I now have a realistic understanding of the publishing ecosystem and have set new artistic and business goals because of the knowledge I have gained at Southern New Hampshire University. Now that I have a manuscript almost ready for publication, my next decision should be which path do I want to take with my manuscript. I can either decide to try the self-publication or traditional route. Because of my college classes, I have gained more of an understanding of the benefits and consequences of both ways.
Self-publication has its benefits by providing a larger residual. The author makes all the important decisions regarding cover design and market placemat. Take a moment to think about that. Are you the type of person who likes to stay in control of everything? Does giving your project over to someone else something you can’t deal with? Then self-publication is clearly your best choice. Do you want to make all the decisions from design, editing, and marketing? Some self-publishing businesses do offer some help but if you pick self-publication, you will be doing most of the legwork. However, you will be signing a contract with residuals possibly double that of traditional publishers.
Traditional publishers typically require an agent for a manuscript to be read. Don’t fret; many agents offer their services on the agents’ page. If you land a contract with an agent who then gets you a deal, an advance can range in the thousands of dollars. The residuals over time are much less but this route may be a way to immediately pay yourself back for any out-of-pocket expenses.
Being published by the traditional path means you don’t have much control over release dates or even what your book looks like, but you will be supplied a marketing department who specializes in selling books who know the best places and websites to offer your works. The marketing department may even set up book signings and interviews.
So being published traditionally may sound like the best option but it is also the hardest to accomplish. Many traditional publishers don’t want to finance works by unproven authors. Publishers who advertise in the Writer’s Marketplace book are more author-friendly than most, but for many publishing the self-publishing route may be their only choice at first. It worked for Stephen King who sold Gujo out of the back of his car with his self-published book.
My business and artistic goals are to get Birds of a Feather published by deciding its path and then to market its publication through my website, social media, press releases in newspapers, radio announcements and book events. I hope my next path to publication can help you decide yours, traditional or self-publication.