Becca is here to share her publishing stories from both sides of the proverbial fence- Traditional Publishing AND Self-Publishing.
Great! You’ve finished your manuscript! It’s nice and shiny, and now you have some decisions to make if you haven’t already. Do I start querying or do I publish myself?
I’m going to tell y’all about the best of BOTH worlds. Traditional and self-publishing. Now, I bet you’re all wondering how I can possibly know the benefits of both when I’m only self-published.
Without getting too specific, let’s just say I’m going down both roads at the same time. One under a pen name, and another under my real name. And that’s all I’m saying ;)
Traditional publishing has some major benefits. Such as having a professional editor, an agent, a publisher to sell and distribute your book. But the process is LONG. I’m not kidding. Even for those that snag an agent right away, and a publisher right after that, it takes a long while before the book is sold. It’s a lot of hair-pulling and crazy waiting. However, in the end it’s worth all the trouble to have your book backed by a publisher. The author still has to manage the marketing plan, but you have the help of a marketing team. And people will believe they are buying a quality product, because of the publisher stamp on the book.
Self-publishing is also a good way to go, if this is what you want. You receive a bigger royalty percentage, because the sales aren't distributed to anyone but you and the site you publish on. It’s also FAST. The day you decide to self-publish, you could start selling that night. (I don’t advise this, though).
Downside… self-publishers have a bad rep of not putting out quality, not having the professional editor. If you publish too soon, you’ll contribute to that bad rep, and gain one yourself. So you HAVE to make sure when you press publish, the book is as ready as it can be- gone through critique partners, and edited way more than just once. Also formatting is super important. If your book doesn't look good on the e-reader, it’s distracting.
There are several sites that tell you how to format for Nook and Kindle. Take the time to read them and use them. If you plan on self-publishing in the future, automatically format your document before you even start writing.
Either route is the same in one thing, and that is getting the book into people’s hands. Traditional, you receive a lot of help from people who've been doing this a long time. Self-publishing you do yourself, and you drive the bus. You determine how successful you are.
My number one advice for this:
Do Not Be Afraid.
I was piss my pants scared to self-publish anything. I was afraid I couldn’t afford it, but you can do it cheap, and still do it RIGHT. As for Traditional, it takes a different view, and you still have to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your agent over some changes. Don’t be afraid to say no to a publishing contract when it’s not giving you what you want. Don’t be afraid to take control, and don’t be afraid to let others have control.
And if you are like me, you can still do both routes. Decide which books will be self-published. Which you would like a publisher for. And DON’T BE AFRAID to make the decisions. They are your books, after all ;)
Would you take a Traditional Publishing deal and still Self-publish some things?