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Flip. Flop.

That’s the sound of my thoughts when it comes to the good old ‘traditional’ vs ‘self-publishing’ thing. Every time I think I’m decided that yes, I want to self publish, someone makes a passing comment to me.

“It’s too good to self publish.”. “You should at least send it to a couple of places.”. “I really think you could find somewhere for it.”Ā 

But the thing is, I wouldn’t self publish it if I didn’t feel like it was good enough to be traditionally published. What would be the point of that? I certainly don’t want to add more crappy writing to the world. Self published authors already have an uphill struggle when it comes to the number of writers putting substandard work out into the world. The perceptions are there for a reason – there are a lot of badly written, under edited, novels around.

I guess when it comes down to it though, even after doing all the numbers, and loving the idea of creative freedom and control over my own work – I still want to get published traditionally. Even though it seems nigh on impossible at times, even though I will most likely never make a full time living out of it. I still want to give it a go.

I didn’t want to be one of those authors who self-published only because they hadn’t found a publisher who wanted their work. I guess I thought it would feel better if I just went that way straight of the bat, knowing the reasons why, loving that I could have my say in all parts of the process and do things the way I wanted.

Self-publishing is incredibly exciting. It really is. But I’ll be the first to admit I’m a rookie when it comes to some things involved in the process. None of the steps are things I can’t learn, given the time. I’m fairly sure I will soak up all the information I need at the time, and learn as I go with ease, it’s something I am good at.

But the bottom line is that I want to submit my novella places. I think that if I don’t, I will always wonder whether maybe, someone might have accepted it. I don’t have a need for validation but I am incredibly curious as to whether I *could* get a publishing contract. And if I’m curious, then I should give it a go. I have nothing to lose; I can always self publish. I don’t want to have regrets, or forever be wondering whether I made the right choice.

So there we have it. I guess I’m submitting this novella (well, when it’s ready, and when I have a new title for it). I would rather try, and fail, than forever wonder.

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27 thoughts on “Flip. Flop.”

  1. Yes you are right, there are good writers out there self publishing, and I guess I am prejudiced by the less than respectable work that is out there.

    The point I should really try and get across is that if you go with a traditional publisher, the cost of getting published is already covered. You don’t have to find the funds to publish the book – you don’t have to sell x number of books in order to make money, or recover your costs. I just think that you should try a publisher in the first instance.

    1. You can self-pub very cheaply if you have the right tools (or the right friends – which I do!), so thinking about the cost factor never came into it for me. Nor does the ‘how much will I make’ factor either. It’s more about what I want for me, and my writing, and just wanting to give it a go.

  2. I think the thing that puts me off self-publishing is the idea that one day, I wrote a story and the only person I had to convince it was good enough to publish, was me. Where’s the affirmation in that? Or the challenge.

    It’s tempting, sure, especially when I’ve written something I’m absolutely sure is good but I haven’t been able to sell. But the thing is, there’s a reason I couldn’t sell it, whether I want to believe that or not, and deciding to go ahead and publish it myself is a bit like insisting I know better than people with real experience and knowledge. Sure, I might sell some copies, but it would never feel like real success and I’d never be able to shake the feeling I’m letting myself down.

    1. I think there is a market for things that the traditional publishers don’t though – there are books I would love to read, that I can’t seem to find in bookstores, but I can find online.

      I think it really depends on what success means for you, as an individual. I would never publish something that didn’t pass through my alpha/beta/crit readers first. That I hadn’t got peoples sworn word on that it’s good enough – at least I know they are all honest, and tough too, when they need to be!

      1. That’s probably very true, and a different story altogether.

        I think the problem I have with self-publishing is the rubbish that I’ve paid good money for, started to read and thought “what the hell?” I plain can’t afford to shell out money on rubbish. When I buy a book in the bookstore, there’s no guarantee I’ll enjoy it, but I can be sure I’ll be able to read it. I can’t guarantee that with self-pubbed books.

        There are probably brilliant self-pubbed books out there. There must be when you consider the success of people like Amanda Hocking, but they haven’t been my experience often enough to want to risk money again.

        It might not be fair, but it’s been my reading experience. So, that seriously colors my view on whether I want to self-pub myself. I just want my agent and publisher to be the ones having to read through the slush-pile to find the gems, not my readers.

  3. And in that I’d say you have your answer. Send it out, see what reception it gets. And don’t be discouraged if they don’t want it, then if you still want to go ahead and publish yourself! The world does seem clogged up with crap but at the end of the day different things appeal to different people, so give it a go!

    1. Lol yes, there is some stuff in the world I think is terrible that other people love – totally different strokes for different folks! I will send it out, see what happens. Thanks, Em šŸ™‚

    1. I want to try, but not sure how hard or how long it will be for šŸ˜‰ I kind of think that every piece will be different – some are more suited to self publishing, and others I might want to try traditional for. I don’t seem to be a ‘one size fits all’ girl…

  4. Well, Cassie… I don’t want to argue the merits of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. I don’t want to try to convince you, because I know you read my blog and you know you can ask me anything and find a bunch of answers that I’ve already put out there. But I also don’t want to try to dissuade you from traditional publishing if that’s what you want, because clearly, you’re doing your research and looking at all of your options.

    I do want to say, however, that like you, I’m left scratching my head at the concept of “this too good to self-publish.” Huh? Really, huh? That’s a little like throwing a dinner party and having people come over and say, “This food is too good for a dinner party. You should work as a chef.” I mean, it just doesn’t follow. I put out the best work I can no matter what market, method, category, or genre I’m aiming for. I mean, it’s not like I’d leave something unedited assuming an editor somewhere else would clean it up.

