Five Reasons Why Best-Selling Authors Are Going Direct

Illustration for article titled Five Reasons Why Best-Selling Authors Are Going Direct

Many best-selling authors are going direct by publishing through epublishers instead of traditional publishing companies. Here's why.


The latest news has reflected a shift in best-selling authors who publish their manuscripts through epublishers rather than traditional publishing companies, and it's for a good reason. Readers are chomping at the bits for ebooks. Just recently the Association of American Publishers reported that ebook sales have increased by 176 percent in 2009, while print-book sales continues to decrease. The list of benefits for ebook writers is endless, but one major upside is that the authors are taking home more of the book sale profits. Not to mention that the editing process is simplified and that ebooks are produced much, much quicker. It also helps that authors have more control during the entire book production process and access to a whole new audience. The publishing industry is paying attention to the major move, including traditional publishers. More and more literary agencies, such as Andrew Wylie's agency, have plans to start agencies that deal exclusively with epublishers. It's no wonder why more authors are going direct.

You'll Have a Book Published in No Time

In traditional publishing the process can take years. Just waiting for a publishing company to even give your manuscript a look takes up a big chunk of time. As for epublishing companies the process is a lot faster. Online publishing outlets provide authors with a magnitude of tools at their fingertips. Writers can upload their content to the site, send it off to a network of editors and receive edits within days or even hours. Once the copy is cleaned up, authors can publish their books in a matter of a month. It's a plus for writers who want their time-sensitive books to keep their relevance. But it isn't only authors who see benefits. Readers do, too. Book enthusiasts can instantly download an ebook upon its release, instead of driving to the closest bookstore.

Epublishing is a More Cost Effective Route

Authors love to hear that. Every penny counts, and creating books through epublishers drastically curbs the expenses related to printing. Think about all those manuscripts you have to print to send to publishers or copy editors? Also add costs associated with getting the material into their hands. Through epublishers, writers can ping editors their rough drafts in a matter of seconds. By selecting an online publisher, not only do you see a cost savings, but you also cut down your use of paper and ink. Printed books use three times more raw materials. Also, ebook companies offer more book sale royalties to authors compared to cost of going with traditional publishers. For example, on average lets authors walk away with 80 percent of money accumulated from book sales when sold directly through their site. That's a steal. And another advantage for readers is most ebooks are usually cheaper to purchase than print-books - sometimes ebooks are offered for free.

You're the Main Honcho

From start to finish, authors who take the epublishing highway have the final say in all decisions related to their books. Once written, writers select who they want to edit their copy. They are also 100 percent in charge of a book's marketing and of where they want to sell the book. Next-generation publishers provide writers with an extensive list of eRetailers where they can sell their books. Authors get to decide how much a book should cost and they are no longer at the whim of what traditional publishers would want to charge for a book. What this all means is authors have fewer contracts and more choices in the direction they want to take with their product.


Access to a Bigger, More Diverse Audience

Ebook authors find themselves exposed to a whole new category of readers – readers in love with technology. It's huge that authors have the option of including graphics, audio, short video clips, music and animation with their books. While writers can still utilize the conventional way of selling books through bookstores and personal websites, they can also reach out to even more people by interacting with, let's say, bloggers. Most bloggers have a review section on their blogs, and what better and quicker way to get them a book than sending them a copy through e-mail? Once a review is posted, followers will take notice of the book and will most likely be compelled to buy a copy and post on their own blog. And ebooks are great option for people always on the go. Readers living extremely busy lives might not have as much time to visit bookstores. The process is simple –download books on computer in the comfort of your own home. Did you know that people are reading more in general because of the ebook option? A survey conducted by the Book Industry Study Group found that 51 percent of eReader owners increased their ebook purchases in the past year.


Flexibility for the Future

Going digital and hosting books in the cloud and digital formats provides authors with a much easier editing process. Before online publishers took the world by storm, it was difficult for writers to make edits to their manuscripts. Then they have to reprint tons of copies for editors to review once again. In this day and age it's easier to make edits. Writers can now select print-on-demand and indicate how many copies they want to print. What's impressive is that edits will automatically be updated on any eReader, such as Kindle, Nook or iPad, and epublishers can make the guarantee that a book can fit with whatever new reading device comes out in the future.


Michael Ashley (a.k.a. "Mash"), is the author of iPad Publishing Guide: Write, Publish and Sell Your Book on the Apple iPad with FastPencil. Now available on: Kindle, iPad, and


Mash is Founder & Chief Technology Officer at FastPencil, Inc. which helps authors connect, write, publish and distribute books with just a few clicks. He is a successful entrepreneur with over 12 years experience in web applications and Internet publishing. Mash is responsible for innovation and product strategy at FastPencil. In this role, Mash has transformed the company from an online writing tool, to the only end-to-end social self-publishing platform with multi-channel, multi-format distribution. In his free time you can find him stand-up paddle surfing in his hometown, Santa Cruz.


...and one big reason if you're a serious author with hopes of having books in real stores why you won't go direct: if you self publish, no publisher will ever print you.

In music it;s easy, since new material is free of complications based on older material. You can publish an album yourself, then a new album with a firm, and a third with someone else.

In books, publishers have a lot to fear publishing new works when you are already published, as any characters, worlds, etc might carry from book to book, and that causes MAJOR headaches with contracts, licensing, movie deals, and more. If you publish by yourself, a publisher might carry a later book, but you might retain a LOT more rights than you did otherwise, or you negotiate a higher fee, or you have other deals inked for merchandising and licensing. You;re complex. There's 10,000 want-to-be authors looking for a few spots on shelves, and in an instant they'll pick a new unheard of author as opposed to a self published one any day. Also, when they print a new author, then can say "previously unpublished" or "new" and they can't do that if you;re published.

The printing industry is very old-school, and it is NOT going to bend over to these new kids. Yes, many self published authors will get lots of copies sold. Many of them may even make more than some authors backed by a press house. Those self published however won't see shelf space, will never be NYT bestsellers, will never have a real book to hold in their hand as a trophy, won't do book signings and get paid to run the circuit (often making more money than the books sold do), and will never have the support of a firm when negotiating licensing deals, movie/TV contracts and more.

I know several published authors. Every single one warned me to never self publish. I know a few who tried, who I consider to be better than most currently published authors. They can't get an house to even read one of their manuscripts, let alone pick one up for publishing. They're entirely on their own, doomed to limited eInk sales.