It’s essential that entrepreneurs understand the pros and cons of publishing vs self-publishing, and how agents and publishing companies work when an entrepreneur is ready to publish a book.
In this episode of the Published Author Podcast, Kerry McDonald, author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom, explains that the choice a writer makes will depend on their timelines and end goals.
Unschooled and Kerry’s first book, Your Unique Wedding, were published by traditional publishers. But she self-published Choosing Home, an edited anthology of essays by moms who decided to be stay-at-home parents. And her next series of books—part of her new teachcapitalism.com project—will be self-published, too.
Top Takeaway: Understanding Publishing vs Self-Publishing
Getting her teachcapitalism.com project books out quickly is Kerry’s priority, and she says self-publishing is the best way to accomplish this goal. (If this part interests you, check out Ep 0004 with Connor Boyack, talking about his Tuttle Twins series).
“I want to have a lot of books, and to be able to have that quantity and have them out for people. In this case, self-publishing is the right way to go to build up that particular website.”
With traditional publishing, it can take up to two years for a writer’s book to appear on Amazon and in bookstores.
“Typically, it takes about a year, unless you’re sort of a celebrity, or something is timely in the news,” notes Kerry. “But for most of us, it takes about a year from submitting your finished manuscript to the publisher, to having your book on the shelves.”
When writers opt for a traditional publisher, they usually need an agent to connect them with a respected publishing house. A publishing house can add credibility and will really help with distribution. Traditional publishers also give some help with publicity, tours, and PR.
However, this route may result in a writer losing control over their book’s final title and cover design, which can be hard for some authors to swallow.
A Writer’s Journey
Kerry also discusses what motivates her to write. With Unschooled, the book began as a series of blog posts about homeschooling after the birth of her first child. As she became more of an expert on the subject, she decided to put her ideas into a book for parents and educators.
With the teachcapitalism.com project, Kerry thinks that capitalism’s successes are sometimes maligned, and that parents want to offer alternatives to their children.
“Parents are looking for more of these tools, particularly parents of young children, that can help them to offer different viewpoints around economic progress and prosperity than their kids may be getting elsewhere,” she explains.
Kerry and host Josh Steimle also explore other important topics for writers, including how to build a portfolio, and the power of a well written proposal, and why it’s important to begin writing when you are young.
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