Tuesday Discussion

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

This has been a controversial debate since I begun to write. I have read many blogs and articles about the pro’s and con’s of self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Tuesday’s discussion, I hope, will be based around this controversial debate.

Is there any bloggers that have self-published? If so, was it worth it?

Is there any bloggers that have gone through a publishing firm? If so, was it worth it?

Future writers, what publishing route will you embark on?

#DWTSmith #publishing

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42 thoughts on “Tuesday Discussion

  1. Are you watching me? I just posted on this topic this morning! The best bit of advice I have heard is that you shouldn’t jump into self-publishing right away, without getting some scars and experience first. If you self-publish a book without getting feedback or having it edited, if it ends up being a bad piece of writing, it will taint your reputation forever. I, myself, plan to try the traditional route until all avenues are dried up. I’ve already had a bunch of pieces published in mags and ezines, so I can be confident in my writing. But I’d like to get something published for pro-rates before I feel confident enough to do it all on my own. If an agent takes my book, I can be sure about its quality. No so if I just dump in on Amazon myself.

    • No I swear I didn’t see it haha!
      That’s what I have heard, however there are a few exemptions from the rule like ‘The Martian’ and Tim Winton (An Australian author).
      That is my angle as well, to push for traditional and fall onto self-publishing if that fails. I also, have had articles published and finished a degree in writing; and confident with my writing πŸ˜ƒ
      Good luck to you, and thank you for commenting πŸ˜ƒ

      • I have to imagine those big success story authors had editors work over their books and paid for good covers, amongst other things. Most self-published works do not have that level of investment. I hired an editor to go over my book, ending up with three revisions, knowing full well I was going to try the traditional route with it anyways.

      • Yeah it is more of a process but the final product will be a lot more professional and worth the effort.
        That is exciting! Did you get it published? Was the editor expensive?

      • I just finished the final draft and editor review a couple months ago. I am now trying to find an agent, but having some trouble because they are being put off by the unconventional format of the book. Its not a traditional novel. Agents seem to have a very narrow comfort zone. Anyways, I will pushing it out until I find a good match. The editor gave me a good deal, because he’s a friend, but I still ended up paying a few grand. I knew that if I was going to do this, put all this effort into making a book, I wanted to do it right. It was a gift to myself in a way, and hopefully and investment that pays off in the end. I really hope this one will get me in the door to writer the next one, and so on…

      • That’s handy having a editor as a friend. I hope the best and look forward to reading your story.
        I hope to be in the position you are, in finding a publishing contract βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

      • And I think there are many more examples of authors who made it big through self-publishing, but they are definitely the exception rather than the rule.

    • I have published through a traditional publishing company and have been considering for my next book to try and self-publish. Taking advice from other authors and from local book stores, there are many lucrative reasons why I would self-publish. But every piece of advice I’ve gotten so far was NOT to self-publish through Amazon. I would like to say that just because an agent likes your work, it doesn’t mean it’s a quality piece of writing. I’ve read my fair share of traditionally published books and found that there are some pretty low-quality books out there. But, I agree with you – if you publish bad work, no matter which way, it will completely wreck your reputation as a writer!

      Now, I feel kind of silly for asking this question, but how do you go about getting your work published in magazines? This is something I would love to try but I don’t quite know how to begin.

      Thank you for your input and good luck with your writing endeavors!

      • If you message me on Facebook I could send you some links and recommendations. Otherwise, when I get back on my computer I will look for the master page I posted somewhere. What do you write?

  2. I started out some years back attempting to go the traditional route, but it’s hard getting a memoir taken on by a publisher unless your name is already famous, so after sending off sample chapters/synopsis etc for many months and waiting for the rejections I gave up and self-published. Then I wrote a full length fantasy novel and tried the traditional route again, with the same result. I started to think that I could continue bashing of sample chapters for the next twenty years, and at that point I thought sod it! From then on I haven’t given traditional publishing another thought. I mean they often refuse books that later sell millions so how can you trust them?
    I guess I’m short on patience, long in years, and don’t need to make money as my pension is enough! And the fun I’ve had from the writing (and illustrating of the two children’s books) has in many ways been payment enough. πŸ™‚

    • That’s a great story in itself Jude! I’m glad to hear you stuck to your passion and continued to self publish and write πŸ˜ƒ
      Do you edit, format and do the covers all yourself?

      • Yes, I do a lot of photography and use different bits from different photos to create the pictures for the covers. Over the years I’ve got quite handy with GIMP (similar to photo shop but free). We don’t have big pensions so i kind of dug in and managed everything myself rather than paying someone. It’s great fun too!

