A Writer’s Walmart

A friend of mine who works for a major book publisher recently said something very interesting to me. We were talking about independent publishers and sites like Pages Unbound and he said that publishing companies are a Walmart for writers. They are one stop shopping.

You spend your currency – your idea or manuscrip – and in return you get an editor, a designer, a producer, a production manager, a marketing director, someone to sell your book to bookstores, to take care of shipping, warehouses, etc.

The disadvantage of self-publishing is that the author has to do all these things themselves.

That, of course, is the advantage of e-publishing. It cuts out several ‘steps’ along the way. They cut out manufacturing, shipping, storing – the majority of the work of actually producing a physical work. This makes it much easier for an author to self-publish electronically.

As one of the speakers in our Book production and Design class said, you have to consider: A book that is 99.99% accurate allows for 3-4 mistakes per page; there are several thousand characters on every page. Many publishers manage to make far fewer mistakes then that. This is because every document gets checked and rechecked by multiple pairs of eyes.

When you consider that, you can begin to truly appreciate the work for an author who wants to self-publish. Especially since they don’t have the expertise in all the necessary areas. Most self-publishers are doing so for the first time – they need to learn and establish marketing bases, self-edit and do their own design work. It is a monumental task.

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One Comment on “A Writer’s Walmart”

  1. Danielle T. Says:

    Self-editing can be a dangerous thing! Especially if you don’t allow someone else (a pair of fresh eyes) to look it over. I discovered this last year while making a flyer for my job and realizing that it had a tiny (but unpleasant) error on it…all because I had failed to let one other person check it.


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