I’ve played with the idea of going to traditional publishing for awhile. My book Horizon was self published and for me, I felt like I took the easy way. Inside me, I feel incomplete like I did not meet this harrowing feat of completing a novel. It’s that moment
I asked myself did write for the love of writing, or did my pockets get the better of me?
I use to write stories for fun but thinking of the authors that have reached millions of sales and have become famous for their work, poisoned my thoughts. It craved for that same life where I could help people with wealth, and never live with financial insecurities again. I was very naive to think anyone could do it.
Last year, I learned a lot of lessons and one is querying to agents/publishers. I never sent anything to a publisher but I did try to give it to five different agents. All the same responses with the lovely rejections that they try so hard to keep civil. I understand they need to represent an author with great skills with story telling and words, but it is hard to realize sometimes that my book was not what they were looking for.
What’s even harder to realize is when I turned to self publishing and at the beginning my sales were booming, but six months down the road I am scraping by with two part time jobs that do not complete me. Don’t get me wrong I am extremely happy and blessed right now. I’m just not complete.
So for this next story I’m going to shoot for traditional see how it goes. Maybe I can reach a medium with my writing and my pocket. This last week, I have put my wallet aside and produced 30,000 words of an epic fantasy that I truly enjoy. I could feel myself standing at the peaks of Argonia, smell the aroma of chicken roasting on the fire pit, and hear the clatter of dishes across the floor of the local pub. Hell the hymn my character sings rings in my head quite often now. Without the thoughts of money has brought me back to what I love and enjoy. So this time it will be different. This time I’m shooting for traditional, hoping for the best, and thank all my readers that remain loyal to my work for reaching out to me and being by my side. You guys are the true winners in all of this.
7 thoughts on “Self Publishing vs Traditional”
I would stick with self publishing. The market is changing and the traditional way is slowly collapsing. Self publishing takes more work, though. It requires time and constant attention, but the traditional way is not what it used to be. Unless you land a deal with a place like Tor, Penguin, Harper Collins, and so on, then you’re not guaranteed to make sales either. Plus you have to sign your rights away to the publishing house so you can’t really market at your own discretion. It’s a dance, but since the emergence of ebooks, traditional is slowly fading as self publishing is rising to power.
Regarding completeness, though–I’d say give God a try.
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Here’s my issue with self publishing. There’s always pros and cons to it. Everyone has their opinion about it. When I released Horizon last year, it was fun watching my work grow, but today, I reread it and feel like I rushed it to the press. I think with self publishing too many authors get excited by their finished work and skip all the details that come with marketing and creation.
I’ve noticed some authors, including me, through random dates to their readers of releases then change the date last minute because editing is taking too long. Then, there are those that skip editing completely and toss a piece of work to the wolves to criticise over silly grammatical mistakes.
I do enjoy having my own timelines for finishing a book which would not be the case traditionally but sometimes I wonder if my piece is actually good. Yes, typos happen but the last for authors that were self published I’ve read, have ignored editing completely and it wad distracting. I don’t know, it just worries me that as many editors as I hire to check my work and make sure my setting and plot match, I still wonder what I plus them missed. That’s why I wonder if publishing traditionally would break those concerns but even that seems impossible to fall back to. Some work out there just isn’t written well. Sorry for the long response. Thanks for your thoughts.
Don’t worry about the length, sometimes you just have to flush things out! I totally get what you mean, though. I see a lot of self published authors and they’ve totally skipped the editing step and that frustrates me. It’s a vital part and needs to be taken seriously by more authors. Regarding delaying a release because of edits though, I’m currently having to do that and as much as it sucks, I think it’s also a good thing. If I’m keeping my fan based notified of the delays then I’m also promoting the second (and other) book(s) more. The first thing with traditional is having to get in. That’s by far the hardest step and then even when your in you have to hope that they promote you and don’t just keep your title’s rights and shelf the piece.
I would encourage you to check out a book by David P. Perlmutter titled My Way. He’s a self published author and talks about all the marketing that goes into self publishing. It also highlights what you’d hope to be done by a publishing house but often times isn’t.
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I don’t see traditional publishing as collapsing. It’s adjusting accordingly, thanks to the push made by the rise of e-books and self-published authors, but there’s always room for everyone, and I never liked the zero-sum game mentality of us vs. them. If anything, more and more authors are going hybrid, self-publishing some books and traditionally publishing others. And, really, no one publishing path is the true one. It all depends on the writer, his goals, and a host of other factors. I’m glad to see you’re keeping your options open and not shutting possibilities out just because other authors find success in one way or the other way. Good luck with your books! I’m sure whatever you choose will be the best for you.
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Thanks Hayden. You’re right there is no true way to publish it all comes down to the author and his/her goals. I think my issue with my book last year was that it wasn’t ready to be released. I worked on it for five years, had multiple drafts that led to dead ends, and eventually I put it down and gave up on it. I eventually finished it but it is open to a sequel that right now I’m not interested in. Which is bad lol but I’m putting it on the back burner and writing a story I’ve been wanting to write a long time. We’ll see which way I go but right now all paths are open.
I plan on using self publishing as a fallback, but I want to go the traditional route first. Thing is, you should be prepared to submit your work to at least a hundred agents before one might bite. That seems to be the average, even for those bigwigs currently signing movie deals! So don’t be discouraged by five rejections 😉
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Thanks Aether. I appreciate the kind words. I might query to some more agents soon. Maybe once I finished my new novel. Start fresh