When it comes to the publishing industry, I have pretty much seen it all: self-publishing, traditional publishing, and everything in between. I self-published my first book in high school, had a book traditionally published in college, and started my own publishing company in grad school. I think about how much I didn’t know about the industry when I was just a starry-eyed high schooler writing a book, and when I talk to people about publishing now, there are misconceptions about the industry I hear over and over.
1. There are usually between 600,000 and 1,000,000 book published per year in the US. Yes, that’s a lot of books. And that number keeps growing. Because of the ease of self-publishing allowing more authors to share their work and new niches and topics to write about all the time, there is a big market for book publishing. Also, of course, the internet has been a tremendous help in helping people to connect with publishers or learn about the publishing industry on their own to get their books out there.
Of course this means that there is big competition for authors, which brings us to the next pointl…
2. You Probably Won’t Sell a Million Copies unless you’re a Kardashian or Trump or some other non-authory celebrity. The point is new authors so rarely make that million books sold mark that it is like winning the lottery. That is why book sales are really not the best marker to determining an author’s success. Instead, book reviews are a better indicator. Amazon has been doing a good job of keeping phoney reviews out of their website, going so far as to actually sue those who were being paid to review books. While not all book reviews are created (they are based on someone’s opinion), if a book has some good reviews on Amazon, that is a pretty good indicator that it is a good book.
3. Being Published Doesn’t Automatically Make You Famous.
As you may have guessed by the stats of just how many people publish books per year, being an author does not equate to fame. I learned the hard way. I self-published a book in high school, and when the paparazzi didn’t start stalking me, I just assumed that it was because I was self-published, and there is a stigma around self-publishing. So, I wrote a new book and started sending queries to publishing houses. When my book was picked up by one, I figured this was my big break. Again, no dice. At least not in the earth shattering can’t walk down the street sort of fame people imagine authors having. I did get to be in some newspapers and magazines and do readings at Barnes & Noble, so that is a nice mini taste of ‘the good life.’ If authors are prepared realistically about their chances of fame (which are slim to none) they will really appreciate the smaller things (like local readings and signings or when someone actually Tweets about your book.)
4. You Probably Won’t Be Published by the Big Four book publishers. And even if you are, if you’re not famous, you’re probably not going to have a bestseller.
The big four are so selective. They’re like ivy league colleges, only there’s a lot more competition and it’s even tougher to get in. An agent can help, but you really need to have a large following on social media and be pretty notable. These companies have different tiers of authors and if you are a new author who is lucky enough to be published, you won’t get the same treatment as big name authors. You will have to do a lot of work and promotion yourself, because having that publisher’s big name behind you is your reward. Oh, and about author advances, you probably won’t get one.
5. Books Aren’t Dying.
Don’t believe everything that you read. Contrary to what some will have you believe, the book industry is not dying. It is changing, but not dying. There may not be as many brick and mortar bookstore, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t reading books. In fact, more people read today than ever.
6. Self-Publishing is Not Ruining the Publishing industry.But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a stigma attached to it. Don’t let that discourage you, though, because there are many quality self-published books.
Self-publishing is introducing more and more people to the literary world. That is bringing more books of varied topics to the world and spreading many new ideas not previously talked about. It’s actually pretty incredible to think just how amazing all these new ideas are and how they are shaping the world, especially through their ease of sharing online.
7. The Publishing Industry Unveils More New Products than Any Other Industry Every Year.
You probably don’t think of it, but every book is a product. It must be designed, produced, manufactured, delivered…they are products like any other. Can you imagine if there were 600,000–1,000,000 new models of cars released in the US every year? I don’t think we would have room for them.
8. E-books are Not Replacing Paperback Books.
There are two types of people: eBook readers and paperback readers…or are there? Many readers like to use both. eBooks are great when you are traveling and do not want to carry an obscene amount of books, but can anything ever really compare to the sweet smell of a nice paperback? For a while, eBooks were looking like they were going to outdo paperbacks, but that trend seems to be reversing, as the two forms are now pretty well matched.
9. Book Publishers are Not Publicists.
Back in the pre-Internet era, a lot of publishers would do a lot of publicity for authors, and they still do. BUT now it is also on the author to get publicity and promote themselves. Most authors become their own brand-like entity, forming powerful social media personalities and promoting that way. That is something a publisher, no matter how good, just could not do for an author. Heck, some authors are even known to hire their own publicist in addition to their publisher. But the publisher does give something self-publishing does not provide: notoriety.
