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Writer's Corner > Self Publish or find a publisher

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message 1: by Briana (new)

Briana Gaitan (brianagaitan) | 6 comments So I have had experience in both worlds. I love the creative outlets self-publishing allows, but marketing on my own with limited time and money is rough. I liked publishing with a smaller company- but being under someone else's thumb was kinda hard. I guess I am impatient and can't wait months to find an agent then a publisher then not being able to pick my own cover and stuff. Which outlet have you found more satisfying? I hear success stories from writers who started self-publishing then the book was picked up, but i can't help but feel this is more the exception and rare.


message 2: by Joel (new)

Joel Jurrens | 17 comments My experience has been that many small publishers do nothing in the way of marketing. Some do not even send out review requests. In those cases they are little more than a contractor that puts the cover artist and editor together so you don't have to find them on your own if you were to self-publish.


message 3: by Tim (last edited Apr 29, 2014 04:30AM) (new)

Tim Stead (timstead) | 9 comments For many of us the choice is self publish or don't get published. My problem was always the marketing of the book (I think). Very few agents even bother to read a chapter unless you have a great pitch. The real problem with self publishing (and I speak from nearly a month of experience :-) is to get someone to review the book. Even if people buy it they seem unwilling to comment.

If I was twenty-five I'd keep plugging for ten years in the hope I'd get picked up, but... well, put it this way, I'm in more of a hurry than that :-)

Our books, our children of the imagination, are no more that peripheral ephemera to our readers.


message 4: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments A writer's choice between traditional-publishing or self-publishing often depends on at least a few factors, some of which are below.

First, as Tim stated age can be a factor. If you're over forty-five years of age you likely don't have ten, twenty, or thirty years to wait for an editor's hungover college intern to pass your work on to the editor or for an agent to deign to read a chapter.

Second, the world of publishing is changing and traditional publishers / agents want your submission to be as well edited as possible before they see it. The days of "teams of dedicated editors, proofreaders, and copy editors pouring over an author's manuscript" are pretty much a thing of the past except for the few A List authors, and even with the A List authors stuff slips through.

Third, an extremely well-written book will usually get rejected by a publishing house if the author is an unknown, the work doesn't neatly fit the publisher's market formula, or an agent wasn't miraculously hooked quickly.

Fourth, there's a reason traditional publishing contracts are so lousy and writers have their submissions rejected for years before they get "lucky"; it's profitable for the publisher. If you've gone through a ton of rejections you're more likely to gratefully accept a contract with the devil that rakes you over the coals. As a rule only the authors who already have a following get a decent contract.

Fifth, if an author doesn't already have a following, the odds are he or she will have to do the majority of their own marketing and promotion.

Does this mean nobody should pursue traditional publishing? Not at all. Some talented writers do get lucky and land a good agent and / or get picked up by a traditional publisher without ten to thirty years of rejection slips. The old adage of being in the right place at the right time with the right product still holds true today, but with the number of aspiring writers at all skill levels seeking to get rich quickly it's not so easy. Those who do make it have my sincere congratulations.

Each writer should answer the following questions. Consider what does your writing means to you? Do you write because there's a voice inside that won't be stilled or is it about making a dollar? Do you write whether you enjoy it or not because the story won't be stopped, or because it seems like a way to make a living? Do you write because the worlds you visit in your imagination at times seem so vivid you'd like to book a cruise to visit, or is it an economic choice? If you write with the hope someone will enjoy reading your work, keep writing. If your reasons are about the money, find another hobby.

All that having been said, your choice on whether to go traditional, self, or a hybridization of the two depends on each writer's circumstance. In my circumstance I'm older, I don't expect to make back my investment in cover art much less get rich, and my work doesn't fit the mass market formulas so well, so the odds of a traditional house picking up my work is not so good.


message 5: by Selena (new)

Selena I listened to a talk by an author who started out in with traditional publishing but switched to self-publishing for one of her novels because she and her editor had creative differences. I'm not sure if she stuck to traditional publishing for her other works.

I have a friend who is going the self-publishing route, but as many of you noted, has limited success.


message 6: by Tim (new)

Tim Stead (timstead) | 9 comments R.F.G., what a great post.

The only thing you didn't mention was the expert's inability to spot a bestseller when it bites them on the nose...

Are you on Amazon?


message 7: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments Tim wrote: "R.F.G., what a great post.

The only thing you didn't mention was the expert's inability to spot a bestseller when it bites them on the nose...

Are you on Amazon?"


Tim,

The two books I have out are on Amazon as Kindles, and various other places as Epubs.

As a rule if someone PMs me asking for a copy I'll email them a free copy of either or both.

