Brehonna Franklin

Writer, Artist and Overthinker

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Traditional vs. Indie Publishing

I've read what seems like hundreds of articles and books on publishing, ranging from exciting to depressing. Always overwhelming. From successes like J.K. Rowling and Amanda Hawking, to failures unwritten and even those literally dying over their craft. Is the publishing business really so cutthroat? Maybe, but I'm willing to put risk over a bit of security (no I won't die over it, but I'll chance a headache and carpal tunnel).

Publishing OptionsTraditional Publishing

We're all familiar with the warm, fuzzy feeling of a book in your hands...at least if you read. Not enough of us do, but that's a whole other rant for another time. In traditional publishing the rules are this:

  1. Write a good book.
  2. Make it better.
    1. Perfect the damn thing and get others to read it.
    2. Go over it again.
    3. Polish to perfection for the third time.
  3. Query.
  4. Land an agent.
  5. Get a publisher.
  6. Book gets worked over.
    1. Revision...
    2. Revision...
    3. Etc...
  7. Commence the creation of the book.
  8. Book Is Published.
  9. Throw A Party!
  10. Start the next one.

So then we have the other path...

Self-Publishing

Also called Indie Publishing, this is another option that has been gaining traction within the last five years. This is mainly due to companies like Amazon's CreateSpace and the disenchantment of traditional publishing. It's no longer a deathblow to a work being published if you never get a publisher to pick you up. It is however, just as much if not more work than the traditional route. Simply change steps 3 through 7 with hiring an editor, book artist, and a marketing plan.

Weighing in Your Options

From what I've gathered these are the most consistent pros and cons for both types of publishing. This is NOT a comprehensive list of all the good and bad, and some of the items listed are pros for some and cons for others.

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The Hybrid Author: My Decision to Try Both Paths

Three years ago I never would've considered self-publishing. I honestly thought it was something like vanity-publishing, self-absorbed and unrealistic. Yet the more I read into it, the more it appealed to me as an individual. I'm a DIY by nature. If I could do more things myself I would, and the idea of having full control over my creative work just...seems right. It will cost, but I've already offset some of the costs by being a studious artist (and decently skilled in Photoshop) as well as learning the book-formatting process. But I'll never rely solely on my editing skills, I don't think anyone should. I will be hiring an editor. :)

That being said, I can never underestimate the power and expertise of publishers and agents. They do this for a living, I never have. They have the connections, the guidance, and the market on lock. They do all the heavy lifting while the writer gets to write. It would be a little too bold of me to assume that they offer me nothing in terms of getting published.

So how will I juggle this? Again, it's about planning and research. I've done a good bit of both. I'm going to need fresh eyes for my book soon as it nears the final stage. In the meantime, I'm going to continue honing my craft and documenting my steps with all of you. I also realize that I may need two projects in the works, one to try traditional and the other for self-publishing.

What Should You Do?

This is completely personal and depends on your needs, desires and time. Also, your budget. If the chart above answers your questions then good! I've done my part in the world. If not, I encourage you to do more investigating, as there's a lot of information out there. I'm thinking of doing a giant list of the most helpful resources for publishing soon. This was long, but I hope you all gained something from it. Have an awesome journey!

Disclaimer + Note: You're never guaranteed success in anything you do, but your odds may increase with more open paths. Take what I say with a bucket of salt. This was posted a year ago, yet disappeared into cyberspace, so I'm reposting it.

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