July 26, 2013

Self Publishing vs Traditional Publishing & What I Chose For My New Series!

For the past few months, as I finished Scorch and started working on my new series, I've been struggling with one question: Should I self publish again, or should I try the traditional publishing route? 

Two years ago when I first self published Ignite, my reasoning was simple. I had submitted my manuscript to a few agents, never heard anything back, and wasn't even sure if I was ready to be published. My motivations were to see how readers responded to my writing, not necessarily to make a career out of it, so self publishing was the easy and quick solution. 

But then something magical happened. People actually read and liked (!!) my stories! I fell in love--not with writing, which I've always been passionate about, but with the relationship between a writer and her readers. I fell in love with the career. 

So when it came time to start my next series, I struggled with what to do. Unlike before, I have readers now, I have experience now, I have a platform that a literary agent and publishing house might find attractive. The idea of getting traditionally published didn't seem so crazy anymore. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it was really for me, at least at this point in my life. 

So I turned to my usual decision-making fall back, I did some research. And here's what I found, for anyone else struggling with this decision:

Traditional Publishing Pros:

1) Hardcover books (I've always dreamed of walking into a Barnes & Noble, and seeing one of my books on the shelf. And there's no doubt that traditional publishing is still the only real way to do that.)

2) National Distribution (Self-publishing does not have the same distribution resources. Publishing houses have relationships with buyers at all major retailers and independent bookstores.)

3) International Potential (If you have an agent, they can try to sell rights to your books all across the globe.)

4) Support (Dozens of employees at the company are paid to sell your book. The editorial, design, marketing and sales departments are resources that self-publishing just does not provide at the same level.)

5) An Advance. (Guaranteed money in your pocket before the book is even on the market.)

Traditional Publishing Cons:

1) Competition (Along with that support however, is the fact that all of those employees normally have dozens if not hundreds of other books to design, market and sell. And it is possible that your book will get lost in the crowd, especially when it comes to marketing and sales.)

2) Contracts (Unless you are a very lucky, most contracts will have undesirables, like an options clause or non-compete clause that might limit your ability to self-publish or traditionally publish outside of your house.)

3) Lack of Control (Once you sell your book, the publishing house gains control. They determine the cover, the blurb, how it will be marketed and who it will be sold to. And in some cases, an editor might even determine the arc of your story or ask you to change things you might not want to. All of this is not necessarily bad, unless you're a control freak like me.)

4) The Wait (Let's face it--traditional publishing is a long process!)

The self publishing breakdown is pretty much the opposite of all of these points. Pros: control over your book and career, speedy process, a lower price point, no one else will ever put as much effort into your own book as you will. Cons: No hardcovers (or even print copies in most cases), an initial investment, lack of built in distribution channels, you might be on your own. 

What I Chose:

So being who I am...I sat down with a list many times, agonized over the options for hours, and had no idea what to do. 

Then, last night, I had a bit of an epiphany... I'm 24 years old! In terms of the writing career, I'm still very young and the decision I make is not going to determine my entire future. Basically, I was being a drama queen! 

And the more I thought about traditional publishing, the more I realized that at this point in my life, it is not what I want to pursue. That might change in a year, or five, or ten, but for now I'm a slightly impatient control freak! I can't imagine signing any sort of contract with options or non-compete clauses, I can't imagine handing important decisions like story arcs and covers over to someone else, and I can't imagine waiting two years before my next book is in your hands. 

And most importantly, I LOVE self publishing. I love writing any story I want to. I love designing my own covers. I love writing my book copy. I love putting marketing ideas together. I love publishing multiple books a year. 

I love the challenge. And I'm not ready to pass that up. 

Why This Is Important For You!

So, bringing this back around to my new series, expect more information and reveals soon! 

I haven't shared cover ideas, or chapter excerpts, or even a title, because if I chose to try traditional publishing those are all resources that someone else might have needed or owned. 

But since I'm self-publishing, it's all in my hands!! And that means, impatient that I am, I can't wait to share it with you!

So, as always, keep in touch! In the next week, I'll reveal the series title & book 1 specific title & more images from my top secret Pinspiration board to get you excited! And in August, I'll reveal the first chapter!

Thank you for being amazing readers and for giving me the courage to continue down this self publishing path!! 

Now...enough procrastinating. Back to work for me :)


  1. Thanks for this article. I am struggling with the same decision.

    1. Thank you for reading!! I hope you're happy with whatever decision you make! No one way is better than the other, it all depends on what you as a writer want!