Thursday, December 17, 2009

Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing : Round One

A few months ago, a friend asked me to review his book and gave me a copy of the first chapter. I took a quick look, and to be brutally honest, it was full of grammar errors which made it virtually impossible to read. The problem? This book was already on sale as a softcover edition.

In this day and age, anyone can publish a book, and I do mean anyone. Traditional publishers receive thousands of proposals every day, and reject most of them. Therefore authors decide to either self-publish or create publishing companies of their own with their book included.

So here's what I think about self-publishing. First of all, you're going to need money, because it costs a lot to print those suckers. Then you have to pay for the cover, editing, and binding. A self-published book gets zero distribution. Some bookstores and reviewers don't take these books at all. Lastly, it gets you no points with traditional publishers in case you want to write another book.

You can probably tell I'm not a huge fan of self-publishing. I would honestly love any self-published author to tell me how I'm wrong. But before you start quoting the number of successful self-published authors, let's compare them against the number of unsuccessful ones first, shall we? Admittedly with self-publishing you have creative control, but if you do that just for the sake of getting your book 'out there', you're not going to get very far. Again, this is not meant to offend any of you. This is based on my own personal experiences with self-publishing, and if you can provide me with some success stories I'll gladly post them.

However, this is my advice to new writers-exhaust every opportunity before going to self-publishing. It is free to query an agent or publisher. You will need a lot of patience to do this, because even really good books can take years to be picked up. Finally, if you are going to self-publish,  get a marketing plan together and for crying out loud, don't cheap out on editing services. You're not doing your fellow writers any favors.


Natasha Bennett said...

Test because my own comments features is having problems. Go me.


Bonnie Lea Elliott said...

I am late to the convo as I also tried the blog spot earlier. I am both published and self published and I never paid a cent. However, I am not the author that I put up for your challenge. My hero, Melanie Nowak with her Almost Human series.I could state all of her accomplishments here, but I won't. She holds excellent sales rankings at Amazon in both print and kindle. Self made and turned down by traditional pubs too many times to count.She was the first author that I debuted at my multi-author site. I now have 35 there and most are small press or Indies. Here is her Amazon Author page and her Face Book page (almost 200 members). She has a total of 180 customer reviews for her books.
Thank you, Bonnie Lea Elliott
" Authors Helping Authors"