So you have a manuscript or an idea and you want to know how your book will ever reach an audience. You’re asking yourself “How in the world will I ever get published?” Let’s take a look at your options and the straight-forward path to publishing offered by Redemption Press.

In the almost 30 years I’ve been involved in the Christian publishing industry, I’ve seen drastic changes in the publishing landscape for Christian authors. In today’s world, should you self-publish or pursue a royalty publisher contract? That is a question I will endeavor to answer in this blog post.

Should I self-publish or pursue a royalty publisher?

I believe today, more than ever, most authors won’t ever even have a choice of garnering a contract from a true royalty publisher. Because of this fact, your decision to self-publish should be an educated one where the result is a professionally produced book that has the greatest opportunity possible to reach its intended audience.

Back in the early 90’s, self-publishing, especially in the Christian publishing industry, had absolutely no credibility. It was almost on par with a four-letter word in the way editors and authors viewed it. Disdain was the closest emotion I could describe when I experienced how most professionals thought of it…it was nothing short of vanity publishing.

It was hard to get published by a traditional royalty publisher back then, and even harder now. These days, you pretty much have to have an agent to land a contract with the large Christian publishers. And to get an agent, you pretty much have to attend a writer’s conference and sell yourself to them. And how do you do that? You pretty much have to be a really, really good writer, have the potential for multiple books, and on top of that, have a large following (or platform as we call it) so the publisher can see they won’t have to sell all the books themselves — your ready-made audience is something most publishers require that you bring to the negotiating table.

Self-publishing vs. royalty contract

In the 21st century, there are some significant reasons to consider self-publishing vs getting a royalty contract:

SPEED:

Turn-around time is typically six months or less with professional self-publishing, but with traditional publishers you’re looking at 18 months to two years.

CONTROL:

With self-publishing, you retain the editorial and creative rights, but with royalty publishers they decide what to leave in the book and what to edit out, what it will look like — in reality, all the final decisions are up to them.

PROFIT:

When you self-publish you underwrite the publishing project and so you receive the profits rather than a small royalty. 35-50% return when you take the risk, and 8-15% when the royalty publisher does. Even if you’re not in it for the money, when you are making the profit, you are able to invest more into getting the message out from the returns you receive.

MARKETING:

When you self-publish, you take responsibility for getting the message out there, and you get paid well with each book sold. Royalty publishers earmark their marketing dollars for the big named authors, so most often for unknown authors, there’s no budget of marketing dollars or publicity time…you’re pretty much on your own to promote even though you still only make a small royalty.

PRODUCT / RESOURCE:

If you have a ministry or do some speaking, having a resource to help your audience is a key function if you expect your message to be a resource to others. With self-publishing, you should be able to purchase copies of your book at the printing cost and either sell them at the retail price, or give them away if you want. If you are even able to get a royalty contract, you typically will only receive between 40 and 60% off the retail price when you buy product for your own book table or ministry. What you pay per copy will be a whole lot more than the printing price, I promise.

IT MAY BE YOUR ONLY OPTION:

Let’s face it. Landing a contract with a large Christian royalty publisher, while it may be your preference, isn’t likely to be a reality. Today with print on demand and eBook publishing, there are many affordable ways to get published, and frankly, it may be your only option. If you do it right, with proper coaching, without skimping on editing, professional cover and interior design, proper distribution and marketing options, then it can be a great experience and opportunity for you to fulfill God’s call on your life to share the message He has given you.

Those are pretty much the same reasons I cited in 1995 in my book, “You Can Do It! A Guide to Christian Self-Publishing.” Back then self-publishing was just beginning to be considered a viable option. Now, here we are, 20 years later, and self-publishing is the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, bar none. The downside, however, is it’s much too easy to get published these days. All you have to do is upload a word document, press a button, and voila…you’re a published author! The problem there is the lack of quality control and significant guidance and coaching to insure the final product is professional and actually worth publishing. On the other hand, there are many “Christian publishers” who offer high priced publishing packages and promise the moon while delivering the minimum in order to fulfill their contract. Suffice it to say, there is much to be aware of so you don’t get taken advantage of.

I’d like to invite you to do your due diligence and make sure you know the kinds of contracts and companies to avoid. I’ve produced two webinars entitled the Publishing Jungle that would be well worth your time to view. As you look around and compare, you’ll see that Redemption Press offers a different model, where you are able to choose the services you actually need rather than a one-size-fits-all package for publishing. Every manuscript is unique, and each author needs varying degrees of help and coaching to ensure the message reaches the audience it was meant for. That truly is what sets us apart from many other self-publishers out there, and we are proud to be a change agent in an industry that has become very profitable for the publisher, but not as much for the author.

Authors who made the decision to self-publish with Redemption Press:

Ben Bates, author of “From Despair to Victory”
The cost of getting my book on the market through Redemption; the kindness with which I was treated and the swiftness of it all was beyond my expectation. I am thoroughly pleased with every moment of time I have spent with the leadership of Redemption Press.
Donald Henderson, author of “God Signs: The Bible in a Nutshell”
Very speedy service! The finished product is so professionally done; I am delighted to have it as a ministry tool … the Kingdom of God has been greatly advanced because of (Redemption Press’) obedience. Surely ‘others will need the road’ and many are already using it!
Chris Grummitt, author of “Sweet Sanctity”
I cannot fully express the joy of dealing with someone who actually responds to my requests. You are the first publisher I have dealt with who has actually treated me like an associate. Thank you!
With Redemption Press, our solutions specialists will walk you through determining the best services for your situation. You’ll then work with your own personal project manager who will hold your hand as you walk through the publication process. We believe in the personal touch…we don’t require you to work through a sterile and impersonal website or email only. We are here to help you each step of the way, and look forward to being part of your publishing journey, as the Lord leads!

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