The Writer’s Choice

So, in every writer’s life comes a moment when they have to make a choice, and this choice will have a profound effect on their career. It’s not necessarily the easiest choice to make, because there are many pros and cons on both sides, and it’s best to make an informed decision, which does mean researching these two options. Of course, it is possible to try both and see what works best, but one must remember that things can go horribly awry.
Sick of my theatrics? Okay, okay, I’ll cave.
I’m talking about the choice between using a conventional publisher or self-publishing, which are both good options, but often people prefer one over the other. Conventional publishing is where you send it to a publisher like HarperCollins and they either accept or reject you. Self-Publishing is where you find a company that prints books and put in an order. Some offer packages. That one you have to pay for yourself.
There are ups and downs to both. Conventional you don’t have to pay anything (unless it’s a scam), but you have to bow down to the Powers That Be and possibly change stuff that you really don’t want to change. With self-publishing you run the show, but you have to pay for it all and hope you sell enough copies to make a profit. You also have to do all of your own marketing and promotion, and for someone starting out, this can be quite difficult. However, if you manage to find the right printing company, you can do it really cheap and get your friends and family to buy them for a start. And possibly shamelessly self-promote on a blog and hope that you’re reaching a wider audience than you think you are. You also won’t likely be able to get your books into major bookstores.
With conventional publishing, you have people who do all the work for you. They take a cut of the profit, but they do the marketing and get your books onto shelves and arrange book tours, pay for storage and actual printing. However, they tend to be very selective of who they accept, you have to meet certain criteria just to send your manuscript in, which as I know from experience, is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. Moreover, especially for major publishers, you need to have an agent who represents you and acts as an intermediary. They also keep you from getting screwed, especially if you don’t know a lot. However, you also have to follow their submission guidelines and search around for the right one and you may be rejected, especially if you’re just starting out.
So really, there’s a lot to consider. I will be reporting back to this later one, when I actually gain experience and can give more details. Anyone who does have experience, please feel free to post in the comments!


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