    • after those rejection came in stages, i put the book aside and resued my days. but the process was fun and i enjoyed it alot. so i am now drafting the third book in the series. when i’m done, i will query again. but this time, if the rejections pile, i will self-publish.

      • Good luck with it, don’t give up hope and continue to query but most of all, continue to write. Refine, define and express your writing skills βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

      • At the moment I’ve decided to finish the entire series and enjoy my time doing it. Currently I’m drafting the third book and haven’t entirely decided if I want to end the book here or on the fourth one. But when I am finally done, I’ll query a few more. If it doesn’t work – I am a pwd (person with disability) and some agents don’t think they can manage a successful agent/author relationship with me– I’ll self-publish it.

      • That’s good to hear, don’t let a stale agent ruin your creative spark. Stay strong and continue to write, but most of all, let everyone hear your voice.
        I look forward to hearing your story βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

  3. Went traditional for my book (non-fiction) and was lucky enough to get picked up by the first (and only as it turned out) publisher I sent a proposal to. But, there are a few caveats there:
    1) I researched about a dozen publishers to get a feel for what they usually published & had recently published.
    2) This is a scholarly/academic publisher targeting a general audience (which I liked), so no agents are involved (academic writers rarely have agents).
    3) I got damn lucky.

    It’s done moderately well & is in libraries on every inhabited continent (still haven’t gotten it to Antarctica, yet, that I know of), so reasonably happy with that route.

    • That’s great news, congratulations! That’s the dream of an aspiring writer like myself πŸ˜ƒ
      I have looked into some of the publishers I would contact but at the moment, I am nowhere near the point I want to be before approaching one.
      How was the process of dealing a publishing firm?
      Did you have an agent?

      • The process worked well & smoothly. But, I’d already experienced writing for a committee and dealing with editors (business writing, dissertation, and peer reviewed articles), so the process wasn’t unfamiliar.

        As noted, since that book’s through a publisher that primarily carries academic & scholarly work, no agent (it’s rare to have an agent in that part of the publishing world).

    • There is a huge range of opinions, which is reassuring because it means people are considering both options. If more people self-publish the quality will improve thus it won’t be something that’s frowned upon.
      I’m glad you took the time to read the comments βœŒπŸ˜ƒ

  4. I find that self-publishing is not as badly-regarded as it was, say, five years ago and many writers are giving it a go. I personally think that self-publishing is going to become more and more common and that’s ok as long as there is a certain quality control behind it, as it is supposed to be with traditionally published books.
    I’m not in a position to choose between traditional and self-publishing (maybe one day I’ll finish writing a book and try to get myself out there) but in the meantime, I am trying to place my short stories in magazines and e-zines. As much as rejections sting, this gives me a feeling of security, that whenever my writing is published is because it’s worth it, and it also helps me to improve my craft. Especially when you get some feedback from the editors. I think this is the preferred route for genre authors, but I might be wrong …

    • I definitely agree with you. I listen to a podcast the other day and it was about the stigma of self-publishing 20 years ago and today.
      We have more resources, technology has helped the writing community vastly and the demand is increasing by the year.
      I’m not in a position either, but learning about where you could possibly have your story heard is why I wanted to discuss and reach out with any writers on the same page; and any self-published/ or traditional published authors.
      I think persistance will publishing firms will pay off, as another blog commented she was too impatient. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you want and how you want to tell your story βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

  5. I see value in both and I think there are several factors that must be decided. From what I could find, unless the author has a recognizable name traditional publishers don’t help much or at all with marketing. That and the cost made traditional publishing something unfeasible for me. I chose independent/self-publishing mostly because of that. I still have an editor a “publisher” that reads my books and gives me feedback. I also found it is invaluable to have a circle of honest readers. Anymore, self-publishing doesn’t have to equal rushed and unprofessional. Traditional publishing though tends to give more clout behind an author’s name and more exposure by extension. So in that sense there is an advantage there. Traditional books tend to sell better because of this, but they also need to due to the higher costs involved. Ultimately I feel it is up to the author and what fits him/her best.

    • I 100% agree with you. I have mentioned that in a few other comments; it all comes down to the individuals desire of outcome πŸ˜ƒ
      Either way, I’m glad you got to publish your story βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

  6. To sum up all comments, I am grateful for self-publishing because it gives writers an opportunity when a window closes on them.

