Choices: Self Publish or Traditional?

How do you decide which publishing route to take with your book? Self Publish or Traditional?

You want your book to have the best chance, but is that really traditional publishing?

Self-Published books have been known to “make it” in the world, why can’t mine?

All excellent questions, how DO you decide? You don’t! You take this journey one step at a time just like you did in writing your book (one page at a time). You finish your book. You edit your book. You reread your book. You reedit your book. Then you start trying to find a publisher.

There are so many helpful ways of going about this process, here’s a suggestion. Go to the library. Find books in your genre. Open them up to the copyright page and find out which publishing company published them. Make a list – an extensive list. You don’t JUST apply to one college – you don’t JUST apply to one publisher (even if they are your favorite).

Then you go to EACH publishers website. You scour it for the submissions page. You determine if they accept unsolicited manuscripts. If they don’t save them for later. If they do, READ EVERY DIRECTION, make sure to follow their guidelines step by step. This is important, if you don’t they will ignore you! You write your query letter. You customize it to their publishing house directly, you send your SASE and the aspect of the manuscript they want; first chapter, outline, synopsis. You look up what SASE stands for if you don’t know. You LEARN.

You wait.

You apply to the next, then the next. You go through all of them then you try to find an agent. This is what unsolicited means – you need an agent to present your work. You search for an agent. You learn agents don’t get monies upfront because they get paid ONLY when the book is purchased. You find out how NOT to get scammed. If you make it into a traditional publisher, you celebrate then learn even more about your rights.

If you don’t get picked up traditionally, you move on to the next step. You research small publishing houses. You don’t get them confused with subsidiary publishers. You learn the difference. If you finally choose to self publish, go about the entire process all by yourself, great – you’ve learned so much already – you will be ready to proceed.

Why do you go through all of the above first?

Because Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Virginia Wolff, Henry David Thoreau, Beatrix Potter and John Grisham did. Even some of the newer authors like J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), Christopher Paolini (Eragon), William P. Young (The Shack) have made successes of their books by self publishing. They promoted their books. They got the sales. They received the attention of the traditional publishers (even the ones who said no) and they “made it”.

Can I “make it” like they did?

Good question. Is your book good enough? It may be time to find out. Submission Guidelines…