Every writer now days has to carefully decide between two roads, traditional publishing, or self-publishing. Both roads, with the proper amount of elbow grease, will technically get you where you really want to be, but both roads are far from equal.
I must confess that just like every other writer out there I started out wanting to go the traditional publishing route. Once I finished my work I even started querying publishers. That was a whole new level for me, it helped me to see what it was really like to compete for a coveted spot on some publishers roster. That was when I realized I wanted to take a crack at self-publishing. Here are my top five reasons for making that decision.
I wish you the best of luck, whichever route you decide to take!
1: Time: I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, ‘time is money’. So true. What’s also true, is the longer I spend querying (and then waiting for the actual publication date), the closer I get to being old and dead ; ) Simply put, traditional publishers are slooooowwwww.
When you self-publish, the only thing holding you back, is you. If you’re a very prolific writer, self-publishing rocks even more, you can pop out book after book after book. If those books are good, and your marketing skills are solid, you should generate a following.
2: Rules: I hate rules, they crush every fiber of my writer soul! The first novel I finished enough to query, broke all kinds of rules.
Every publisher has their list of no-no’s, like, no unhappy endings, no excessive violence, no rape scenes (even in memories).
Self-publishing is like the wild west, publish what you want (unless amazon catches you and puts your story in the ‘dungeon’).
3: Money: If I make it big, guess who gets to keep pretty much all the money? That’s right, me. Yes, self-publishing websites like Smashwords and Amazon do deduct a portion of each sale, but much less than a traditional publisher. On the flip side, if you know what you’re doing, you can use your own website to sell your books, which cuts out the middle man.
4: Options: Guess what else I get to do? I get to set the price of my book. I can give it away for free, I can charge fifty dollars a pop (yes, I’ve seen this happen). I can have special sales whenever I feel like it. If it isn’t selling as well as I want, I can adjust the price. If it’s selling really well, I can be a dick and raise the price.
5: No contracts: When I self-publish I don’t have to worry whether the next stroke of my pen will sell my soul to the devil. Will I retain this right, or that right? Will they secretly be selling my work in Japan and not paying me a cent?
Conclusion: There are plenty of good reasons to publish the traditional way, but there’s no reason to consider that to be the ONLY way to go. In fact, I can change my mind at any second, or I can do BOTH. I can start out self-publishing then move into traditional publishing. I can get paid to enter my short stories in anthology’s, while publishing longer works on my own. I can keep querying certain pieces I think will do well in traditional publishing, while self-publishing a bunch of other stuff. The sky is the limit.
I hope my top five reasons help you decide whether you want to dip your toe into self-publishing or not.
Feel free to leave questions or comments below!