Fact or Crap? 9 Publishing Myths Debunked for You!
Recently, I gave a presentation to some business leaders about book publishing and I titled my talk, Fact or Crap? It turns out there are a bunch of misconceptions when it comes to self-publishing or traditional publishing a book. They were shocked to learn that 81 percent of the population wants to write a book but only one percent actually do. The reasons range from not knowing where to start, finding the motivation to keep writing and being overwhelmed by the process. This is no surprise. It truly takes a village to publish a book.
Well, let’s get started…
A new book appears on Amazon every 30 minutes.
CRAP. It’s even more than that. A new book appears on Amazon every five minutes, that’s about 288 books per day which amounts to nearly 106,000 new books per year. That’s a lot of books!
JK Rowling, famous author of the Harry Potter series, was turned down by 12 publishers before finding a publisher.
FACT. JK Rowling used her initials instead of her full name, Joanne Rowling, because she wanted publishers to think she was a male. When she was turned down by the publishers, she was flat broke and a single mom. Today her net worth is about $1 billion.
Author Stephen King received a rejection letter from a potential publisher that said, “We are not interested in science fiction with negative utopias. They do not sell.”
FACT. He received this rejection from a publisher regarding his book Running Man. He has written at least 90 books to date, including one of the best writing books I’ve ever read, On Writing. His net worth is about $400 million.
If you want to sell your book to a traditional book publisher, you need a literary agent.
CRAP. Not all publishers request that you have a literary agent, but some of the bigger publishers do. Literary agents sell your proposal to publishers so you don’t have to. They work with you to create a proposal that pitches your book. Getting the attention of a good literary agent is hard. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Guide to Literary Agents to find a reputable agent. If you are planning on pitching your book yourself, invest in a copy of Writer’s Market. Not only does it include a list of all book publishers along with submission guidelines, it also includes handy advice on writing query letters and proposals.
Literary agents require you to pay them money up front.
CRAP. Literary agents make their money when they sell your book to a publisher. Typically, they receive about 15% of your royalties on each book sold. If a literary agent is asking for a fee up front, run the other way. It’s not how this industry works.
It’s possible to make money off your book without selling one single copy.
FACT. You can absolutely make money off your book by giving it away and here’s why:
- It distinguishes you as the authority in your field and a thought leader.
- It’s a way of establishing trust with potential clients.
- You can ask for higher speaking fees. When you contact a speaker’s bureau, one of the first questions they ask is, “Are you a published author?” Being part of that one percent of the population who has written a book sets you apart from the others.
- You can create courses and webinars where people pay a set fee to join. This makes some nice passive income.
- It can be a lead magnet on your website and a great way to attract the attention of potential clients.
- Your book content can act as your social media marketing plan for years to come.
To get on the New York Times bestseller list, your book cannot be self-published.
CRAP. It has happened but it is extremely rare. To be on the New York Times bestseller list, you need to sell about 10,000 copies of your book within a week. There are other best seller lists besides the New York Times that do recognize self-published books. This includes USA Today and Amazon. To learn more about what it takes to become a bestseller, check out Kitty Turner’s free ebook, Bestseller List.
My manuscript is perfect the way it is, I don’t need an editor.
CRAP. As authors, we get so acclimated and accustomed to our own work that we can’t see the mistakes. A fresh set of eyes will make a huge difference.
Senator Bernie Sanders acknowledged he was a millionaire and credited it to his large book sales, telling the world, “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
FACT. Bernie Sanders said this after releasing his income tax statements. If you are a public figure, you can make a lot of money publishing your book. But you need to sell a lot of books to do this keeping in mind you earn about $1.50 per paperback or $2.50 per hardback book if you publish traditionally.
It’s been fun sharing some facts and crap with you and in the process taking some of the mystery out of book publishing.
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