Traditional or Self-Publish? Industry experts have distinct opinions which publishing technique leads to prosperity and the best seller list. Unfortunately, they all contradict one another. (I love when that happens!) Ask John Locke, who has sold over a million books on Amazon, and he’ll tell you traditional publishing is not the way to go. Malcolm Gladwell, on the other hand, a well known traditionally published author, believes big publishing houses are relevant as gate keepers of quality. They both have strong arguments. So, as a first time novelist, it can be confusing which way to go.
- Have your manuscript professionally edited?
- Spend months querying agents hoping someone will give you, the unknown and unconnected writer a chance?
- Publish your novel as an eBook hoping to draw an audience?
- Build an author’s platform using a website, blog and social media?
- Start writing your next novel?
The answer is…it depends who you ask. A literary agent or a publisher might recommend 1, 2, 4 and 5, whereas a professional editor might recommend 1 through 5. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive right or wrong answer anymore. (which is very helpful… don’t you think?)
The popularity and ease of eBook publishing, combined with cutbacks at traditional publishing houses have changed the publishing industry all together. It is more difficult for an unknown author to get picked up by a traditional publisher, as they don’t have the money to gamble. This has given rise to self-publishing for many first time authors, mostly in the form of eBooks.
EBooks offer a great alternative for authors to traditional publishing. Be warned, self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. As a self-publisher you will be responsible for the editing, formatting, and presentation of your book, including the book cover. I recommend hiring professionals to help you out. Although, these costs will come out of your pocket, you will reap most of the profits. Whereas in traditional publishing you would need to give your publisher and agent a large percentage of the profit, by self-publishing you would keep around 70 percent of your earnings. If and when the book takes off, you now have something to offer a traditional publisher.
Regardless, if you self-published or publish traditionally, you will need to market your own book. This means building an author’s platform. There are right ways and wrong ways to do this. Some authors build huge followings on social media and then bombard their followers with advertisements promoting their book. This only pisses people off. If you want to build a platform that works, I highly recommend reading blogs or books authored by people who have already done it successfully.
So, first time novelists… know I am with you on your journey, making mistakes, learning as I go. Even though I have read several books on how to market my novel, and talked to many successful authors, I have found it to be a painstaking process. The fun part is the writing and communicating with other authors. The hard part is figuring out how the technology works. Good luck my friends. I leave you with a quote from my husband, spoken as I begged him to kill me while in labor with our first child, “You can do this!”
Here are some links that might help.