Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
What are the factors that authors consider when deciding how to publish their next book?
A well-written article by publishing beat newbie Leslie Kaufman in The New York Times entitled New Publisher Authors Trust: Themselves suggests that it’s money and support services:
…self-publishing will begin to widen its net and become attractive also to more established authors. For one thing, as traditional publishers have cut back on marketing, this route allows well-known figures like Mr. Mamet to look after their own publicity.
Then there is the money. While self-published authors get no advance, they typically receive 70 percent of sales. A standard contract with a traditional house gives an author an advance, and only pays royalties — the standard is 25 percent of digital sales and 7 to 12 percent of the list price for bound books — after the advance is earned back in sales.
Most top-flight authors have so far eschewed such deals because they are paid advances that are large enough to compensate for lower royalties. In addition, traditional publishers have experienced editors to whom writers become attached, sometimes for decades. And they still provide support services like marketing and publicity, even if these services are sometimes not to the authors’ liking.
While money (advance and royalty rate) and support services (editorial, packaging and marketing, for instance) are all important factors when authors are deciding how to publish their next book. But, according to a recent survey we at Digital Book World conducted among nearly 5,000 authors of all stripes, distribution is the No. 1 factor for authors. They want to know that their book can be seen and bought anywhere books are sold — on the Web, on devices and in the physical world.
More information on this particular data point from our survey can be found here: Why Do Authors Choose Publishing or Self-Publishing?
Also, illustrated in this chart below:
Or, if you really want to dive into what authors want, check out the complete report on our survey: What Authors Want: Understanding Authors in the Era of Self-Publishing.