The Road Less Travelled By–A Guest Post by Seán Cooke

The Road Less Travelled By–A Guest Post by Seán Cooke

401933_533941753307579_888632889_nToday’s guest post is by Seán Cooke on the best route of publication! You can find his website here.

First off, I’d like to thank Amber for letting me do this blog post. I would tell you to go check out her awesome blog but, well… you’re obviously already here! Kudos to you for having such good taste.

I’m here to discuss what route of publication I think I’ll take and, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure where I will end up. However, I have a plan and it predominantly focuses on the traditional route which is, in the 21st century, the road less travelled. Freaky, isn’t it?

My dream, like most writers, is to be published the traditional way. I want to be in bookstores. I want to do book signings in my local store, get that new-page-smell and the weird looks from customers as I lurk around my section, sniffing everything I can find. I want the excitement of agents, contracts and, if I’m lucky, advances. Most of all, I want to do it because the books I read and the authors I’ve grown up on did it that way.

The traditional route isn’t gone. No giant boulders have blocked its entrance. No blistering winds knock adventurers off its course. Sure, the surrounding undergrowth has started to impede and narrow the path, creating less space every year for adventurers to walk, but the path still exists. I don’t see the “dying” traditional route as an impossibility, I see it as a challenge. People still get signed up. People still succeed. And yes, despite what you’re told, people do actually make a living with their writing. The question is, are you good enough? Only one way to find out.

I would like to try my way along this route first. I want to walk in the footsteps of heroes and fallen alike, facing the struggles that some have risen from, and most have fallen victim to. If I can get published now, it is a testament to my writing. I love my work and I trust my writing, I’m not going to shy away from the harshest critics of all. I also want my writing to be read by others, like all writers, so naturally I will go the route that gives me the widest readership.

“What if that fails?”

“Who said that?”

“It is I, the lone wolf on my path through the Amazonian forest.”

I imagine I will someday join the brave wanderer on his path to self-publication. I like to see it as a challenge, a way to test not only my writing, but also my business skills. It takes more than just writing prowess to succeed as a self-published author. You need to be good at marketing, management, finances, networking and many more avenues. Luckily, the social media world we live in makes this ten times easier than it once was.

Am I going to go straight to self-publishing? No. Will I if my traditional publishing route fails me? Yes. How long will I give it until I throw in the towel with traditional publishing and move to a new ring? Not a clue!

Only time will tell how long my resilience will last in the traditional publishing world. I’d like to believe it won’t be tested long, as I will be swept up for the literary god that I am. Hey, we can all have dreams…

The real question is, what route do you intend to go down and why?

25 thoughts on “The Road Less Travelled By–A Guest Post by Seán Cooke

  1. Great post! I always enjoy hearing about other people’s decision-making process on this. It’s great that we have so many options, but it can be overwhelming!

    NOTE: Just because you asked, I’ll say what I’m planning, but I always feel like I need to make it clear that me saying what I’m doing is not an implied criticism of what anyone else is doing. I feel like people take it that way sometimes, but I believe we should all respect each other’s choices in this.

    I’ll probably self-publish, using a professional editor and cover designer. I was going to go the traditional route, had a query letter ready and everything, but I’ve changed my mind in the past few months. My thing is, though, that if I’m going to go that route, I want it to be my first choice, because I think it’s right for me and my work. I used to dream about having my book in big bookstores. I would still LOVE that, but for me it’s not worth the trade-offs. I don’t think traditional publishing is going anywhere, I just don’t think it’s for me. 🙂

    1. I love that I went with a partner publisher because it means I can still have control of my book while having a name backing it and marketing support. It also gives me a strong look into the business side of things so that way if my contract expires, I can always take the book and self-publish it.

    2. I will admit, I haven’t properly looked into the pros and cons of traditional publishing. It’s just always been that thing I wanted to do from a young age. I wouldn’t actually be surprised if, when I’m older, I self-publish my work.

      I definitely empathise with people taking your opinion the wrong way. I always find it hard to phrase my “I want to be traditionally published” opinion without people thinking I’m slating self-publishing. 😛

      1. That’s the problem: so many people have turned this into a “you’re for us or you’re against us” debate that you can’t talk about what you want without somehow offending someone who’s choosing another path to publication, and them ramming their version of the facts down your throat. I’ve already decided that when I announce publication, I’m not going to justify my choice beyond saying it’s right for me and my work. I’m happy to talk about it in private, but that’s not a can of worms I’d want to open up in a public forum. I don’t mind people sharing information, but if I’ve done my research and made an informed decision that works for ME, why not just wish me well and leave it at that?

        Live and let live! Now, let’s all join hands around the publishing campfire and sing folk songs into the night…

        Maybe not. 🙂

  2. I actually blogged about this very thing this morning. My short answer, I’m going to pursue publication with a small press. I have a million different reasons why, but it boils down to control. I think I’ll have more say with what happens to my work if I go small press.

  3. I enjoyed this post with Seán. Like Kate, I also like to hear about others’ thoughts concerning publication. And I hear you, Seán. I’m pursuing the traditional route, but I’m leaving other options open too.

    1. Glad you liked the post. I agree with you there, keeping your options open is just as important as having a plan.

  4. Fantastic post. I plan I doing the same thing: trying the traditional publishing route. And if that fails, I’ll self publish. There are so many pros and cons for both of them.

      1. So true! I’ve always dreamed of being published traditionally. But if it takes self-publishing to get my work out there, then so be it. 🙂

      2. As someone who loves marketing, I’d relish the opportunity to test my skills with self-publishing. The fall back plan to the dream is quite a dream in itself. 😀

  5. Reblogged this on Seán Cooke and commented:
    My guest post on Amber Forbes’s blog about which publishing route I intend to go down. Definitely check out her blog for well-written, interesting posts!

  6. I decided to self-publish mostly because I knew I had a product that was going to be hard to categorize. I am expecting a long haul to build an audience, and brick and mortar bookstores simply can’t afford to hold shelf space long enough for a genre-bending work from an unknown author to gain any traction.

      1. Actually, I do–there is a locally owned bookstore here called “All On The Same Page” that really goes all out for local authors. I was referring more to the big chains.

  7. This: “It is I, the lone wolf on my path through the Amazonian forest.”

    I’m beginning to suspect that the “lone” wolf is not “lone” at all, in fact, he’s there with packs and packs of others—and the number keeps increasing.

    It’s a difficult and problematic topic, and the debate rages on. Some think that traditional publishers take too large a bite off the author’s profits; others think self-published authors don’t write well enough to be published the traditional way…

    I, too, would like to try the traditional publishing route first. But I have no clue either how long will I give it before I throw in the towel, as Seán said.

  8. It’s far too early for me to properly think about this, but I’m hoping to try the traditional route if I ever finish and am happy with a book. I haven’t researched publication in much detail yet; the traditional route is more of a gut instinct than anything.

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