Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?

I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time this week researching the pros and cons of both traditional publishing and self-publishing. I think I’m more confused now than before I started. I had to take a class that touched on this subject, but that information really didn’t enlighten me, either. The discussions with my classmates were primarily opinion-based, and I quickly realized how self-publishing was looked upon solely as a means for bad writers to get published.

I wholeheartedly disagree with that opinion. And not just because the thought of query letters and perfect submissions scare the crap out of me. Self-publishing is a valid platform for writers to get their stuff in front of noses. Period.

It’s the representation part that concerns me most. I feel like I would want someone in my corner, helping me to make my book the best it can be, fighting for me, and holding my hand when necessary.

Now this wandering path takes me back to self-publishing. I see this as a sort of way to take back control of our work (and our income), but that has it’s drawbacks, too. There are more expenses up-front (editors, cover art, etc.) and no marketing team when you’re finally ready to launch. On the other hand, there are no query letters (yikes!) nor incessant worrying about if you’ve followed submission guidelines to a T.

Hence, my confusion.I have reached the point of thinking both avenues are akin to a slow death: painful yet unavoidable.

Writing is hard. It’s time-consuming. It’s pull-your-hair-out frustrating. But, we love it and we do it anyway. It’s because of this love that I want to move forward carefully and with my eyes wide open.

Having said all this, I would love to hear from others regarding their experiences with either. My formal education in this regard wasn’t as insightful as I hoped, and I can only assume an attempt was made to avoid pushing students in one direction or the other.

Please feel free to leave comments. Some “real world” teaching would be most welcome. I realize it boils down to a purely personal choice, but I’d like to take a voyeuristic peek at the fire before I jump into it.

Thank you for reading!





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