Although I’ve been without a personal computer for some time. I’ve had my iPad, which has been my savior. It’s allowed me to stay connected. Which I think is something we are all trying to do constantly. Now with a keyboard/docking station for it, I’m able to start posting on the blog with more ease, as well as stay connected to the writing community. One of the thing I’ve followed lately is the competition between self-publishing/e-publishing and traditional publishing.
Self and E publishing is the easier way to go in my opinion. Does it require more work? Yes. You need to take on all the responsibility and work that the publisher would do for you. From what I understand – as I am clearly not an expert – you are in charge of everything. Marketing your own novel, self promotion, advertising, editing, copy editing, distribution, etc, etc. The list goes on. So how do you figure that self and e publishing is the easier way to go you might ask? Well allow me to take this moment to tell you.
The query process is long, and in my opinion, mentally draining. Agents don’t have time to break each query apart and tell you what you did right or wrong. What they have done is given us a great amount of information on how to write a query, the do’s and don’ts, submission policies, etc etc. They have given us all the tools necessary. All that’s left for us to do is write the letter. But Í can’t deny the letter has kept my up at nights at times.
I’ve written, rewritten, edited, posted it on friendly critique sites. But the problem with the critique sites is you need take everything with a grain of salt. You’re getting dozens of opinions, all from different people, who have different writing styles and different thought processes. So each person wants you to change something different and it’s up to you to figure out what stays and what goes.
Then you start submitting and the waiting game begins. Although some agents have impeccable response times, others are a little lacking in the department. Up to 8 weeks for a response. Now granted I’m waiting for them to read one letter, while there are 400 other people waiting for them to read their one letter. Although I understand why the wait exists, I can’t help but dislike it.
Publishing on your own whether in print on electronically is quick. You can do it without even having your book professionally edited (Although this is highly discouraged). With traditional publishing you need to first find an agent, and that can take weeks, months, or years. Then they have to find a publisher and the same timeline applies. Then IF your book gets picked up by a publishing house, it’s 12 – 18 months before it’s put into print. By the time your book hits the market it’s been two years or more since you started shopping it around to agents. That is a disappointing fact but, it’s a part of the business.
So I think self publishing is easier for the simple fact that anyone can do it. The downside is anyone who wants to pound a few keys on a keyboard can have their book available. Although I do believe all the intelligent readers out there are able to sort through the slush and push the deserving books to the top, it makes me feel as though if I self published my novel I won’t have that satisfaction of knowing I’m good enough. Good enough to be selected by said agent, and represented by said publishing house. The experts approved my writing so that means it must be good right? Then again, not ever book published traditionally is a best seller either.
The plus side of traditional publishing is: advances, marketing, editing, and all the things I mentioned above you’d have to do yourself in self publishing is provided by your publishing house. Not to mention you have experts on hand that can help you through trying times, answer questions, and give you some of the knowledge they’ve accumulated over the years.
I’m not suggesting I support either method more than the other. I am doing my reasearch on both. When I finished my first book, traditional was the only way I was going to go. Self publishing wasn’t even an option. Now however, I’m not tossing the idea of self publishing away so easily. If I were to self publish I would definitely pay a professional to edit my book. After all, I don’t want to sell and represent something that isn’t the best it can be. But on the other side, having that knowledge, expertise, and marketing and negotiating power of a good agent and publisher working with me is something I’m not sure you can put a price one. So in the end, I’m undecided.
What about you? What are your thoughts on traditional vs. self publishing? Are you for it or against it, and why? If you’ve already self published some work, what made you decide to do that and if you could do it all over again would you have gone the same route?