10. There are Many Ways to Write and Publish a Book.There’s not just self-publishing. There’s not just big four publishing. There are also indie publishers (like GenZ Publishing), where you get the best of both worlds of self publishing and big publishing. See, with an indie publisher, you have more creative control than you do at a big publisher, and the avoidance of being labeled a self-published author. With an indie publisher you are a published author.
By Morissa Schwartz
Morissa Schwartz is owner of GenZ Publishing (GenZPublishing.org). She is an author, Guinness World Record Breaker, singer, and proud semi-colon supporter. Morissa has a website at MorissaSchwartz.com. You can follower her on Twitter @MorissaSchwartz and on Instagram atMorissa_Schwartz.
This is your guide to the gig economy: what it is, how it is revolutionizing work, what its future looks like, and what this can mean for you and your personal financial success.
The gig economy encompasses individuals performing freelancing ‘gigs,’ normally from the comfort of their own homes. Freelancer, Fiverr, and Upwork are among the most popular places for freelancers to find work; although, there are new freelancing opportunities every day. These types of gigs are giving people the freedom to work for themselves at any time and place that they please, as opposed to the traditional 9-5 model of office work. How will the gig economy affect the future of employment and entrepreneurship?
By Morissa Schwartz
Media is changing our language, and it is up to us to preserve it. Take it from me, a proud advocate of and for generation Z and young millennials. There are so many news reports and articles about how our language is changing “for the worse.” However, with a proactive approach, we can be sure that it progresses for the better. We can use new media to share our innovative ideas through carefully crafted words.
The internet has allowed many people who would have never written in a public forum to share their ideas with the masses. This means that we are connected with writers’ words from around the world. The very idea that I can read a guide about meditation by a writer from Africa, a paranormal romance book by an independent author residing in the UK, and an eBook about vampires by a young author in New York City (all books that I did read this week) is a truly magical idea that our ancestors could have never dreamed of. The ease of finding such varied topics written by authors of all nations is a great opportunity to create a smarter, more well-rounded, and more connected society. However, without properly curated content, this will not be possible.
My concern and the concern of many copyeditors is the ease of sending and receiving this information, which causes the quality of some content to decline. It is all too easy to publish a work with errors. I see many “they’re” and “their” mix-ups, incorrect adverb usage, and careless misspellings on a daily basis that could have been easily avoided with just a bit more time and attention to the work. I cite this as proof of how we must be more careful when crafting our content and why copyeditng is crucial.
Copyediting is more important than ever. Instead of information overload and saturation, if we put more thought into what was released, we would all benefit from the higher quality of content. Copyediting is a crucial step in the process of releasing the best content possible, and there are many talented copyeditors who are dedicated to working diligently on such content. Technology has afforded more people the opportunity to copyedit because of this increase in online materials and ease of connecting with others. I began freelance copyediting when I was still in high school. Each essay and article I copyedited varied in topic, and I would help the authors shape their works into something that would add societal value. When a work is free of errors, it appeals to the reader, unlike works with blatant errors that negate an author’s intentions.
The future of language is still evolving. As the Internet and technology develop, so will our communication. We must be more mindful of the information we release, as to preserve the English language. This means that copyediting is more important than ever. It is only through the thoughtfulness of copyediting that we can release our best work.
There is a war going on, and it involves clashing publishing forms: self-publishing versus publishers. I have published books both ways, and in my experience, there is a clear winner. Before revealing that winner, let me break down each process.
I self-published my first book in high school. All expenses were my own, but all profits (often not the case) were also my own. I hired someone to format the book on a freelancing website and worked many hours perfecting that book. Once it was time to publish, that was on me too. I published through CreateSpace, and the process was tough navigating through all the parameters to successfully publish a book, from figuring out proper formatting for book size to eBook conversion. After that, I had to promote and market my book. I was so excited that I was finally a published author, only….it felt like no one else saw it that way. Being self-published gave me no notoriety. I remember how embarrassed I was when I called a bookstore hoping to do a reading and they said that self-published authors were not allowed to do readings at their shop. Every other bookstore I contacted said the same thing. But it wasn’t just the shops who did not take my self-published work seriously. People had the attitude that it was “cute” that I published my own book at such a young age, but none went “wow.” Not to mention my profits or lack thereof. Being my own publisher meant that I had few resources to promote my book, which meant fewer sales for me. That is why when I wrote my next book, I knew it needed to be published with a publisher.
