While in a writing forum earlier this week, someone asked the question: self-publishing versus traditional? A few writers shared their personal experiences and views on both counts. However, one response caught my attention because the information imparted was misleading.
When you do traditional publishing, your manuscript needs to be perfect. You will spend a lot of time quering agents. However, once your manuscript sells, the publisher will handle all the marketing and you’ll make decent money.
When you self publish, your manuscript doesn’t need to be perfect (although it still should be) and it is faster because you don’t have to go through an agent. The downside is you have to do your own marketing and there is no guarantee you’ll make money.
Ouch! As someone who has been following the trends of the writing and publishing industry for years, I have seen many changes, and one of those is marketing. Gone are the days when publishers handled all the marketing for an author.
My response was that when writing a book, there are many things to consider before making a decision, regardless whether a writer chooses to self-publish or take the traditional route.
What every novice writer should know before publishing their book if taking the traditional route, is it’s a misconception that when your manuscript is accepted by a publisher, they will do all the marketing, and you will receive a huge advance and become rich. Not so, there are stages, processes and requirements. One of the major requirements is having your own marketing platform – that is key to selling books. If you do not have this, it could be problematic, no matter how brilliant your writing is. Of course, one can get lucky, but that one writer is far and few in between. Many publishers now ask that you include a marketing strategy in your proposal for both fiction and non- fiction.
You need to have a platform, if not agents and publishers will most likely reject you. Further, people will not know your book is out there, hence, no sales.
On the topic of self-publishing, another misconception is your writing doesn’t have to be well written. Self-publishing is simply another avenue. If you wish to be taken seriously as a writer, and make writing a career, whether self-publishing or not, your manuscript has to be the best it can be, if not, readers will not buy your next book if they find the first one littered with errors, bad structure, etc.
As noted above, there are many things to consider before writing or publishing your book that requires planning and research. Doing due diligence will assist you to make an informed decision as to which publishing route may best suit you.
By the way, I do believe the author of the above quote meant: You will spend a lot of time querying agents.
Write It, Work It, Publish it!
© 2011 Cherry-Ann Carew
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Cherry-Ann Carew, aka The Power Writing Coach, Editor, Founder of Writetastic Solutions and best-selling author, helps fiction and non-fiction writers with their creative expression to add value to their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you with your book at www.writetasticsolutions.com.