Something amazing happened last week.
Okay, you might not find it amazing, but to me, it’s amazing.
Seven years ago I started a novel about a dragonslayer named Del. Over the years the story has evolved, it’s grown. More characters were added and they took on a life of their own. Several rounds of editing and rewriting later and…
…drum roll please…
So now what?
I went to start writing my query letter and creating a list of agents and publishers, but then a little voice in my head would stop me. Well, after much debate, I’ve decided to self-publish.
There was a lot of debate, but in the end it was actually an easy decision for me. Still, I thought I would list the argument for you here, in case you’re going through the same thing.
Here are the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing, as I see it.
- Oh come on, everyone wants a publishing contract. Everyone wants an agent and publisher to believe in them and help them down this road. Maybe you’ll even get a nice advance plus some help with the cover design, editing, formatting and marketing. You’ll get to see your book in all the big bookshops. Imagine!
Yes, I know there’s a lot of cons below, but this pro is a massive one. It must be worth about five or so bullet points.
- Not to mention all the experience you can tap into if you get a good agent and publisher.
- It can take approximately a year to find a good agent, if you find one to represent you at all. Your agent will probably want you to make edits before they try and sell it to a publisher. Then it takes time to find a publisher for it. And once you sign that contract, it takes a year for your book to be published. So, that’s a good two or three years at least to get your book out into the world.
- You need to write that perfect query and sell yourself to an agent and then to a publisher. Of course the payoff can be great and the glory amazing, but essentially you are jumping through some hoops.
- You might get a bad ‘un. This can be avoided if you do your research and do it well. Watch out for the crooks, who will take your work and the rights and leave you with no book, no money and no way out.
- Even if they’re good, it doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing. Your publisher or agent may want you to change your title, or a character, or a beloved scene. Of course they may be right and they may make it better, but what I’m trying to say is that you give up control when you sign that contract.
- Has anyone else noticed that the big publishing houses are letting silly typos slip through? Not to mention bad formatting. I’ve read some novels that are need of some serious editing recently and all of them published by the big five. What’s the point in all that experience if they just want to make money out of you? Where’s the love?
- These days even the big publishing houses don’t do much marketing for you. In fact I’ve read that many publishers like you to approach them with your own marketing plan. Unless you’re Stephen King or J K Rowling, you’re going to have to work hard.
- By cutting out the publisher, you cut out the middleman. Boom – more money for you.
- And that can be yours now. Depending on what you want to do, you could publish your novel the day after you click save on the final manuscript. You set your own deadlines and publish when you want.
- Okay, so it costs money, but the budget is also up to you. So do your research and put whatever money you want to spend where you want to spend it.
- You stay in control. The cover can be what you want, you choose the title and the writing is how you want it to be.
- Self-publishing is no longer vanity publishing and there are so many options. It’s now the thing to do and, in rare cases, can lead to huge multi-millionaire success. Some bestselling traditionally published authors are even turning to self-publishing for new titles because of the freedom it affords.
We live in an age of taking control of our lives. Self-publishing is a great part of that.
- Eek! You’re in control. It’s all down to you. All those typos, that bad marketing choice, those low sales. That’s all down to you.
- You need a platform. There’ll be no sales if no one knows you or your book exist. That can mean anything, including social media, a website, a blog, a marketing plan, book signings, touring and interviews.
And that means…
- It’s a lot of work. I mean, a lot. This is your book, your baby and it’s all down to you. Publishing companies hire teams of people to accomplish what you’re trying to do.
While it can be overwhelming, self-publishing doesn’t mean that you can’t outsource. In fact, it’s encouraged that you hire someone to design your cover, and maybe an editor, at least. There are people out there who can format your ebook or print book, and companies that help you do all of it. It’s okay to use them. But it all comes at a cost and some people can’t afford the help.
Deciding whether to go the traditional or self-publishing route can be difficult and ultimately, there is no right or wrong. It’s your decision.
So I’ve decided to self-publish.
My novel, Matter of Time, will be released in September 2016.
(I can’t tell you how good it feels to type that.)
I will be sharing my research and lessons learned on WITW. Click the button below and you’ll receive:
- Updates on what’s going on and the release date.
- Exclusive insights, such as the cover reveal.
- Exclusive access to competitions, freebies and any other goodies I think of between now and then.
So what do you think? Have you self-published or gone the traditional route?