The 21st Century Question: Traditional or Self Publishing?


As you all know, last December I took the plunge and self published my first book. Marked For The Hunt has been my baby for around four years now. A lot has changed since then, in the book and in my life. As I write this, I realize I’ve come full circle and now live in the same place that I wrote the original draft (after a lot of state hopping).

Since I wrote Marked For The Hunt, I’ve worked on several other projects. Few came as close to my heart as Diana and her issues did, but recently a YA project has gained that kind of love. I can envision my protagonist as clearly as I can see Diana and she’s a wild thing, to say the least. I’ve decided to set aside the world of MARKED just long enough to finish the first book in this series.

The idea was that I would send this book out to agents and traditional publishers once it was finished, seeking that traditional contract while I worked on the world of MARKED. It seemed like a really good idea at first. I could hit two birds with one stone.

But, I might be going about this the wrong way.

Traditional publishing seems like the grand dream that all writers are looking for. It means that several people thought your work was good enough that they were willing to invest thousands of dollars to see it on the shelves. It also meant that big, fat advance check. Sounds great, right?

But, these days you often have to go through an agent to land that big deal. Said agent gets a chunk of your book deal, too. Then, taxes get to have fun with your book deal. Once that’s all said and done, your hourly pay equals out to something a lot less than minimum wage. That hits me right in the heart. On top of all that, your publisher will still ask you to have a big hand in the marketing of your book.

But, hey, it’s on the shelves. Right?

The self publishing route seems daunting in its own way. It is an over-saturated market because anyone who can write a book can do it. Some of these books often get over looked because they didn’t run the gauntlet of rejection that is traditional publishing. It’s terrifying that people might never even give your book a chance.

What I like about self publishing is that the author is in control. No matter the feedback, you are ultimately the one that drives the direction of your books. Add to that the ability to earn around 70% of the overall royalties.

But, don’t I have to market myself?

Yeah, but you would have to with the traditional publisher, too. Marketing is frustrating as you learn, but you pick it up eventually. The internet is a wonderful tool available to us in this day and age, complete with social media. That, right there, can be your best friend. Cover art, too, is your best friend. Invest in that, because it is the first impression. Despite the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover, everyone does.

I haven’t quite decided what I want to do with this YA project. I certainly don’t have the money to invest in editing and cover art for this book right now, but I also have heard success stories of self pub books being offered contracts by publishers. When an author can come into a deal with a fan base already set, it can really give the author the upper hand.

I’m looking to use this week and maybe the next to bust out book one in this YA project. So far, it is tentatively titled Starlight. I am looking for more beta readers and I would really like to know your opinions on traditional vs self pub for this project. Reach out to me through my About Me page if you’re 100% invested in becoming a beta reader for this (it means written responses and interviews via chat). Comment below with your thoughts on publishing!

7 thoughts on “The 21st Century Question: Traditional or Self Publishing?”

  1. Traditional vs. Indie is daunting in any industry nowadays. It seems like both seem right and wrong. If you do it one way, you’re scrutinized but if you do it the other, you’re also shamed. So really, whichever way works for you, go for it. I really love the idea of self publishing and if you get a book deal along the way, that’s awesome, keep up the good work, but definitely don’t cut yourself short just because you want your book on the self of Barnes and Noble. Your work is amazing and don’t let some publisher in a fancy suit tell you otherwise.

    Also, in the meantime, all of the authors out their going the indie route should also keep in mind that there are some awesome indie editors out there (like Hannah from Between the Lines Editorial, a fellow gal from Geek Girls x Bloggers) so why not support each other in your journeys in the non-traditional route! (:

    1. It really is a difficult decision. There is either a stigma or a really small window of opportunity. I’ve decided for now to keep on the traditional track with #projectstarlight just because it doesn’t fit with what I’m currently putting out on Amazon via self publishing.

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