Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why Wait for a Publisher?

If you have a great book idea, why wait until you find a publisher? Publish it yourself. That's what Elizabeth Skinner Grumbach decided to do when she created travel journals for children. Check out her story.

Of course, self-publishing means learning a whole range of new skills, and it means connecting with a variety of professionals who can handle the tasks you're unable to, or have no interest in. And it means making an investment in terms of your time and money, and it means taking risks.

But, in the end, you might have a book that's highly promotable. Grumbach seems to be getting the hang of book promotion. In fact, Parents magazine ran a story about her three books, and I'm sure Grumbach could gain all the media attention she wanted if she approached parenting editors and producers from coast to coast.

Would the occasional editor or producer tell Grumbach that he/she doesn't cover self-published books? Probably, but the number of media decisionmakers who would turn down a self-published book because it's a self-published books was small to begin with, and it's diminishing all the time.

A book promotion campaign can be highly successful regardless of the publisher. In my experience, a book that's published by one of the well-known print-on-demand publishers has a special challenge when it comes to book promotion, but self-published books don't suffer from the same stigma. There's no history attached to an imprint that you create, which is a challenge -- but it can be a positive challenge if you remember that book promotion is a numbers game, and the more media decisionmakers you contact, the more positive responses you'll receive.

I'm glad that Grumbach, and people like Grumbach, don't feel the need to put their book ideas on hold while they wait for a publisher to show some interest. Publishers are great -- and they can be very helpful with production, marketing, and distribution -- but they don't make or break a book promotion campaign. And they certainly don't make or break a book, either.