What do to with your work once it’s finished is sometimes one of the hardest decisions for an author. You have worked so many unpaid manhours on your latest piece and you want to make sure you showcase it in the best way possible- in both monetary and artistic ways. Now more than ever with the rise of self-publishing, authors are often questioning if traditional publishing is worth it. As a literary agent, I see many authors faced with this choice, many feel lost and somewhat skeptical.
I am very pro-indie. I understand the numerous benefits self-publishing has to offer. The freedom, the creative control, the deadline free atmosphere, monetary control, and most importantly the feeling of self accomplishment. Your book reached the Top 100 on Amazon because of you. With that said, I am also a huge fan of traditional publishing. A publisher can offer you things that are very hard to get on your own, or at least are very expensive and time consuming to get on your own. They are equipped with trained editorial staffs, the best marketing and publicity connections, wide distribution channels, and fabulous designers. They take the bulk of the work out of your hands so you can focus on well, writing.
All these feelings and opinions of self-publishing versus traditional publishing were perfectly summed up for me in a recent interview with author Kiera Cass by Preen. Before hitting her stardom, she ventured into the self-publishing world so she has a great understand of both sides from an authors perspective. Here are a few things she pointed out about her experiences:
- The stigma of self-publishing has gone away.
At the beginning, admitting you were a self-published author always came accompanied with eye rolls and huffs. No one took self-publishing seriously. It was assumed that if you were a self-published author that it meant that you couldn’t get a literary agent or traditional publisher to give you a chance. Sometimes that is certainly true, but now more and more authors are choosing to self-publish. It has become a proven science that if done correctly, can actually work. We have seen many authors become household names with self-publishing which is totally changing the game.
2. Editing is one of the hardest parts of self-publishing.
Just because you are a writer, doesn’t mean you are a good editor. Sometimes when we review our own work especially, we are blind to our mistakes and areas of improvement. That’s why having an editor is super important and something I really can’t stress enough. Editing can make or break your success. Hiring a good editor can be very costly when you self-publish, making it a key selling point to seeking a traditional publisher.
3. Self-publishing is all about control.
It’s no secret that most authors are drawn to self-publishing because the amount of creative control it gives them over their work. Every decision is completely and utterly all theirs. The absence of deadlines also relieves stress. You can work at your own pace and if you don’t finish something on time, no problem- just simply push back your publication date. The control also allows you to publish books quicker instead of waiting for when your publisher has room in their catalog for you. You can publish a book every month making yourself a lot of product with more chance for revenue.
4. Traditional publishing allows you to polish your work.
Traditional publishing enables the author to focus on what they do best- writing. Your editor will work with you create the most polished version of your book possible. You have worked so hard on it, why not make it the best it could possibly be? Not only will the inside of the book be sculpted but the outside will match the amazingness on the inside. Your book cover is what attracts readers, especially for a new author. A good graphic designer and marketer are key components of a book’s success, which can be very hard to come by on your own. Publishers have everything you need, all built into one place.
5. Self-publishing builds a fan base.
Many self-published authors will notice that they can garner a fan base for themselves just by running a few quick promotions, contests, or giveaways. These type of marketing strategies basically sell themselves and encourage people to talk about you and your book(s). Once people are talking, you can just ride that wave. If you then decide to seek a traditional publisher, it’s enticing for them to see that you already have fans and somewhat of a built in audience who have been cheering you on since day one. That helps justify their investment into you as one of their authors.
6. Self-published authors are writers.
More and more awesome books are coming out of the self-publishing world. Readers are stopping to give these books a chance and discovering that many of them are actually really good. Most importantly, publishers are realizing the same things too and starting to pick up these authors. It’s hard work to be a successful self-published author and there’s no negative stigma about it.