By: Traci Kenworth
“Some books and authors are bestsellers, but most aren’t. It may be easier to self-publish than it is to publish traditionally, but in all honesty, it’s harder to be a best seller self-publishing than it is with a house.”— Amanda Hocking
There are some things you should consider when you finish with your book. The biggest dilemma for most authors is which method for publishing do they pursue? Traditional or self-publishing? One of them is right for you. The question is, which one?
It has its pros and cons. Significant advance to little or no advance. Big publisher to smaller publisher backing you. Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t have to promote your work. Every author has to do that or risk their book barely making enough to buy them coffee is this world. I’m not saying you have to take ad space on boards across the city or a full page in the newspapers but do something — blog tour? Going on an extended trip at this point will be at your own expense, and I’d instead use my money to promote online, in small doses, of course.
- Cons: advances are disappearing. Royalties are shrinking. Again, anything but a blog tour is at your expense. Of course, you might get lucky and get word of mouth out with the help of readers, but first, you have to reach a few of those readers.
Here’s where the promoting takes shape, and you need the support of a team, and most Indies now have street teams behind them. Your team will help you come up with a campaign or spread the word that dramatically improves your odds.
- Cons: If you fail to follow through on your end, everything can unravel, and you lose big.
No need to worry where your next check comes from; you just have to put in the work and carry things forward.
- Cons: You have to wait two years between each publication usually.
Foreign or Just About Any Other Rights
Sometimes these are a hard sell on your own. While it can happen for an Indie author, there’s more push if you’re traditional. Of course, don’t give away all your rights. You’ll want to reserve some for a rainy day. A day in the future which you wish you had done so. Audio is big now. I imagine it’ll get even more prominent in the years ahead.
You’ll need an agent to advise you. But be careful. Don’t forget that no agent is better than a wrong agent.
Research those you’re interested in, even if they’re with big companies. There are some big names with not great track records.
Check Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors
Research the agency as well. Look what happened last year to a well-known author. He was with a big, reputable agency and lost everything when the bookkeeper fudged the books. The agency didn’t keep an eye on their employee, and that meant that big-name authors had discrepancies on their statements for years.
Just like regular businesses, an agency should check their finances regularly and be audited once a year. If enough of us look into these things, maybe it’ll improve things.
“Self-publishing is not nearly as easy as people think it is. Sure, you can upload some crappy manuscript online and slap some run-of-the-mill cover on it. But that doesn’t mean anyone wants to read it.”― Oliver Markus Malloy, The Ugly Truth About Self-Publishing: Not another cookie-cutter contemporary romance
More pros and cons here as well. You are your own boss. But that’s the thing: Everything falls on your shoulders. No advances. If you have a street team, you’re sitting better than most. It takes work and time to get anywhere. I hear of meager earnings as an Indie. Others say they do fine by it.
Still, Indie may become our only reality with the word of how print is failing, and eBooks haven’t taken off for traditional publishers. They say even audible isn’t enough to save them. Will there be a future with only Indie publishing? Who knows?
With Indie, you want to spread your IP (that’s Intellectual Property) around. Sell your rights when and if you get a good deal. Audio is big right now. Then there are the merchandising rights, especially if you get lucky and optioned for a movie. Then comes the T-shirts, toys, comics, etc. Even a book you give up on could come back in later years. It happens to movies. Wizard of Oz? Plenty of others. So why not?
Again, if the traditional publishers do close, if you’re a writer, you’re going to end up Indie. It’ll be the only avenue. Of course, there may still be small presses to fill in for the traditional markets. However, even they can only take so many writers.
Beginning again will be establishing your brand. Of course, if you’re a big-name author, you’re already eons ahead. Your name will be recognizable to readers who are willing to pay more for your book.
Other authors will have to make do.
Back to Shakespeare?
That’s what worries me. If there’s so many of us, will books even be written for profit anymore? Or will we be forced to rely on donations as once long-ago playwrights and artists did?
Does this seem like all doom and gloom as far as the markets are concerned? Maybe. Then again, things may coast along as they are. Even the rumor that print is failing big publishers may not end them. eBooks certainly haven’t yet. Though the Big Five have yet to adjust their prices to fit the eBook market, they still march on year after year.
Although, where are the new authors? Mostly, it’s the more prominent writers. The mid-list is shrinking.
So, which way do you turn? That’s a question only YOU can answer. Good luck with whichever decision you make!
Bio: Traci Kenworth
Traci Kenworth writes all genres of YA as well as the occasional historical romance. She lives in Ohio with her son, daughter, and four cats, chasing snippets of whatever story she’s working on at the time.
She has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Writing saved her during a dark period in her life. She is forever grateful to God for this way out of the darkness and into the light.
That’s the type of hero/heroine she writes about, survivors and those they love. Her writings show others a way back when they think everything is lost.
Her character’s stories give the reader that most welcome gift – hope. Some other things she enjoys: genealogy, riding horseback, and, of course, reading.
Follow Traci on her adventures of getting published.
Find out what Traci is up to on Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger
Contact Traci at firstname.lastname@example.org
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