The Gamble of Publishing Your Book

Do you remember the movie Maverick with Mel Gibson and James Garner? It was a Wild West movie about high stacks gambling on a river boat. There was a $25,000 entry fee to play with a potential take of a ¼ of million dollars to the winner. That was an enormous amount of money to ante up for a one in one hundred chance of winning. Basically, 99 of those people flushed that money down the tube without any hope of recouping their initial investment.

Talk about a gamble!

Now think about your wonderful book that you’ve spent hundreds, even thousands of hours toiling over until you typed the satisfying last words: The End. It is time to get your story in the hands of readers around the globe, what kind of gamble are you willing to take when it comes to publishing your book.

I was doing a little bit of research on the odds of getting a named publishing house to pick up a book for production and the numbers are staggeringly against a first time writer.

Wendy Keller, a literary agent, wrote an article about the Odds of Being Published and shares these numbers:

1) Agencies typically reject 99.5 of everything they see. Out of close to 500 queries a month (electronic and surface mail) we receive, we invite perhaps 50 proposals for review. Out of that fifty, perhaps one or sometimes two is ready to be delivered to publishers.

2) Editors take projects from agents. There are about 1600 agents in the USA, and only about 25% of us are actually actively selling books. There are only about 20 editors tops for any particular subject in the major New York houses – all totaled! These same 20 people receive projects from hundreds of agents. Do the math and consider how many they see in a year!

Mark O’Bannon tells an even bleaker tale in his article What Are the Odds of Getting Published:

Literary agents receive thousands upon thousands of submissions. Editors are swamped with manuscripts. Publishers already have a long line of books ready to go and only a fraction of these books will actually make money.

A literary agent may get 5,000 query letters a year. Only a fraction of these will lead to the agent requesting the manuscript. If you think about it, an agent reading one out of a hundred submissions must read 50 books every year!

So What Is The Answer?

At this point you may be thinking “why bother writing the book to begin with?” However, I have a better option.

Take control of the process. Consider self-publishing your book. When you self-publish, you are able to:

  • Hire an editor to help polish your manuscript
  • Determine the layout and cover design
  • Decide when the book will hit the stands
  • Speed up the process – you are focused only on your manuscript, not hundreds of others
  • Set the price
  • Create an e-book option for sales on e-readers

Did you know?

You can potentially make more money self-publishing than being published. In a traditional publishing arrangement, you are paid an author royalty (roughly 7.5%) on each book sold, based on the retail selling price of your book. However, if you self-publish, you could earn up to 100% of all profits, depending on your distribution mix.

How to Get Started

There are a number of online self-publishing websites you can explore and attempt to navigate the process alone, however, helping authors successful self-publish their work is Halo Publishing’s entire focus.

Since 2002, Halo Publishing International has established itself as a leader in the publishing industry. We have helped countless authors realize their dreams while bringing the best published books to a worldwide audience. Whether your book is science fiction, faith based, a children’s book, or a how-to manual, Halo Publishing International is the publisher for you!

I invite you to give us a call or check out our website where you’ll find over 500 authors who have successfully self-published their books with Halo’s help.

Bottom Line: you’ve worked hard to craft your book and now it needs to get in the hands of the intended audience. You can go the route of traditional publishing houses, sending copies of your manuscript to agents and editors in hopes that they even open the envelope or you can take matters into your own hands and self-publish.


Are you willing to gamble on your hard work or go for the “sure thing?”