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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing Dilemma

I had these big dreams for years now. I wanted to be a writer, no I wanted to be an author. I wanted to  write a great novel, query letter, and synopsis and send it off to a publisher and voila! They would actually publish me and one day, I could walk into Barnes & Noble and see my book on the shelf, alongside other great authors such as Kay Hooper, Stephen King, William W. Johnstone, Dean Koontz, and others. It was a really great dream, but unfortunately, as most authors know it doesn't come easy at all.

I tried unsuccessfully to get published but the rejections kept coming in. It's very undaunting and makes a person just want to give up. I bought a book called Rotten Rejections and it lifted my spirits to know that great stories like Harry Potter, Moby Dick, Gone with the Wind, A Time to Kill, and Carrie were rejected time and time again until someone took a chance on them. It made me realize I shouldn't give up so easily. It's many many years later and the rejections are still coming in.

Last year, I decided to pay a professional to edit one of my novel manuscripts. He helped to make the story 100% better. I thought this would help me get published, but I still got rejections.

A lot of people believe that traditional publishing is the only way to go. They say if you can't make it there, you won't make it anywhere. But is it really the best way? From what I understand, you don't have a lot of control and the royalties aren't that much, unless you are a big name author. Plus, you still need to be pro-active and market your own books, even with a traditional publisher.

I still have dreams of being published by a traditional publisher. Self-publishing my own books doesn't have the thrill it should. When people asked who published my book, and I tell them I did, I just sit there and watch their faces fall and they say, "oh". Plus, a lot of traditional authors, editors, and publishers won't even give self-published authors the time of day.

Yes, it's true that with self-publishing, every Tom, Dick, and Harry can publish a book, no matter how crappy it might be. There are a few rare occasions when an author started off self-publishing and now is a household name in writing.

However, with self-publishing, you have total control regarding your book and its design. You can set your own price and keep more of the royalties. But do self-publishers ever get any respect? Hardly. Can I email an author and ask for a blurb for my upcoming novel? I can try, but the chance that they will look at a self-published novel and review it are nil. Can I email blogs and request an interview? I can try but a lot of them won't interview self-published authors.

So what's better in the long run? If I ever get an offer I can accept from a traditional publisher, I'll let you know. :-)

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