There have been volumes written about the trend of self-publishing. I don’t think that is a bad thing, however I want to take some time to discuss the role and purpose of a traditional publisher versus what self publishing provides.
First and foremost, a traditional publisher provides the services books need in order to be published. Whether they are a publishing service you pay for or one you query that charges nothing they both provide a laundry list of important services to authors.
It is absolutely true you can make a book, cover to cover, on your own without outside assistance. Despite that there is no guarantee it will be a good book. While self publishing is an attractive option, and certainly a viable one for certain authors, the traditional process more often results in a more polished and higher quality product. Publishers are publishers for a reason; they have an intimate knowledge of what a book needs in order to sell. They also have an understanding of how to market books and what the best market for your book is.
The reality is while you certainly can do most of the things a publisher does a publisher is a professional and, much like professional editors, they get to the point they are because they know what they’re doing.
The bones of the matter are most authors have neither time nor skill enough to self publish without a great deal of learning. Self publishing isn’t just about writing a good book, saving it as a .pdf, and slapping it up on Smashwords. It requires an understanding of typesetting, cover design, pricing and market analysis, editing, and many other little details. And, as we all know, the devil is in the details.
Finding a good publisher is an extremely helpful thing for an author. Whereas for self publishing you have the overhead of having to pay for all the services I mentioned prior, or find time in your busy life to learn the skills necessary to be able to accomplish those ends, the traditional route offers a less hands-on approach.
When making the decision of how to publish make sure you consider all the variables and don’t get taken in by hype. There are many roads to having your books on bookshelves, but the traditional publishing method is just as viable now as it was twenty years ago. It shouldn’t be discounted.
Elizabeth Harvey-Prybylski is Editor-In-Chief of Eat Sleep Write (www.eatsleepwrite.net). Eat Sleep Write is a powerful marketing tool for authors and an exciting place to connect with other writers, learn more about the craft of writing, and celebrate your love for books and writing with like-minded people. Currently, Elizabeth has two short story collections she wrote for, edited, and published through Divertir Publishing: “Damn Faeries” and “When Nightmares Fall”, and she has been working in the editing field for several years. When not steeped in the world of writing, Elizabeth spends time with her husband, her cats, and enjoys playing violin.
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