As a writer today, there are many options for putting your work out there. Technology has made it possible for books to reach the eyes of millions with a click of a button. With forums like Wattpad and blogs, writers can easily share their words with the world. However, for a writer that not only wants to share the craft but also make a living from it, what are the options? We are no longer living in times where the traditional route is the only feasible one. Today’s writers have options. When it comes to publishing with the intent to make money, there are two options: traditional or self publishing.
Being that neither of these routes is a walk in the park and each being polar opposites from one another, how do you decide which route is best for you? The most important thing is to be informed. What is the difference between traditional and self publishing? If you decide to go with the traditional route, you might meet a bit of rejection. As many of you know, it takes quite a bit to draw the eye of a publisher. For example, you might need an amazing query letter, a lot of patience and possibly an agent. At the end of the day, the big factor is finding a publisher that is a good match for you. One who understands your visions and ultimate goals and what the heck, sending a nice advance your way would definitely help. The publisher will take your novel, edit it, ensure it has a great cover, build up a bit of buzz over it, then market and distribute it. As for self publishing, the only help you get is the one you pay for. You write your novel. You edit it. You design the cover. You publish it. You market it. Where self publishing is involved, every aspect of your novel being successful begins and ends with you.
If self publishing is so much work for the author, why has it become so popular? This is actually an easy question to answer. Although self publishing is an awful amount of work, it truly has many positives. Sometimes when a publisher is involved, the editing can be gruesome and extensive. After all, publishers are looking for novels that are easy to market and are sure will sell. So much so that in order to ensure commercial success many novels are butchered from what the author envisioned to what the publisher deems acceptable. While this is not always the case, Self publishing allows you to always have complete creative control.
Money and how it differentiates between the two publishing methods is a little more complex, at least on the publishing side. There is a very good article written by a blogger that dives into the subject of money from both aspects. To read about it in detail and visit Wrightspeak click here. Basically, the article states that while publishing houses tend to give their authors a very small percentage of earned income and the book royalties, because the books usually reach a broader audience, these authors still make a decent amount. On average a published author makes more than an indie writer. However, an indie author will see nearly every penny spent on the purchased novel. While this truth might differ based on the format of the book, the fact stays that self publisher authors get a bigger piece of the pie.
So when you write your novel and are assured it is a master piece. It is quite simply ready for the printing press as far as you are concerned. A writer seeking to go through traditional publishers will get their amazing query letter, stamp their envelopes and send them out to dozens of publishers. Lets say, you hear back from one who is interested in picking up your book. A this point, saying you are thrilled is an understatement. You wrote this novel with the hopes of sharing your ideas, imagination and passion with others. After all, your heart and soul has been weaved into every word on that page and you could not be more excited to share it with others. Well, overly excited and impatient writer, you will have to calm your horses and learn the virtue of patience. From the time that the query letter leaves your hands to the time the book hits the stands, years have most likely passed. Most publishers seek perfection, and they will polish your novel until it’s gloss is iridescent. Self publishing, however, is great on time. You can go from polishing your novels to having it available for readers within days. That is the beauty of ebooks and websites like Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Lulu.
Comics used in this article were borrowed from here and here.
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