As a writer I’ve published my own books with Penguin and with independent presses.
In my 20+ years in the industry I’ve navigated the path to publish extensively with authors.
When you break down what a traditional publisher – regardless of size and reach and reputation – offers to you, you can start to figure out how or whether you can replace and add certain areas of value yourself.
6 areas to consider the value you bring to publishing are:
Do you have types of capital to outlay for the project? If not, can you hire a team?
Can you hire a team or individuals to give you high-calibre intellectual creativity and collaboration to assure you develop a substantial book?
Can you hire a team, use a printer, or use a free service such as Create Space to assure a product you will be proud of?
Are you a strong project manager – like Dina Falcone was with Foraging and Feasting (the first Kickstarter cookbook to earn more than $100 K) – or will you need to hire a team or project manager to see it through to the end?
CreateSpace, Kindle, Smashwords, and LightningSource/Ingram all are changing the distribution game. That said, it’s nearly impossible for a solopreneur or self-published author to compete with Penguin Random House for distribution channels.
Marketing and publicity
Are you building your market now? Are you building and building up an audience by owning your brand and engaging with real value now? Do you have media savvy or connections? Do you know enough about marketing and publicity to launch your book so that sales will satisfy you?
Are you building out your business and brand in a way to leverage your signature assets so that your book sales fuel and complement other sales and revenue streams? Something to think about.