I was recently approached by a traditional publisher (a top 10 publishing house) asking if I’m interested in giving them the rights to one of my self-published books: Influencing Virtual Teams.
The book has been picking up steam recently because of coronavirus, (apparently because managers want to learn about how to manage the surge of employees who started working from home).
So I’m guessing that the publisher took note of that and reached out directly to ask if I’m interested in a deal.
I said no.
First, I should mention that I’m very fortunate that something like this happened during the crazy times we’re living in.
People are getting sick, losing jobs, and having their lives disrupted.
So getting any opportunity is something I’m super grateful for.
The publisher had several requests, but I had an issue with a few:
- They wanted me to update the book
- They wanted me to delist it and republish it
- They wanted me to increase the price point
All those are valid asks from their perspective. Ultimately, they’re in the business of making money, and I’d probably do the same if I was in their shoes.
But here were my issues.
1) Updating the book
The publisher wanted me to do two things.
First, they wanted me to update the book for current COVID-19 events.
This wasn’t a huge problem for me because I published my book back in 2014, and it could use some updated info.
Second, they wanted me to “beef” it up by adding more words
The book is at around 11,000 words, and they wanted me to increase it to around 25,000 words.
This means that I need to technically write another book
Punching in more words isn’t a big deal for me (as long as it’s not fluff) but my biggest issue is that this would go against my shtick of writing “short books for busy managers.”
2) Delisting & republishing the book
Delisting and republishing means that I would have to remove my book from Amazon and republish it as a new one (under their name as a publisher).
This wasn’t an issue until I found out that I’d lose ALL of my reviews and have to start from scratch.
And apparently, there’s no way to keep or link those reviews with the republished version.
As of this writing, I have 163 reviews, and the book has been trending on the Amazon #1 Bestseller list in 3 categories for the last few weeks.
So if I delist & republish it, I’d lose all the reviews and potentially all that organic traffic that I get from Amazon.
3) Increasing the price point of the book
The publisher wanted me to have a hardcover version listed in the $25+ range.
Although this makes sense to them, I’d actually make way less from that price point than I would from a $5 ebook or $10 paperback.
On average, I make a 70% royalty from Amazon on the ebook version, and around 40% on the paperback version.
With traditional publishing, the royalty is at around 10%.
So that means I’d take a hit on the perception of value and the money.
Because of all of those reasons, I politely declined.
Some of the advantages I lost would include much better distribution (especially globally) and the “prestige” of being associated with a top 10 traditional publisher.
I might change my mind about this in the future (maybe with a brand new book just to test things out). However, at this point in time and with my current self-published book, those advantages were not worth it for me.
P.S. I’m self-publishing another book and donating profits to COVID-19 efforts. If you’d like to tag along, click here.