Thanks to everyone who entered the Go Teen Writers Elevator Pitch contest! We received 22 entries, which is about half of what we get for prompt contests. I wasn't sure what to expect (writing a one-line summary of your book isn't nearly as fun or easy as writing 100 words of a story) but I'm proud of those who entered and impressed by the quality. Wonderful job, guys! The next writing prompt will go live Monday, August 1st.
Traditional publishers are focused on one thing – how to market to the masses. For this reason, publishers are resistant to anything new. While they say, be unique, if your work doesn’t fit into a proven genre, they won’t take a chance on you. In other words, be unique, just like everyone else.
I chose to self-publish so I could keep the vision of my book. I
want to publish on my schedule, with my vision, and control the content. Talk to any published author and you’ll find that the author’s vision may not be the publisher’s vision. When there is a conflict, the publisher has the final say.
Self-published authors aren’t dependent upon the industry. The query process for an agent could take months or years. After landing an agent, it could take months or years to find a buyer for the book. Then it could be another year or two before it hits the press. For most authors, it’s a long and painful process.
Cons to self-pubbing
No paid book advance. Advances are shrinking, so this is losing its importance, but if a self-published book flops, the author makes nothing.
Loss of respect. If you self-publish, you can be a bestselling author, and still be considered a hack. John Locke is a New York Times bestseller and has had six books in the top ten at one time, but people still say he’s not a real author.
Self-published authors are excluded from awards and many other recognitions. This will change as the market does, but if getting praise from the publishing industry is important to you, self-publishing isn’t a good option.
Marketing is all on the author. For the most part, this is true for traditional authors as well, but traditional channels include press releases and easy book distribution. Even so, book marketing is the author’s responsibility. In my opinion, if an author has to do the work, he or she should get a higher profit.
Editing, cover art, printing, distribution, and marketing are on the author. It’s a big job, but in my opinion, not difficult to do. When help is needed, there are professionals who can do these things for a reasonable cost.
This is my opinion, but I’m convinced it’s true. If you plan to publish as an independent author, don’t use a self-publishing press. The services are overpriced and if you are willing to do the work, the cost can be low. Most self-pub presses overprice books. If the book is $18, you won’t sell to anyone but friends. CreateSpace gives the option for authors to publish for just the cost of the book. Then you can set the price as low as you want, and your only other cost is editing, cover art, etc.
Get informed and make a smart decision. I’ll continue to self-publish, but each person needs to evaluate their own goals.