Finding a publisher is not an easy task, but I was fortunate enough to be signed by VIP Ink Publishing, a mid-sized publisher out of Louisiana. The week after I was signed, I was asked what I wanted my cover to look like, and then VIP created that cover. A short while after later, I was sent my files after they were carefully edited and formatted. Following that, I received my proof in the mail. The process was already better than self-publishing. I did not have to worry about how to hire someone to format my book or how to edit it properly. VIP did that for me. The best part was when I told people that my book was being published by VIP, I got the ‘wow.’ Bookshops approached me about having signings there. While of course there are profits to share with VIP and expenses that had to be recouped, I and my book are in much better shape than they were when I self-published. I have less worries and more notoriety.
That is why I started GenZ Publishing. I was fortunate to have VIP publish my book, but there are too few companies out there that publish authors like myself.
You pave the way for the future with the pride of having someone else believe enough in your work to publish it.
The main criticism that GenZ gets is that we recoup a portion of expenses from authors’ royalties. Those writers would have to pay every cent out of pocket if they were self-publishing while not getting the recognition or having the reach that we have. Another criticism we get is that we require our authors to purchase author copies of their books, but this is for the simple fact that we want them to do those bookstore readings that I didn’t get to do when I was self-published. I want them to walk into a university or bookshop with their book copies in hand and sign them for readers, so that they can get the amazing pride that comes with being a published author. So to answer the above question: publishing wins out over self-publishing in every way possible. Nothing beats a reader approaching you after a reading and stating how much you inspire them.
Being published by a publisher, even if there are not great profits for the author, paves the way for future opportunities. Young people and new writers do not seem to command the respect that many deserve for their writing unless they are published by someone other than themselves. Anyone can self-publish anything, no matter how grammatically incorrect, poorly formatted, or weak their content is. A first grader can self-publish their spelling test, but a publishing company wants to be successful and makes sure that each book is something that the world would like to read.
And that is why I write.
GenZ Publishing Founder
“Last June, after graduating from Drew University, I was all set to begin my life as a grad student at NYU. I had my acceptance letter in hand when I decided that this was not actually the school for me. It was time for a new plan.
I was in the process of having VIP Ink Publishing publish my book, but at the same time, I saw so many young writers and students with talent not getting the recognition that they deserved. I realized how difficult it is for new and young writers to be published. And thus, GenZ Publishing was born.
I started writing up my business plan. I showed it to my father (Leon), an entrepreneur himself, who encouraged me more than anyone could possibly dream. He gave me advice and steered me in the right direction. I kept planning my business for months, while I began graduate study at Monmouth University. Then, VIP Ink released my book, and it became a bestseller. That reinforcement reignited my need to help other talented new writers get published.
I officially launched GenZ on November 23. I had no marketing budget or allowance. I only had my work ethic. I began promoting my new company via social media. I would often stay up until 4am, trying to find the perfect new writers for my company and ways to make GenZ a success.
Then, in December, I received an email from Kevin W. Peery who had written an incredible poetry book. I was a huge fan of Mr. Peery’s music (If you haven’t heard “Life’s Too Short,” you’re really missing out) and decided that he would be GenZ’s first published author. I am so glad I did.
Mr. Peery’s book is now in the top 10 of Amazon’s Hot New Releases for American Poetry, and I could not be prouder.
The past couple months have felt like years in how quickly GenZ has grown. We now have twelve signed authors and have gotten dozens of query letters in the past few weeks. The authors have formed an amazing community and are such talented and kind individuals. We are publishing everything from supernatural thriller to autobiographical inspirational books to YA sci-fi.
GenZ has grown so quickly to become something even better than I could have possibly imagined. I am so thankful and cannot wait to see what happens next.”
Read the always awesome interview with David Hornsby (Cricket) that Morissa conducted here.
Morissa is proud to announce her new position as writer for the Nerd Approved websites! These posts center around fun yet smart topics you’re sure to enjoy.
The new year is bringing some great talent to you. Morissa’s publishing company, GenZ Publishing, is preparing for the release of some great books in the beginning of the new year. Learn more about them here.
From GenZ Publishing:
- R.J. Rogue will thrill you with this new spin on vampires in Evanescence, a book about a late-blooming vampire from New York named Evan, Macrae who has trouble accepting his reality. It is a supernatural, yet relatable novel that you won’t be able to put down.
- Learn about growing up and how to get through even the toughest of times with K.W. Perry’s poetry collection, Tales of a Receding Hairline.Perry is a prolific musician, and his book of poetry is just as enthralling.
- Thinking about writing a book? How about getting your writing published? Have you fallen victim to writer’s block? Then, the new bookWriting for the New Generation by GenZ Publishing founder and ‘Voice of Generation Z,’ Morissa Schwartz is the book for all you writers out there.