Forty-five percent of book sales on Amazon last year were written by self-published authors.
That’s getting close to half—and predictions are for that number to keep going up.
Still, there is an honor attached to being accepted by a traditional publishing house. These authors are viewed by some as being “real” authors—although that viewpoint is rapidly changing.
There are not as many big publishing houses as there used to be, making it even more difficult for a writer to get a book deal from a publisher. If they do, it makes it all the more prestigious.
So, what is it that a publisher might do for an author that they cannot do for themselves?
Well, first of all there’s the imprint of the publishing house on the book cover that is akin to getting a gold star on a spelling test in elementary school (at least that’s how it was “way back when” at the school I attended).
Then, there is the fact that major publishers pull a lot of weight with the brick and mortar bookstores and are much more likely to get their authors actual shelf space.
Finally, traditional publishers may get some of their most popular authors cash advances in some cases and they often have in-house editors.
In days-gone-by, traditional publishers did a lot of marketing for their authors, but don’t count on that in today’s world. These writers are finding the greatest responsibility for advertising their books is being placed on their very own shoulders.
So, I ask, again, what is it that a traditional publisher might do for an author that he/she cannot do for themselves?
In my humble opinion, not much.
However, if you are young and have time on your side so you can afford to wait for a traditional book deal and/or the points I’ve mentioned are important to you, then by all means polish up your query letter.
We’ve talked about the query letter before, but for those who haven’t been following this blog for a lengthy period of time, I will touch on the subject next week.