There is a debate going on right now.
It could involve you.
Or just you and your typewriter/PC.
This debate is between traditional published authors and those that are self-published. To me, a published author is a published author no matter how they went about it. I discovered a long time ago, that I’ve always wanted to write stories, and in my heart, I am an excellent storyteller, but when I think about searching for agents, submitting book proposals, risk rejection, or having my own rights to my work snatched from me, traditional publishing doesn’t sit to well in my stomach. This article by S.L. Armstrong, pretty much sums up the difference between vanity presses, traditional publishing houses, and self publishing.
Good writers have been turned down by traditional publishers that make you wait almost 18 months to complete your book, while self publishing gets it done sooner. Based off of my research, there are a few advantages to self publishing that overshadow traditional publishing, but with disadvantages as well.
Self Publishing Advantages
- Your work is immediately printed and distributed. Usually three months or less you get to hold your book in your hands, and have people order it online from amazon, or barnes and noble online, etc.
- You have the option to promote your own work your way. This means you can broadcast over youtube, use your websites, and blogs, radio, etc.,
- You keep all rights to your books so no one has complete control over what to do with your work. For example, if you want to turn it into an e-book you have that option.
- Control over design and layout of book is completely up to you.
Self Publishing Disadvantages
- Add ons cost money. This means if you want the self publishing house to do your promotions, add additional layouts, do your business cards, editing, and bookmarks- you will pay hefty fees. From $300 to $2,000(depending on who publishes you and which package deal you have).
- Paying for own copyright. You’ll have to have your material formerly copyrighted yourself. Of course, the publishers can do this as well…but for a fee. If I were you, go online to the U.S. Copyright office site, and complete application online for $35. Cheap, huh?
- Book shelf availability. This means your book will be distributed to online bookstores, but rarely would a local bookstore have shelf space for books by unknown authors, I suppose you can talk with your local bookstore and see if they can shelve your books- doesn’t hurt to ask. This doesn’t mean your book isn’t good, its just that well known authors with terrible books got first dibs on your space, lol.
- Promoting yourself. This can be hassle for someone who is shy and not network savvy. If you haven’t a website and not familiar with Youtube or other broadcasting media, do it now! I urge you, I beg you, I implore you. When I self publish really soon, my goldmine will rely on word of mouth and the Internet. Learn some of your own computer programs to design your own flyers, book covers, and bookmarks.
To sum up, self publishing is a grand idea for the creative individual. You do basically the same thing traditional publishers do. The upside to traditional publishing, is that you may get that fat advance check and you won’t cough up money. The way I see it, I like things my way, I enjoy utilizing my own brain to do my cards, and there’s freedom. In the land of the free, and the home of the brave I am free to publish how I want, and brave enough to do it in a world filled with confining traditions.