Regarding the experts and their abilities: one author's work was rejected by a traditional publishing editor with a list of major revisions the editor felt necessary to make the work "marketable". After the writer committed suicide a friend of his found an editor who was interested who published the work without major revisions -- the book earned a Pulitzer.


message 8: by Briana (new)

Briana Gaitan (brianagaitan) | 6 comments R.F.G. wrote: "A writer's choice between traditional-publishing or self-publishing often depends on at least a few factors, some of which are below.

First, as Tim stated age can be a factor. If you're over fort..."

Find another hobby? I love it. I can't believe how many people I talk to who think writing is about the money. Well said.


message 9: by Courtenay (new)

Courtenay Gray (courtenaysgray) | 2 comments Hello!

I am eighteen and I just self published my very first book of poetry which is also the only thing I have published so far.

I really like self publishing as it can be tough to get picked up by a publisher. This poetry book is by no means the last thing I will publish. I have so much more to give to the world but self publishing is a great way to start off this journey.

Having something published has been my ultimate dream since I was three or four years old.


message 10: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) Self publishing. Yes, I started with epublishers and they were great to work with, but frankly my self published works have sold better. In fact, my best selling novel, Move, was rejected by one of my epublishers, and I decided to self publish it instead of rewrite it like they asked. Truth is, I like the greater control I have with self publishing, because I can run specials, contests, etc whenever I please - and best of all, I can adjust the price point. I found a great proofreader/beta reader and cover artist to work with, so I'm self publishing now.


message 11: by Leo (new)

Leo Walsh (llleoll) | 7 comments I've leaned towards the traditional route. Mostly because it gets more eyes on a manuscript. I've just read too many self-published books on Kindle that shouldn't have been printed.

Once you are established, you can self-publish, of course, But odds are, early on, we're gonna better off relying on professionals.


message 12: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 41 comments Leo wrote: "Once you are established, you can self-publish, of course, But odds are, early on, we're gonna better off relying on professionals. "

You need the word "be" in there. Maybe a professional can help you figure out where. Also, maybe they can help you run that tricky shift key when you type the word "but".


message 13: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) I have experiences with epublishers and self publishers. While working with publishers was good, I have to say that promotion is 100% on the writer no matter which way you go, and I've found it's easier to do it when you self publish because your hands aren't tied by schedules, pricing, contracts (that may or may not allow you to do giveaways, adjust price points for sales, or post sample chapters to other websites). Sure, it's more work to self publish - with 100% freedom comes 100% responsibility, but you set the terms and do it on your time, and not somebody elses while you wait for your name to come up in on the schedule (if you're accepted). Plus, my best selling book was self published. I submitted Move to one of my epublishers, and they said they'd only publish it if I removed the supernatural element. I couldn't do that and still have the same novel that I wrote, so I decided to self publish - and it's been my best accepted work yet.


message 14: by M M (new)

M M Carter That's good to hear Sherri, thanks for sharing..it definitely seems that either way an author takes responsibility for self promotion and marketing, so I guess it's up to us isn't it..
Cheers


message 15: by David (new)

David Balzarini (discretion) | 1 comments Leo wrote: "I've leaned towards the traditional route. Mostly because it gets more eyes on a manuscript. I've just read too many self-published books on Kindle that shouldn't have been printed.

Once you are ..."


All the staff that used to work in publishing are now freelance editors. If you see your work seriously, then find an editor on a place like reedsy.com or use editorialdepartment.com. Good work. Not cheap. But traditional book quality can be obtained by an indie willing to work at the craft and spend the money on support.


message 16: by Luke (last edited Aug 10, 2016 07:13PM) (new)

Luke Gracias | 1 comments Sherri wrote: "I have experiences with epublishers and self publishers. While working with publishers was good, I have to say that promotion is 100% on the writer no matter which way you go, and I've found it's e..."
Great post. I have recently gone the self publishing route and perhaps even stranger not really tried the traditional publishing route at all. I submitted my draft to one publishing house on request, they passed it on to their ebook arm and then returned it. What I have learnt is that marketing is far more difficult for a self published book. I have learnt that getting reviews is really important. However, reviewers are reticent to pick up a self published book and will gravitate to books from established publishing houses. Perhaps it is seen as a stamp of approval that it has or should have the requisite quality control checks.
I agree with your comment that you have more control over a self published book.
Considering that you would get the requisite checks and balances, edits and proof reads done on a book. I think the key difference is that a publishing house will give you an introduction to their large reader base and then hope that your book will gain some fans who will promote it on. In the case of self publishing, you need to establish this initial introduction yourself and get that reader base and if it is like in my case your very first novel, that is very hard.


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