Wednesday, October 29, 2014

To Publish Traditionally, or to Self-Publish? That is the Question.

There seems to be a lot of opinions when it comes to self-publishing. The most notable one being that if a traditional publishing house isn’t interested in your work, then nobody else will be either. There may have been a point in time when that idea held some validity, but how many books have been picked up by big publishing houses that never made it to print, or earned one dime for their authors? It’s not like they publish a report every year disclosing this information.

But suppose you want to try the traditional publishing route. Are you ready to write a book proposal? Most “how to get published” books and articles suggest that if you want to write a non-fiction book, you should write a non-fiction book proposal first. If you do decide to take this route, the upside is that it will help you understand your book a lot better. The downside is that it takes a lot of time and effort to write a proposal, and it still boils down to giving someone else permission to decide the validity and value of your idea.

Some people have dreams of big advances for their books, but publishers are a lot less likely to take a leap of faith with new authors these days. Before they make a decision, they’ll want to know how many followers you have. They’ll look at your “platform” to determine if it’s big enough to generate sales because they aren’t likely to spend a lot of money helping you market your book. In fact, they expect you to have a strong enough platform to create your own marketing buzz. Even if they do decide to give you an advance, it’s an advance against royalties, so those will most likely have to be paid back first. 

Some people believe that only a traditional publisher can produce a quality book, but nothing could be further from the truth. With sites like Create Space, anyone can get a book into print that looks every bit like it’s been published by a traditional publisher.

So, if all this is true, then why do people still look down on self-publishing? Because too many people self-publish just so they can say they’ve published a book. They don’t care about typos, format, or even the quality or validity of their content. They just want the book.

If you’re thinking about writing a book and are still on the fence between seeking out a traditional publisher and going the self-publishing route, don’t let the idea that people will only take you seriously if you go through a traditional publishing house influence your decision. If you produce a quality book filled with content that’s interesting and informative, reads well, and isn’t riddled with typos or formatting errors, it won't matter who published it. When you've written a good book, it’s your name they’ll make sure to remember, not the publishers.

If you have questions, or are trying to figure out how to get started fulfilling your publishing dreams, I'd be happy to help. You can email me at

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