What’s the difference between music and books?

I attended an event last week, and the program included a singer/songwriter who used to record in Nashville but has decided to pay to record his own stuff rather than go through an old-fashioned record label. Why? He wasn’t getting any marketing help from the record company in Nashville, and his small royalties were paid annually. He discovered he could pay to record himself, market himself, make direct sales himself, and make more money faster.

People come to his website and use his shopping cart to download his songs and cha-ching! He sold a lot of CDs that night and didn’t have to share any of the receipts with anyone else.

Many musicians are going this route and no one seems to be bashing them for it.

Yet, when authors decide to pay to be published, the old-fashioned purists come out in droves bashing both the author and publisher. So, what’s the difference? Why the double standard?

I think it’s because there have been so many publishers who chase the author’s dollar without providing the author with a quality book. They provide publishing packages that seldom include editing, original designs (they use templates), or much else except the requisite ISBN, LOC registration, etc.

They charge the author to publish, but use print-on-demand technology so there aren’t any printed books available unless someone pays to have one or two printed. That means these publishers don’t provide the author any inventory to enable the author to sell the books and keep the profits from the direct sales (as the singer/songwriter did last week). NOTE: The cost of the package is over and above the cost of the printing, so the first book doesn’t cost just the printing fee of $5.00–it cost the price of the package PLUS $5.00!

Many publishers require all book orders come through them so they can keep charging the author, then  “pay royalties” back to the author on money the author continues to spend with them to have their books printed.

Small wonder paying to be published gets such a bad rap.

We at Expert Publishing, Inc. believe if an author pays to have a book published, the author should have the inventory of the books so he/she can sell them and make all the profit from direct sales. We also believe that since our name is on the book too, it needs to be a quality book that we’re just as proud of as the author is. It’s a simple concept, and it’s been working since 2001.

Happy writing!



11 Responses to “What’s the difference between music and books?”

  1. 1 Carol Ann Hoel October 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Probably a great idea for a second book if one cannot afford to do it on the first. I personally will have to go traditional at least once.

    • 2 expertbookpublishing October 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm

      You’re absolutely right, Carol, that there are considerations in every business decision, including publishing. I’m really about helping authors make the best publishing decisions for them.

      The only really bad publishing decision is vanity publishing, but everyone know that.

      Some publishing houses play to authors with dreams of being published. My issue with that is any crummy book with an ISBN fits that scenario. The author’s dream of being published is realized, but at what cost (money, quality, credibility, etc.)? I just don’t want that for any author.

      • 3 Carol Ann Hoel October 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm

        I don’t want anything to to with self publishing my first go-around. If I cannot get published once, I won’t have to worry about the second time. Ha! I am about to start querying. No, I don’t want to pay to publish a book just so I can feel that I am published. If my novel won’t sell, there is no point in wasting anyone’s money, certainly not mine. 🙂

      • 4 expertbookpublishing October 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm

        Good point about your book being fiction. We published two young adult historical fiction books under our imprint, et al. Publishing. We don’t normally publish fiction but both of these novels were well written and well researched. One is even carried in a historical society because it’s so well done and historically correct.

        But I’d never recommend any author pay to publish general or even genre fiction, so good for you in coming to that decision.

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