I don't have a printing press in my garage. I don't have a building dedicated to TRP but I do have a business license and pay separate taxes on my company.
I don't have employees, I have contractors. Yet, the conception is that if your self-published, your are not a publisher.
People conceive, because I'm self-published, that I'm just doing this gig until a real publisher comes along. I am Rodney Dangerfield.
In fact, we (self-publishers) are all laughed at. I'd like to point you in the direction of Joe Konrath and his blog here.
To all and any who would like to invite me to submit my book to a "real" publisher, I'd like to give you some stats.
I spent five years, six hours, every day--and I mean EVERY DAY Monday-Sunday, 8-16 hours a day doing one thing. Learning how to publish. Oh, I wrote. That was the other 8 hours and the other 16 hours of the week/weekends. I studied, and pored over blogs. I contacted authors, publishers, agents, editors, copy-writers, writing teachers, bloggers, readers, random people in the bookstore all about publishing, writing, and marketing. I asked them questions and the questions I want to concentrate on are the ones I asked agents, publishers and writers.
To writers I asked, are you happy with your publisher?
When face-to-face with a writer I could see the defensive wall come up. Yes, they were happy with there publisher...for the most part...except...
the few exceptions fell to 2 categories.
1) They felt like the pet rat--disrespected, disregarded after the manuscript was in.
2) They felt the 10%-15% of the profit from their book was not worth what they pored into the book.
I'm not really one to write then edit the manuscript until I don't ever want to see it again only to be tossed to the curb and thrown cheese for penance after all that work.
I didn't think other authors wanted to be treated like that either. What I found out was that, yes, the author was thrilled to get a publishing deal! Big time publishers can get you exposure. But, were the authors happy? Eh.
Had they done it themselves, they would have done things differently. And the thing is...not one author that I asked that question to face-to-face tittered with glee. Usually, their smile faded a bit. Defense mechanisms were snapped into place. Ugly masks replaced the sincerety express in their eyes just millaseconds before that question.
I'm a micro-publisher. I don't have a huge budget. I'm funding myself and am putting in all the time I have into TRP. It feels like a treadmill right now. But I'd rather fight than be chained to a book deal, told to rewrite something to what the editor thinks will sell, and given a pat on the head and a Starbucks as pentence for my work. Thank you masssaaa. Naw. Laugh at me. Tell me to submit my manuscript to a real publisher. Belittle my company and tell me I'm nothing. I don't mind. Because I know how business can grow from humble beginnings. (I like to think of the Elora's Cave success story.)
But my authors will always answer with a confident "YES!" if ever asked, are you happy with your publisher?
If any of my authors are not happy, they know they can talk to me. Tell me their concerns. Work out a system they might think will work. I'm willing to try everything. I'm looking to improve. If I fall short of expectations, I'll take measures to make my authors feel cherished.
Here are some posts about the difference between self-published and indie-author: