. “Would it not be easier to self-publish?”
Others have asked me the same question over the years. “What’s better?” an interviewer asked me just the other day. “Self-publishing or traditional publishing?”
It’s the wrong question.
Self-publishing is not inherently better than traditional publishing. Nor is the reverse true.
Actually, there are three basic options: traditional publishing, self-publishing, and electronic publishing. And the choice of which is right for you depends on your reasons for writing a book in the first place.
Option #1. Traditional publishing
Of the three options, selling your book to a mainstream publisher is the most prestigious. So when you want to write a book to help establish yourself as an expert in your field, that is often the best option.
Most stock market newsletter editors, for example, write at least one book for a mainstream publishing house.
Reason: It adds to their credibility, helping them sell subscriptions.
The drawbacks of going with a mainstream publisher are twofold.
First, book publishers are notoriously lousy at marketing, so your book may not sell very many copies.
Second, you earn only a small royalty — on average, 10 percent or less — for each copy sold.
Option 2. Self-publishing a physical book
Self-publishing your book as a paperback or hardcover makes sense when you want to use it as a marketing tool. As information marketing pioneer Jeffrey Lant says, “A book is a brochure that will never be thrown away.”
Professional speakers, for example, typically send a free copy of their book, along with their sales materials, to every potential client.
The more professionally written, designed, and printed it is, the more impressed your prospects will be. Ideally, your self-published book should look no different than hardcovers or trade paperbacks from major publishers.
When you buy your own book from a traditional publisher, you get a 50 percent author’s discount. With self-publishing, your cost per copy is much less. As a result, authors who give away a lot of their books can save a lot of money with self-publishing.
Option 3. Self-publishing your book as an e-book
Self-publishing your book as a downloadable PDF file — an “e-book” — is the clear choice when you want to (a) sell your book on the Internet and (b) maximize your profits.
Why are e-books so profitable?
For one thing, you can charge more money for less content than you can with a regular book.
Most traditionally published business books are at least 200 pages — around 80,000 words. They sell for at least $15 in paperback or $20 in hardcover.
For an e-book, you can charge anywhere from $29 to $49 per copy. More if it is on a specialized topic. And although length varies, a $29 e-book can be only 50 pages — about 15,000 words. That means it costs as much as — or more than — a paperback or hardcover containing only one-fifth the text.
Plus, you deliver an e-book to the buyer over the Internet as a PDF file. There are no printing, storage, fulfillment, or shipping costs, so your profit margin on each sale is extremely high.
By comparison, authors who publish with mainstream publishers get a royalty averaging 10 percent of the book’s cover price. The margin in self-publishing physical books is usually about 50 percent. But with e-books, the margin can be close to 100 percent.
Option 4. Traditional publishing/self-publishing
Some online marketers, including Michael Masterson, take advantage of a fourth option.
They sell their books to a mainstream publishing house for bookstore distribution. But they retain the right to sell the content as physical books or e-books — or both — to their own customer lists.
“In golf, there’s an old saying,” says Michael. “You drive for show and putt for dough. Trade book publishing is driving. Direct marketing to your list is putting.”
In my ETR home study course, the Internet Cash Generator, I share a simple yet proven process for publishing and selling e-books online.
It has worked for me, generating a passive Internet income of more than a thousand dollars a day.
For more information, click here now[Ed. Note: Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 70 books. To subscribe to his free e-zine, The Direct Response Letter, and claim your free gift worth $116, click here now: www.bly.com/reports]