As writers, we have so many choices nowadays as to how we want to go about publication. With the advent of the e-reader, our choices have broadened, and some of us are left wondering what direction we should go. Should we go traditional, indie, or should we self-publish? I’m going to break it down by using personality traits to explain each route. Hopefully these trait-explained routes will make it easier for you to choose which direction you want to go.
Let’s start with traditional. The traditional route is for those who crave affirmation by experts, first from the agent, then from the publisher they sign up with. They feel that by overcoming these barriers, they’ve proven they do have what it takes to make it in the publication field. They also do not mind giving over control to the experts because, well, they’re experts for a reason. These people do not mind negotiating with editors on changes to be made to the book, and they do not mind having little control over the cover because they themselves may not have the prowess to create a book cover. I mean, many writers aren’t cover designers, after all. These people also may find marketing daunting and want professional help from a publicist. Or, if they don’t have a publicist, they want to be told how to market because, frankly, marketing is both a daunting and painful process. They also want their books in the bookstores and want physical copies of their books they can do book signings with. These people want big names behind them because big names are in bookstore, where their books will be much easier to search for than online. They also want advances, sure money, and don’t want to take too many risks.
Now indie. Indie people crave affirmation by experts as well, but they also want some power in the process. They want their copyrights, so that way should their books not do so well, they can at least self-publish to give their books a second chance. They also have books that are more niche and likely wouldn’t fit with a big publisher, but their books still have a place in the market. While they may not get advances, they want bigger royalties for each book, for their hard-earned work. They may not want to dive into marketing alone, but want to have some control with a safety net. They want to work on a team with other writers to help market each other’s work. They want an editor’s help, but they also want some say in the changes made to the book. They fear the big publishing brands due to corporatism and want to support smaller houses because they believe with indie, it is not all about the money.
Lastly, self-publishing. These people want total control, over their book, brand, marketing, editing, cover designing, and all aspects of the publication process. With freelance editors, they can choose what changes to keep and which to ignore. They can design their own covers or hire a cover designer with a design in mind. They want full control of marketing because they have the money and the know-how. They don’t want anyone to take their money, save for the websites selling their work. They do not need affirmation from experts, but readers. They do not care about the romantic aspects of publication. They only care that their stories are out there being read by people who enjoy what they write–while making money to earn more than what they spent on self-publication. These people are masters of their own domain and do not want anyone intruding upon their territory, save for those they invite.
Hopefully this helps you decide which route you want to go. I already have my route down. What about you?