    I don’t mean to sound grouchy… This is just the second post today that has suggested that some writers don’t pay attention to quality. It’s a little discouraging and quite frankly confusing. Every writer I know agonizes over every word and makes it as perfect as humanly possible.

    Maybe I’m naive…… :-\

    1. Not naive! I think that a lot of writers are so eager to get their work out into the world that they might skip a few parts of the process. Or perhaps they aren’t really good judges of quality/haven’t really had enough experience etc to know whether they are producing quality or not. I have seen countless examples of writers who use the line ‘I’m just too cutting edge/unique/creative for traditional publishing’ whose writing is actually just not good, and that’s why they haven’t had a publishing deal. I think in some ways, I’m paranoid of being one of those people. I don’t want to add to the badly written stuff!

      On the other hand, there are a lot of writers who are self publishing who take it very seriously, who work their butts off – work harder than traditionally published authors in some respects because they are working for themselves and have no editors/agents etc to help them out. They put out solid, good quality work. (I consider you to be one of those). And they deserve a lot of respect. They have certainly earned it. If I go self publishing – I want to be one of those too.

      Which leads me to me – in the end, I think if I don’t submit, and see what happens, then I will feel like I wasn’t looking into all avenues. I might try, and fail. I might try and succeed. I might try, succeed, and then decide to do it on my own anyways. They are all options, and I don’t really know what my choice will be until I get there. We’ll have to wait and see šŸ˜‰

      Thanks for being wonderful, Amy. I do know I can always come to you if I have questions.

      1. Well, that’s true about writers who just aren’t practiced or don’t have a good sense of whether their work is ready for consumption.

        But whenever I angst over whether my stuff is good enough or not, Cathryn Grant reminds me of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This is a complex psychological phenomenon that says, basically, if you think you suck, you probably don’t. šŸ™‚ That’s the really simple version. The more complicated version says that confidence is often disproportionate to ability, so the person who has tremendous, blatant confidence probably isn’t as good at whatever as the person who has very little confidence in the same field. Likewise, the masters often have the most angst, while the newbies often have the least.

        I don’t think I’m a master, but I do know I angst a LOT over what’s good enough to put out there. But then, I see other people who churn out stuff fast and have far better sales than I do, so I wonder–are they better? Are they skipping parts of the process and it just doesn’t matter? Or is it a matter of genre/category? Romance, YA romance, and paranormal romance sell like hotcakes no matter the quality, it seems. And also, readers who are not also writers probably aren’t as picky about quality and art as writer-readers. They just want good story. šŸ™‚

  5. So many choices, so many opportunities! The best part of writing is doing what makes YOU happiest. Well, editing’s a bitca, but… šŸ™‚

    Basically, you have to please yourself. If you go indie without giving trad pubbing all that you feel is necessary, later you will wonder, just part of our human make-up. Having gone the query route, I know I never want to do that again, but that’s me. No matter how that path goes, you will not have ‘failed’; only steps on the publishing process, one that is uniquely yours.

    1. Thanks, Anna. A good way to look at it. I really think there is no right or wrong way of doing things – just what is right or wrong for a particular author. And how can we know, unless we feel things out, give them a go? I’m not yet ready to rule things out, and I’m still trying to decide what my path is. But I don’t want to have regrets, so it can’t hurt to send it around to a couple of places and see what happens.

    1. Thanks, Stephannie šŸ™‚ It can be so hard! I think now that there are so many options, it makes the choice much harder. An educated, researched choice, that fits with your goals and wants as a writer is the best though. I guess…

      1. The decision can be a hard one because there are so many possible outcomes, but it sounds like you really want to do both, so you should try it. Neither option is bad.

  6. I know my strengths and notquitestrengths. I know I don’t have the money, the connections, the visual design, the marketing know how, the whatever else to be successful in the self-published world, and I respect my self-pubbed brethren because of that.
    At the end of the day, you decided to do what you want because you want to do it. No other reason needed, especially because those are my exact reasons too! I also have a need to see myself finish a goal, and reach for more next time. I view the whole process of submitting queries and the rest (traditional pub route) as a business/skill to master like in any other industry. (plus, I can take rejection really well. I do so hundreds of times a day working in sales) šŸ˜‰ Of course, I want to be published, I want to see my novel in print, but I’m almost more interested in the publishing process specifically rather than “being published.” Is that weird? (maybe I should be an agent, ha!)
    Best of luck to you!

    1. Thanks, Liza. I don’t think that’s weird – the process is long and involved, and interesting. And to be honest, part of me thinks maybe I should go the traditional route, with a smaller press, to learn some things about that process which I could later apply to self publishing. But you know what? When it comes down to it, my goals and wants as a writer are fluid. They seem to change from day to day, and nothing is set in stone. I guess I should be pleased that I have the freedom to change my mind right now, I’m not locked into anything.

  7. You know, I keep flip flopping myself. But I’ve never wanted to be traditionally published, so it’s between self-publishing or just not publishing at all for me which is a much easier decision!

    You do need to do what you feel is right, and you’re the only one who can make that decision because only you know yourself.

    1. lol I think not publishing is definitely the easiest choice, but you have to think about what you want from your writing – if you’re getting everything you need by just getting the words out, then it’s easy. If you want to share them, then the other questions need to be asked. Why would you not want to share them though? I bet you have some fabulous stories to share.

      1. True, I am simplifying the decision very much here, lol. Really, I do share my stories somewhere and I have readers who are enjoying. There are friends I have made because I’ve shared.

        But I am 99% sure of my decision to self publish the current project I am working on. I just have weak moments from time to time where I freak out, but in the end, it’s worth it and worth sharing and it’s too unique/strange a project for traditional publishing, but I can sell it. Plus it’s mine.

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