Recently, I have reviewed three books. All three books have listed a publisher. Only one book was published by an actual publishing company (at least, as far as I can tell).
I’ve seen the advice that authors who self-publish should create their own publishing company. I’ve seen the advice that authors who self-publish should invent a publisher. The first two books (as near as I can tell) followed the latter advice, and I must object to that practice.
Simply put, it’s a lie.
But why is that advice even out there?
Self-publishers still have a bad name. Self-publishing is still akin to poor quality and amateurish efforts. While there’s certain ample evidence of that, there is also ample evidence that self-publishing can be a smart business decision selected by committed writing professionals to maximize their profits while providing a quality product (i.e., the book).
Assuming the credibility of having a publisher by inventing a publisher-in-name-only creates the illusion of a traditionally published book, without providing any of the truth behind that illusion.
In short, it’s a lie. There’s this problem (bad reputation) and there’s this solution (lie to distinguish oneself from those with the bad reputation). And it’s still a lie.
Now, this post isn’t going to go into the pros and cons of creating a publishing company. I’ll just say that it can be done and it involves more than just a name and that this, too, is a business decision.
The point of this post is different though. Advertising, in particular, is notorious for creating illusions. Every time you see a sexy something or other using a product in a commercial, the advertisers are creating the illusion that, if you use this product, you will be sexier, too, or that you’ll get the sexy something or other, or something along those lines (it varies with the advertisement, the product, but I’m sure you get the picture). It’s an illusion. There is no reality behind it. And a lot of people are getting tired of those illusions. Yet, we’re inundated with them.
Is that how you want to sell your books? Do you want a reader to find out you lied to them and have that influence their buying decisions?
Trust is a precious thing and trust is essential for repeat sales. There’s got to be a better way than creating an illusion of publisher’s support to sell self-published books.