I’m not interested in traditionally publishing anymore.
It’s not because I’ve given up after being rejected too many times. I haven’t even queried for an agent or submitted in a manuscript once.
I’ve decided to self-publish because I’m disillusioned with the traditional publishing system.
Now, traditional publishing does have its appeals. If you want:
- To see your book on the shelf of a bookstore
- Become famous
- The prestige and satisfaction of being traditionally published
- To received an advance and not have to worry about cover design and all that jazz
Then, by all means you should traditionally publish.
For those of you that are on the fence, though, hear me out.
The artistic world is undergoing an upheaval right now.
For centuries, all artists (painters, musicians, writers, etc) have had to go through gatekeepers who held control over what they produced. Composers had to please their patrons, and writers and modern musicians have to be picked by publishing companies and record labels and then be made “marketable” in a way that might not fit them.
But then the Internet happened.
Now, artists can share and sell their creations directly to their audience and maintain complete control over their creations. And people love it. It’s been found that Millennials prefer to go to local restaurants when they want to eat someplace nice rather than go to a nice chain restaurant like Applebees. What this means is people are craving greater authenticity and a more personal feel rather than something that feels processed.
That’s where the entrepreneur writer comes in.
People are wanting more and more to buy products directly from the artists (Etsy, anyone?), so why can’t writers get in on the action? There’s tons of ways of marketing your book through social media and also publishing independently. This way, you have complete control over how you market yourself and your book. Some successful self-published authors are J. F. Penn, Mandi Lynn, Jenna Moreci, K. M. Weiland–some of which are making a living off of their writing.
If that doesn’t convince you, let me tell why traditional publishing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Traditional Publishers Won’t Help You With Marketing
They’ll decide what your cover is and maybe even what your title is, but unless you’re J. K. Rowling or James Patterson, they won’t be spending much of their money marketing you. And who do you think they’re going to expect to pick up the slack? You.
If you self-publish and don’t have a publishing company to (not) market for you, who’s going to be doing all the marketing? You.
As a shy, introverted, and sometimes bordering on anti-social writer myself, I know marketing sounds like an overwhelming and scary monster. But, like the heroes in our stories, we need to tackle it. It can actually be enjoyable too. So, now that you’ve accepted this challenge-crossed over the Threshold so to speak-wouldn’t you rather have complete control over all your marketing decisions including cover design, title, price, etc?
Your book isn’t going to be sold in a bookstore as long as you think
It’ll probably only be in a bookstore for a few years before it’s taken off the shelves to make room for newer books. Then, people will be buying your book online, which is where they would be buying it from if you had self-published. See where I’m going with this? Your end result will be the same: your books are going to be bought online.
You lose control when you traditionally publish
When you sign with the publishing house, they gain a lot of control over your book. They can pick a title for you, make you extend a standalone book into series, or make you change aspects of your book and plot if you don’t negotiate your contract right.
And if you’re female author, your book could be marketed as chick lit even when it isn’t. Then, men aren’t going to want to pick up your book, and they only make up like-what?-about half of the population and your potential reading pool. Not to mention that others will look down on you because you don’t write “serious” literature, and then the people that do pick up your book because on the girly cover may be disappointed when you start decapitating characters. Then your book might not do so hot. It’s out of your hands.
If after reading all that, you still want to traditionally publish, that’s fine. You do you. I personally want to have complete creative control over my work and I do not believe that my current manuscript has wide-spread commercial appeal. If self-publishing appeals to you in any way, I encourage you to give it a shot. Take a chance. You never know what could happen. [Be forewarned though: it does take a lot of work].