Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

So, I’ve been getting asked the same questions repeatedly lately and feel like a broken record. Please don’t take offense to this if you have asked me. It’s not your fault; it’s to be expected. I will hopefully answer them all here.

I have taken the self-publishing route for my stories. I have completely skipped the traditional publishing route for various reasons; this means I have not sent out one query letter. First, I am a research expert. I am not exaggerating in the least. I can find out information on anything and will read it all. I read exceptionally fast, and when I’m interested in something, I read even faster. I had every intention of going the traditional route until my mother introduced me to self-publishing through Amanda Hocking. First things first, I read her Trylle Trilogy series (I didn’t like who Wendy ended up with, but I get why. I’m often disappointed with who the main character ends up with. i.e. Hunger Games). I started reading her blog, which led me to others blogs; and, I realized there is a whole world of self-published authors.

Reasons that led me to Self-Publishing:

· Most Important = Average time it takes for a book to be published for a newbie author like myself ranges from 9 months to 4 years. (I could have my entire series written by this time, have had my 2.5 kids, and had all my hair turn gray. NO WAY!) It takes a few hours to have it published for ebooks or Print-On-Demand printing.

· Unless you are a best-selling author (FYI, I’m not.), the publishing company does not market your book. It only gets it printed and puts it in the store. Getting it into the actual store is a challenge, much more difficult than getting the ebook sold through all major outlets. This takes more time, but not impossible. (This is why my book will only be sold as an ebook in July, and you will have to order through Amazon for paperback.)

· I read A LOT! If I told you how much, you would think all I do is read. Honest fact, I’ve read a 120 page small print book in under an hour before. Reading so much, I know editors are not editing as much as they should on books (Yes, I’m the freak with the highlighter and pen who marks up books with inconsistencies, redundancies, and grammar errors. I don’t do it because I want to criticize. I do it because it makes me a better editor for my own writing.) I understand why; they represent so many people these days just look at their credits. Comfort I find in this is that even the biggest, baddest (Yes, I know it’s not a word.) publishing companies overlook things. So, if I have a few errors, I hope my readers will forgive me as they have forgiven Stephenie Meyers and Mark Twain.

· When you give your book to a publisher, you literally sign away the rights of your book. Exception to this is if you’re an established author. (In case you missed it previously, I’m not.) As I know all authors do, I think of my book as I would my child. It has flaws and may not be as great as I see it in my mind, but it’s my book and I will love it always. This being said it is not okay for me to have little to no input in the cover, the design of the book, nor change my vision for MY characters or plot line. That’s like having a kid, and although you are there for your child’s life, you have no say in raising the child or guiding how the child turns out. I couldn’t do it. I need more control. If the book bombs, I want to take full responsibility.

· Now, let’s talk money. I’m not doing this for the money. I love writing, and it feels great to get the stories out of my head. They were too crowded in there. However, money is a factor in it. Publishing companies give advances for what they believe your book will sell for. This is a plus because it can help with marketing your book or pay for the time it took to write the book. Will it be enough? For a first time author, no. Having a marketing degree has helped me here. I would rather be pulled instead of pushed. What that means is, if I would ever decide to go the traditional route, I would rather a publisher seeks me rather than me trying to seek out a publisher (Well, technically, an agent first.). You see, I am excited about my book. Obviously, I think it’s great. I don’t want to have to convince anyone on how great it is. I want someone who is just as excited as I am, believes in it, and will give it TLC. Some authors go through many agents and publishers because they can’t find the right fit. If there is someone out there for my book, they will find me. Needle in a haystack maybe, but that needle is there. I am the needle in this case, instead of my agent/publisher being the needle.

· Part two of the money topic: Royalties are a crime. When a self-published author sells 10k copies as an ebook, they will make about three times as much money as a traditionally published author who is charging more money. That should be a crime. I know publishers work hard, but without the writer there would be no work for the publisher. Again, small royalties are not the case for best-selling authors. Now, I’m not sure how this will pan out yet because I am going to invest on some marketing for the book. Also, I set up a legal publishing company for my book to tap into the business world. I have a little experience with running a business. So, there will be expenses for me upfront, but not much. I wouldn’t suggest this way for someone who is not willing to put forth these costs.

None of this means that I would never go to a traditional publisher. What it does mean is that I am going to spend my time working as hard as possible to get this book out there and establish myself. I don’t want fame and fortune, I just want to tell my story to the world and see someone reading my book or hear my book being discussed. I won’t have a publisher tell me what I’m worth; I want to hear it from my readers.

**Some websites I found useful from self-publishers, published authors, and editors.

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