A) Throwing me some food despite the
B) A blinding light of a flash from an iphone
C) Asking me a question
And today we're going with "C" because I was recently asked:
"I'm doing a lot of research regarding publishing independently or traditionally.
I was wondering if you had any advice on publishing?"
So pull up a stool, Grasshopper, and let's have at it, shall we?
There are no quick answers to this whopper because there are pros and cons to each. I know because I've done both, garnering me the hybrid badge on my Girl Scout banner. I can fill you in on what those pros and cons are but ultimately it's up to you to decide which path is best for you.
Today we'll tackle the traditional route. Stay tuned tomorrow for an indie discussion.
The Pros of Traditional Publishing
You don't foot the bill.
Big publishers pay big money to edit, hire a cover designer, figure out a marketing plan, and dole you out an advance. They take the monetary risk, not you.
Stress free, baby.
You don't have to worry about isbn's or formatting or what the best price to offer the book should be. Quality control is handled (for the most part) by the publisher because their name is riding on this little venture every bit as much as yours.
Yes, you still have to do some marketing, so don't get all giddy on me. But the thing about traditional publishers is that they're usually well established in the industry, getting you in to bookstores and such.
You feel like a rockstar.
Signing with a big deal publisher is, well, a big deal. Like it or not, it's still seen as a validation of your writing skills.
You're not alone.
You work as a team with your editor and marketing and sales directors. They're great sounding boards when you need advice.
The Cons of Traditional Publishing
It's super freaking hard to land a contract with a traditional publisher.
There are gatekeepers with big pointy teeth that wield a huge rejection stamp. More often than not writers are turned away based on their writing or what's hot on the market or what the acquisitions editor had for breakfast that day.
You have to share the profit.
Remember when I said the publisher takes the hit on covering all the upfront costs? Yeah, before you go all happy-ballistic-jumpy-feet over that, the flip side is they'll also take the lion's share of the profit. Usually you'll get 15% of every sale.
Lack of control.
While you sign away all your anxiety because the publisher is handling all the decisions for you, you also sign away your control. Oh, you don't like the cover? Too bad, buttercup. What...you think the copy is a little lame on the back? Yep, that's a publishers final call as well.
You could seriously turn gray before your book hits the shelves.
There are long lead times with trad publishers because of volume and quality control. My manuscripts go through 3 edits before the green light sends them on their way. My book coming out in October was signed in July, as in last year, which makes it nearly a year and a half before becoming available to the public.
And that's the skinny on traditional publishing. Love it or leave it. Personally, I love it. I've got a great relationship with my current publisher (Barbour). But that's not who put out OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, which was a small press . . . and that's a whole different list for another time.
But don't miss out on your time to enter the drawing for Frying Pan here:
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