WELCOME TO THE BLOG
-- the fearless type --
If you're reading this, you're obviously interested in becoming a published author.
I was a young one when I first got interested in actually getting my work published some day. In fact, my dad was the one who started me on the path to researching all my options. And let me tell you one thing, all the types of publishing routes and the huge variety of opinions on what is best is enough to make your head spin! I chose to start my own publishing company when I was sixteen, but it has been a long road of learning and hard work, and I'll be the first to say: It's not for everybody. The truth is, there are pros and cons to each variation of publishing, and it really depends on the individual with what is best for them! There is no right or wrong. And I'm here to break it all down in one simple post so you can figure out what's best for you...without having to spend countless hours scratching around the internet for information.
First off, it's not really as simple as just traditional versus indie publishing.
Yes, the traditional route is pretty self-explanatory and the most well-known option there. But then you have the self-publishing realm which covers everything from true indie to combination options. On top of that, people can have a very misguided view of what Indie publishing is, because there are so many so-called self-publishers that look just that... unprofessional and cheap. So before we get into pros and cons of each route, let's get some quick definitions going.
Definitely the longest-standing route of publication, traditional publishing means you as an author send out submissions to various agents or publishers until one of them likes your work enough to accepts you. This then means they sign you on for a book deal, and from there on you work with your publisher to get the book to the market.
Vanity Press Self-Publishing:
A vanity press, also known as a subsidy publisher, is a publishing house in which the author has to pay to get their book printed. This way was the most popular decision for those who didn't (or couldn't) get traditionally published, before other ways became more well known. This was especially for people who just wanted a printed book for family and friends, or maybe a couple hundred to sell at a church or social group.
A rather new term and idea, this is a middle-of-the-road option. The phrase can be used for various modes of publishing but the basic idea is that the author works with a press to publish a book--it's basically a partnership. Rather than the publisher being in control (Traditional) the author gets to have the final say of things, while still getting a lot of assistance from the publisher. (Which leads to another name for this type-- assisted publishing). Often in this case an author will submit their novel to a publishing company, then if it's accepted, will work together with that press to publish. The difference here between Traditional is that often these companies are smaller and you are the one taking the responsibilities for the expense and possible losses, not the publisher.
Though this is often used interchangeably with "self-publishing", I believe it's rather different. Indie Publishing (short for Independent publishing) is when an author goes into self-publishing, perhaps even starting their own publishing company. Many Indie Publishers use print-on-demand services and try to get into bigger stores like Amazon. Indie Publishing overall has a reputation for being more serious and professional, and it's looked at as a business move versus a boasting claim of being published.
For those who aren't interested in producing print copies of their books, there is the option of going solely into e-book publishing. This is definitely the easiest route out of them all, and can be very quick as well.
Now that we've broken down each into simple explanations, let's look at the pros and cons of each!
So how do you know what's best for you?
You all probably know by now that I'm an Indie Author. I enjoy the freedom and I love being able to wear all the different hats involved in the process of writing and publishing a book. Does it get overwhelming sometimes, though? Definitely. I'm glad I'm an Indie author, but there are moments when I just really want to hire a bunch of people for different jobs. But even though sometimes I really wish I had a team to help me out, I know I wouldn't be as happy in a traditional book deal, and I'm beyond excited with all I've been able to learn because I had to.
So would I recommend Indie? Yes. Is it for you? Maybe not. While I would recommend it, I'll be the first to say that it's not for everybody. And that's ok. Here's what's what.
If you like various types of work (design, formatting, editing), if you're willing to put in the time to do it well... if you enjoy having complete freedom for your creativity, style and standards, if you like being your own boss, and if you tend towards an entrepreneurial spirit, then Indie might be for you.
If you're interested in being top-dog in the process but want help along the way, if you don't want to spend so many hours on work you could have others do, if you would rather invest money than time, if you don't like being the only decision-maker, if you want to work alongside a team of people who know what they're doing-- then maybe hybrid publishing is for you.
If you just want to write, if you like the traditional triumph of snagging a book deal, if you don't want to mess with details or book launches or any of that at all, if you would rather go through the energy of contacting agencies and publishing houses rather then learning how to do stuff independently, if you are ok with possibly getting dozens of rejections... then maybe you're cut out for traditional.
Obviously, this is just an intro.
There's not time or space in one post to go into all the details for each style of publishing, nor am I the best one to talk about all the various types. But I wanted to give you all a basic idea of what each entails, so you can get a better idea of what might work for you. Think you're an Indie at heart? Then I encourage you to go research indie publishing. One invaluable resource for you is Joel Friedlander's Book Designer Website. Just trust me on that one. From cover design to book formatting to knowing about ISBN numbers and more, if you're going to do the Indie route, go to his site and learn. Take the time to know what you're getting into, to learn about the different areas of book publishing that maybe you never even thought of before. Copyrights? Book launches? Marketing? Hiring proofreaders? If you want to be an Indie, you need to know this stuff.
If you find yourself leaning more towards hybrid or traditional, I'd still say go do some more research. How do you go about finding agencies? Tips for emailing potential agents? What will you need to be aware of before getting involved with a publishing house?
The main point is that writers can't just be writers. You have to be willing to put in some effort to know your game, and it doesn't matter whether that game is Indie or Traditional or whatever. Not only will you understand how things works better, be able to act with confidence and knowledge, but you will also be able to converse better with other people about your work or services you are paying them for.
If you're interested in hybrid styles of publishing, did you know that's essentially what Fearless Type Publishing is? We are a company that is a blend between traditional and indie for other indie creatives who want to work with a team. Learn more about us here!
So, Tell me. What Publishing route do you think fits you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!