The cost of self publishing a book

It always intrigues me when people are confused (or, oddly enough, sometimes even belligerent) about the fact that companies charge service fees for “things” that can be done directly at the source for less than what the company charges.  For example, some people wonder why we charge $99 for something that can be done independently for less, with some knowledge and time.    It makes me wonder if these people truly believe their car costs $25,000 to make.

It also reminds me of an old joke:  This government manager was over-seeing a nuclear reactor when one of the warheads started to overheat. In fact, it got so critical that if something wasn’t done very soon to correct the problem, the warhead was going to explode, killing thousands of people!  The manager opened the control panel but was confronted with a dizzying array of knobs, lights, and switches.  So he called the contractor who had installed the warhead and asked for help.  The contractor arrived and looked at the warhead for a moment and said, “I can solve this problem for you, and it’s going to cost $25,000.”

The warhead heated up some more.  They were running out of time.  In fact, the warhead was so hot, any wrong move would set it off.  “Fine, fine,” the manager said. “Do whatever it takes. Just hurry!”

The contractor reached into the control panel and flipped one of the switches.    The warhead returned to normal almost immediately.  Crisis adverted. “That will be $25,000,” the contractor said.  “I’ll send you a bill.”

“$25,000?!?” the manager screamed.  “You didn’t do anything! All you did was flip a switch!” 

The contractor calmly said, “Yes, that $25,000 is for knowing WHICH switch.” 

You can build your own house, or you can pay a home builder with the know-how to do it for you.  You can do your own taxes, or you can pay a service fee to an accountant with know-how to do it for you. You can publish your own book, or you can pay a service fee to a self-publishing firm with the know-how to do it for you.   Some people want to be publishers. Others simply want to be published. And never the twain shall meet.

See you next year.