1. mbear

    mbear Member

    Jan 4, 2013
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    Why do you have to make a decision on self publishing verse the traditional way?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by mbear, Jan 17, 2013.

    I see a lot of debate about the self publishing and the traditional way of using a publishing company. To me the way to do it is send it out to every one that may be interested and if you get no bites after a specific period of time then move on to the self publishing, am I missing something? I feel like there are so many people on one side or the other. Why can't you choose both in a sense? I feel like the increase of self publishing just allows for one extra chance after you have been rejected for the public to decide if they like it or not. Or if you are just not interested in the idea of traditional publishing, then here is another way. Thoughts that I may be missing?
  2. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

    Feb 10, 2011
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    Rotorua, New Zealand

    I tend to agree with you. It's the most practical approach and its what I did. The only thing I would say is that taking the self-pubbing route does limit your chances to be later trad pubbed - unless of course your book does extremely well - in which case you might not want to go down that route then anyway. So when you make that decision, be sure of it.

    Cheers, Greg.
  3. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    You're both right -- the big deal with deciding to self-pub is, for all practical purposes, the finality of the decision, especially for that particular novel. (And yes, if you sell tens of thousands of copies of your self-pubbed novel, you might get published by a traditional publisher, but the chances of this happening are pretty low.) So, if you are holding on to the dream of having an NYT bestseller, the overwhelming odds are that you need to do it through the traditional publishing route. But, as we all know, this is a tough road. It ends up coming down to when you're ready to let go of the dream.

    If the imprimatur of traditional publishing and the idea of being an NYT best-selling author isn't the end-all-be-all for you, but you really just want your stuff available out there for people to read, self-pubbing has a lot of benefits.

    There are a lot of bad feelings out there, though, because self-pubbing still has kind of a bad connotation, partially left over from the days when a self-published book really had no way at all of competing in the marketplace, and any author who could possibly get published by an established publisher would do so, and therefore a huge number of self-published pieces were pretty bad, and were often referred to just as 'vanity' pieces, since they were really published just so the writer could see his book in print.

    Since the landscape has changed, and self-pubbing is a much more realistic option, this does mean that there are an even greater number of people who go this route because they couldn't get traditionally published, and there's a lot of dreck out there. But, because there are legitimate advantages to self-publishing, there are many people who could get traditionally published who choose not to do so. However, the bad connotations of self-published works continue, and this causes resentment by those who have written good pieces, but don't go the traditional route. Just recently, there was a famous author who had to defend herself after saying essentially that self-published material was not up to snuff. This caused a whole brouhaha in the writing world, so this issue is still very much fresh and alive.

    There is also a tendency by some self-published writers who are so enamoured with self-publishing that they shout its benefits from the rooftops and take it as a personal affront when others don't agree with them.

    So the issue tends to get overblown because there are people with very strong feelings about and personal stakes in one side or the other. But at the end of the day, you're correct -- it is nice to have both as options.
  4. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

    Jul 27, 2011
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    One big drawback to self-publishing that writers tend to ignore or downplay is the non-writing work involved. Unless one is satisfied with random purchases, there is an enormous amount of marketing and promotion involved - after all, you are now the publisher as well as the author. It's the big reason Amanda Hocking went to trade publishing, even though her self-published books sold extremely well.

    I don't think self-publishing should be considered as the obvious alternative if trade publishing doesn't work out. It's much more involved, and the idea shouldn't be "Well, I can always SP if I don't get an agent/a contract in six months.". It's a decision on how you want to run your writing career.
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    If I'm turned down for traditional publishing, and especially if I'm turned down flat by every agent that I contact, without encouragement or advice, then that probably means that there's something wrong with my book. So my next action is not to say, "Feh; what do they know, anyway?" and self-publish, but instead to improve the book and try again. And again. And again. Yes, this will probably take years. That's my assumption going in.

    Only if I got convincing evidence that (1) the book was of publishable quality, but was (2) unpublishable for the foreseeable future for (3) some reason that wouldn't eliminate the possibility of a small appreciative readership, would I even begin to allow the possibility of self-publishing to enter the picture.

    But given the natural tendency to lie to oneself, I have trouble imagining what would be sufficiently convincing evidence. Especially for fiction - it's easier to imagine a very narrow hobby or other nonfiction niche that just wouldn't be worth the cost of traditional publishing.

    That evidence would need to come from a professional in publishing, preferably more than one professional, and why would a professional waste their time talking to me about my unpublishable book? If they're doing it because we're friends, then that friendship makes them insufficiently objective. If they're doing it because the book is juuuust on the edge of being worth trying to sell, then I'd rather wait and see if someday it tips over that edge.

    So I just don't see a scenario where I would hope to publish a book traditionally, and then self-publish it later.
  6. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    that 's not really 'choosing both'... it's choosing paying presses over self-publishing and then settling for the latter only if you fail at the former...

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