It’s a big question in the business space: Is it better to self-publish a book or pitch it to a big publisher? It comes back to why you’re publishing a book in the first place. And with self publishing becoming easier than ever, Amazon has become loaded with best-sellers.
Books published in 2016 only have about a 1 percent chance of ever seeing the shelves of a bookstore, begging the question: Why publish at all? Well, that’s the wrong question. The question that the savvy entrepreneur should be asking is: Why use a publisher at all?
In 2015, Jared Kleinert published “2 Billion Under 20,” a book highlighting millennial entrepreneurs making world-changing moves. The book did well at first, but as with most large publication books it had a limited life cycle and Kleinert had limited rights. That’s because when you work with a publisher, like Kleinert, you waive rights to really owning you book, along with any ability to repurpose its content.
On Jan. 17, 2017, Kleinert released his follow up, “3 Billion Under 30.” This time, with one major difference; it’s self-published. He looked at why he’s really writing the book, something the modern author really has to look at. The purpose of the second book is to build a brand, and as a self publisher he can create a brand he can control.
According to Kleinert, what are the major reasons to self-publish?
- Network: His book is a compilation of stories from 75 young entrepreneurs. He builds a connection with them by telling their story, in addition to helping them grow their own brands and business.
- Press: You can promote the text online as blog posts or chapter excerpts, which would not be an option if you’re working with a publisher.
- Working with the Best: Traditional publishers are losing the best editors and designers because they are beginning to understand that the free market will pay them much more for their work. As long as you are willing to pay, publishing a book yourself will allow to hire the cream of the crop and create a better and more authentic product than could have been done through a book publisher.
The positive and the negative of self-publishing is that the writer bears all the responsibility for marketing the book. However, the entrepreneur that has spent time building his network and knows the value in good PR can really knock it out of the park.
Another creative option that self-publishing allows for is joint ventures or getting others to promote your product. Find the right JV partners, preferably with massive email lists, offering them the right commission or incentives that will drive them to promote the book to their followers; creating a wider and more engaged reach than a publisher can create.
The book itself is no longer the product, but it is a conduit to what the book creates. Publishing a book is now about building a solid brand that has longevity. Publishing it yourself is the only way to really hold the reins of your brand.