Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Chose Both

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing.

Many authors write about an either or decision for publishing. I'm going for the 'have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too' scenario.

I'll be querying my novels the old-fashioned way, but meanwhile I'm going to break into publishing online with my short stories and novellas.

To go the self-publishing route, I think it's important to hire a professional editor and produce a professional work. Especially if charging for it. The results from those that do are much better than from those who don't. Our work is our brand. Don't short change it or yourself.

It's a good idea to build your platform before going 'Indie' as it's called by some. Even before you land an agent. Blogs and social networking are the main ways to do this. Another, which is a great idea no matter the route you plan, is to upload some free reads to Smashwords in order to start building an audience. I'd suggest Amazon, too, but Amazon won't let you sell 'for free'.

I used to put my free reads directly on my website, but this idea of using Smashwords is better. It allows me to reach people who read and they can try my stories risk free. Exposure for the cost of some work and courage.

Meanwhile, I submit some of my short works the old-fashioned way and envision publishing some myself. I will also query my novels through agents for traditional publishing. So, I chose both.

The truth is, ebooks will soon out sell traditional books. The writing is on the cyber wall, so to speak. This changed my thinking on publishing. Has it affected yours at all?


  1. Wise words! How I agree with you. My current novel is traditionally published and I know that, to sell it well, I need to get more works out into the public eye. Self-publishing will be my next step to do just that: it's far quicker than going the traditional route and, as I'll offer free or very cheap reads I hope I'll get a good following.
    As you say, if you self publish - do get a good editor. As a reviewer I'm appalled at some of the mistakes I see in self-published books. No matter how great the plot is, glaring errors can ruin the whole thing, so it's worth investing.

  2. I broke into publishing via the e route with a wonderful electronic publisher. I had my first novel published through them and it is available in print as well. For those not sure about self-publishing, an electronic press is a great way to go. Their turn around time from submission to decision is much shorter than with a traditional publisher. I also find that they are more open on what they will accept. Many traditional publishers have certain guidelines and marketing niches they try to fit an author into and they may tell you your book isn't "right" for them or that they are not "buying" a particular type of story at this time. Hasn't stopped me from trying, though. :)

    I am thinking about self-publishing, but as I cannot afford to hire a professional editor, I have not yet ventured into that arena. You're right in that our work is our brand and we want to put our very best out there for consumption. Free reads on Smashwords is an intriguing idea and one I will have to look into.

  3. I got into the world of publishing by getting a few short stories e-published. It really changed my mind about publishing. I would encourage everyone to go that route. My biggest problem is that I just can't seem to whip out a 300 page novel no matter how hard I try. My life is very busy and I just don't have the time to read anything that long or to spend years trying to write a novel that long. Epublishing gives me the option of publishing much, much shorter works. If my life ever slows down and I have the time to whip out a longer novel, then I will try to get it published traditionally, but for now I'm very happy with my publisher.

  4. Excellent points, Mary. Most of the authors I know self-published an eBook.

  5. Good post. I like both traditional and self, but there is something to the immediacy of self publishing that I just love.

  6. It's essential one hires an editor if self-publishing! A writer gets one shot to make a good first impression and a poorly edited book can scar a reputation forever.

  7. I think the times are a changing. More and more I think a mix of both is going to become the norm for most authors starting out. I like the idea of putting short stories out there on-line for people to get a feel for the style and voice, and then seeking traditional publishing for the novel. Sounds like a plan. :)

  8. great job, mpax. sounds sane and logical to me! i like the free-view preview idea. i'll have to check it out!

  9. Sue R - Yes, many publish before their time.

    Melissa - I'm also thinking about an epublisher for the novellas I'm writing for e-comsumption. Will make that decision later. I can't afford an editor for a full novel either, which is why I'll start with smaller works. You're already building an audience, which is great.

    Angelina - I agree that it's a great attraction to epublishing, that we can publish shorter works. If we build a market, there's the potential to make more money publishing our shorts ourselves than going through publications. Although, the response from the editors is a great way to judge our progress.

    Alex - Seems to be the 'in' thing. It's also a smart marketing tool if you don't self publish before your time.

    Libby - I found it very exhilerating. I will be seeking that thrill again.

    L. Diane - I very much agree. Critique partners and an editor.

    L.G. - That's my plan. A mix is a great idea.

    Tara - After some thought, that's the plan I came up with.

  10. It's a very exciting time for the publishing industry right now. It's going to be interesting to see how ebooks and self-publishing evolve over the next few years. Excellent post!

  11. I agree, Rachel. Very exciting times.

  12. Yeah! :)

    E-publishing some of your work also lets you get more out there for readers to find. Even traditionally published authors struggle with obscurity in the beginning, so the more ways there are into your worlds, the better!

  13. I agree. Since I got the idea from you, Lindsay, you're mega brilliant. It really is a fantastic idea.

  14. Yep, my thinking is slowly changing as well. I would definitely self-pub novellas and short stories. Still on the fence re novels.

  15. Mary, it has taken me far too long to let you know how much I appreciate you sharing this great advice and guidance with your fellow writers. You have shown the way and I look forward to positive reports about your success as you expand your market and give readers the chance to read your excellent writing!

    Anita L.