    Thank you for all the contributors to this weeks discussion. I look forward to more opinions on different ideas, thoughts and personal stories; on weeks to come βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

  7. I’ve written a novel and a Memoir, both under different names, but close enough to my real name. I have read so much about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and quite honestly I didn’t have the patience or whatever it takes to even send anything to a publisher or an agent. I’d freeze trying to compose that Synopsis and Letter of Enquiry. But I did hire a professional cover artist for my novel, and I did find a great developmental editor for it too. I’ve had it proof read and checked and have spent so much time on it that I can’t bear to read it again. And yes, you will still find errors, and that’s infuriating. I couldn’t afford to pay the services of a copy editor, or a line editor, or a proof reader. Every story is different, but I’m a member of an Indie Author Group on Facebook, which is very supportive. We are all struggling to make sales. You have to have your book seen and find the right avenues for that. Nobody will do it for you. I don’t regret having written those books–they’ve been getting great reviews–and if nothing else I’ll have achieved one of my goals. But I do believe in miracles. I’m working on my next novel now. You have to be able to market your book, and it has to be top quality. I love my Memoir, but I will be getting a more professional cover one of these days. Perhaps there’s a part of me that doesn’t really want exposure after all.

    • As I have mentioned to other bloggers, it comes down to the individual. I think the self-publishing has faded and becoming more of an option for aspiring authors.
      Self-publishing is my backup.
      I am happy to hear you are still making sales, and continuing to write.
      Good luck for future pieces and make sure to link me through your work βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

  8. I feel that if I have no luck getting my work to sell on my own, a publisher can’t help, because a lot of them do expect you to market your own stuff. I’ve tried to get people interested. I tweet about my work, I just don’t know how to get people who have never met me to take a chance and read something I’ve written. I’m sitting on a wopping 1.12 cents off a collection of poetry I wrote recently. I am thankful for those 2 sales. I don’t know how else to get people to take the chance.

    • It has hard to market yourself to an unknown crowd. I feel if you offer things people to draw them in, it make them purchase your work. For example, offering the first few pages of your collection of poetry free, then if they want to continue they have to purchase it. Be in the online community’s face, constantly post links and share your work.
      Something like that, or start with family. Make your family buy your books, you’ll be surprised how much of a network your family has, that’s what I’m relying on when I publish my first novel!
      Good luck with it, be patient βœŒοΈπŸ˜ƒ

  9. I ask this question all the time. Part out my job as a marketing leader for a small publishing company is to figure out where we fit into the mix. We don’t exactly run with the traditional big dogs yet since we are a new company just getting on our feet. Yet, we offer far more in the way of editing, support, and marketing than self publishing. We’re sort of a middle ground and I’m finding I love it because it gives a chance to those that are struggling with the traditional route and hesitant to self publish… like a safe haven for writers that can’t seem to ever catch a break.

    • Awesome! I love that there is something in-between; a third option for aspiring writers.
      What publisher do you work for?
      What type of books do you publish?
      As a small publishing firm, how do you compete against self-publishing and traditional publishing?

      • I’m glad you asked! (Didn’t want to toot my horn too loudly) I work for Endever Publishing Studios, found at endeverpublishing.com. We are not genre specific (though we avoid anything erotic). Our focus is on the story and if it’s captivating (no matter its state of completion) then we tackle it and help the author make it the best version it can be. We separate ourselves from self publishing by providing authors a team of fellow author collaborators that act as editors, storyboarders, mentors, and supporters. This is something every story needs in order to avoid being a vanity project riddled with errors. I also work my hardest to assist authors in promotion, social media presence, and marketing of their books. We may be small but we can still reach a bigger audience than someone with no bigger fan base than their family and friends.

        As for competing against traditional publishing, we’re able to get to know you and let you be a voice in your publishing experience. You’re instantly connected with our other authors and staff and become a vital part of the machine rather than a spare lug nut that only talks to people through corporate emails. We call ourselves family and it’s not a marketing term. It’s the loving truth πŸ™‚ We rely heavily on candor to help us make decisions and your opinion holds sway, even over the company owners, because at Endever, we recognise we’d be nothing without you. And you matter.

      • I had a look at your website and I am impressed. It looks like you have a well-established team of authors with resources to help aspiring writers.
        It is useful to know that there are other publishers other than the big firms. Thank you for expressing your publisher, I will bookmark your website, for future intentions πŸ˜ƒ

      • That’s very encouraging to hear! I appreciate your support and please, let me know of any way we can be a help to you or anyone you come across that might be a good fit.