Q&A: Self-publishing

The digital age has impacted publishing in a wide-variety of ways. I’ve heard people who used to work at traditional publishers talk about how before the computer they would cut and paste – with paper and glue – to move things around for ‘new editions.’ Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been the author shift towards self-publishing. With Amazon and the internet, they don’t need the traditional publishers to place their books on shelves; and self-pubslihing allows them to stay in control and keep a greater percentage of the profits. In order to better understand the trend towards self-publishing, below you’ll find a Q&A I conducted with John Marino of BRIO publishing.

Words On Publishing: What are some of the advantages of self-publishing for authors? (greater percent of royalties, etc)

John Marino: The feedback we receive from authors who self publish is that they like the control of their book.  A publisher can make edits without an author’s permission and decide how long it takes to send it to book shelves.  Many authors comment on how they like that they keep 100% of the royalties.  We do book cover design and illustrations for authors and they keep all the profits from the work.  If they sell the foreign rights and/or turn it into a movie – it is all theirs.

WOP: What are some of the disadvantages? (more work, expense, etc?)

Marino: Self publishing has some challenges that are different than working with a traditional publisher.  The author has to work hard promoting their work regardless if they self publish or not.  Now with the ability to sell books online, authors can connect with potential readers better than ever.  The challenge is to identify the target demographic of the reader and market directly to the profile reader who will enjoy the author’s book.  Self publishing forces authors to always think about marketing towards their reader base.

WOP: A friend of mine once said that publishing companies are like walmart for authors – they provide one-stop shopping. The author submits their book and the company takes it from a rough draft to a finished product – including marketing and selling the book. What is your take on this, when compared to the services companies like BRIO offer?

Marino: Publishers like to control their product as much as possible.  That is why they often times will have a ghostwriter work with the author on the project.  They also like to edit, define the target market and design a cover for the defined reader for the title.  Self publishing applies the same business rules but the author is in control of the process the entire time.  BRIO offers all the same services a traditional publisher does with the higher reward for the hard work.

WOP: Although you work for a self-publishing company, can you think of any cases where it might still make sense for an author to publish traditionally?

Marino: The traditional publishing company has the best relationship with people who like to read fiction books.  If you have written a romance novel, it is best to work with a publisher to reach your audience.  The publishing companies have the layout of a fiction book defined for what should be happening by certain parts of the book to keep the reader interested.
Also, professors are required to have their work published.  The university takes a percentage from the sale of the book which is why it is hard to self publish for them as well.

WOP: What are some ways that BRIO is different then other self-publishing companies out there? What services do you offer?

Marino: BRIO separates ourselves from the competition by being passionate about books.  We work with hundreds of authors, not thousands, that want to be successful in publishing.  Our minimum book printing is 500 and most authors print 1,500 – 5,000 books at a time.  Our public relations department works with authors to get them in front of customers through book signings, radio shows and on TV.  It is important to be accessible to the reader and your back story is as important as the book itself.
We establish a marketing plan from the beginning to define who and how we are going to sell your books.  The more planning completed in the beginning of the process the more likely the success.
At BRIO, we actually read the books we work on.  It is important to build a relationship with the author to help their books become a series.  We truly are passionate about books.

For more information on BRIO publishing, check out their website at www.briobooks.com.

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3 Comments on “Q&A: Self-publishing”

  1. ceylanthewriter Says:

    This is very informative, thanks for posting.


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