Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thomas Nelson’s Self-Publishing announcement

Michael Hyatt surprised the publishing world with his announcement about their new self-publishing program and about using their imprint name, WestBow. Some authors are worried that this will give hurt the credibility of the already published books under that imprint. Both Michael Hyatt and Rachelle Gardner have interesting blogs on this whole subject of self-publishing and the WestBow imprint. Michael explained that Thomas Nelson didn’t think about the effect it would have on their published authors, but simply used the name because they have thousands of dollars invested in the rights to that name. My opinion is that it will not hurt the previous authors’ sales or reputations.

Self-Publishing has been around for many years in various forms. Some publishers have had a co-publishing agreement with some of their authors. The authors would buy 5,000 books which would help cover the costs of producing the book. The books were edited by their editors and the book covers were done by their graphic artists. This worked well with people in ministry who sold books when they traveled and spoke in churches or offered their books on their radio or television programs. If people were not speakers then they could easily have 5,000 books in their garages and that wasn’t a good thing. Marketing has always been the answer to selling books. It still is, even with major royalty publishers. Our clients who speak and promote their books are the ones who sell books and pay back their advances.

After I started Hartline Marketing I was asked by Spring Arbor, the largest Christian distributor at that time, to become a vendor with them. They asked me to take people who had small companies with 10 or less books and others who had self-published books under the umbrella of Hartline Marketing and help them market their books. Since I was an independent sales rep I could just include these books in my sales presentations for my larger publishers. We created co-op ads and placed them in magazines and in Spring Arbor’s and other distributor’s marketing packets. The program worked well until Spring Arbor was sold to Ingram. I don’t know of anyone who offers this service to self-publishers at this time.

I helped WinePress Publishing get their books into Spring Arbor’s system at that time. WinePress was one of the leaders in CBA in combining some marketing with self-publishing. Xulon was one of the next ones. Tate Publishing is another one. These companies get the books into the distributors and into some bookstores. However, Bookstores sales are not easy, buyers want bestsellers on their shelves. Again, the bulk of the marketing was and is on the shoulders of the authors, as it still is today.

Strang has their Creation House imprint, which is self-publishing; they call it co-publishing. Creation House was Strang’s first publishing imprint when they began publishing books. Much like Thomas Nelson they used an imprint they had already used. Thomas Nelson is a respected publisher and if you want to self-publish, their program looks good. Go to the WestBow web site and check it out. Programs run from $999.00 to $6,499.00.

We’ll talk about this more later – it’s time to say so long for now.

In Him,


Jeanette Levellie said...

Joyce: Thanks for your take on this. I was not surprised when I read Michael's post. I believe it will prove to be a win-win for TN and those who want to publish but have had challenges breaking in to traditional markets.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I've been watching all the activity on ACFW and Michael's blog. It's an interesting turn of events.

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Thanks for the update and your point of view. All kinds of interesting things going on in publishing these days.

milliens said...
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milliens said...

For an already self-published author like I am, this is excellent news! When I speak, I've found that my audience (who become my readers) don't care who's published my books, but bookstores and others in the book business often do. So this is just one more big step up for self-published authors and their books. YAY! Thanks, Joyce, for your positive take on this issue. (All that said, I still daily hope and pray to be published by a traditional publisher. And I'm trusting the Lord and awesome agent Diana to get me one.)