24 March 2021

Why I'm Trying to Go Traditional

    Update, July 24, 2021: I wrote a counterpoint to this article, all about self-publishing! Read it here.

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As I work on Son of the Siren, I figure I'd take a moment to talk about my eventual goal with the work: traditional publishing. I've thought long and hard about this and I've come to this conclusion for several reasons that narrow down to one huge reason.

The whopper: as much as I want to self-publish, I literally cannot afford to invest in it. I keep a file on my computer called "The Price of Indie" and log in expenses regularly to give me a rough idea of how much things cost, and while I haven't priced everything I need to, we're talking a least a couple thousand dollars, which I definitely do not have.

I know there are cheaper ways to go about getting things like covers, editing, formatting, graphics for ads, etc., but I have very high standards and I'm pretty set in my ways with who I want to work with and what type of things I want. To give you an example, if I want developmental edits on an 80,000 word manuscript, one of the quotes I've gotten is $695. For commercially licensed custom art commissions for covers, I've seen quotes at $500. So... just two things I want costs almost $1200.

Again, I'm aware that I can get it cheaper, but I've seen what cheaper has to offer and I'm unimpressed.

This is one of the reasons why traditional publishing is so appealing to me. Money flows to the author, not the other way around.

This infographic (used with permission) from QueryLetter.com breaks down the pros and cons of traditional publishing quite well:

The pros that appeal most to me:

  • Print distribution -- I want to see my books on the shelves in stores
  • Professional team -- I don't have to pay for the editors and designers who work on the book
  • No upfront costs -- I can't afford to invest in self-publishing so this is preferred
Now, self-publishing has always appealed to me largely because I'm a huge control freak, and if I am traditionally published I give up that control, which is something I have to learn to cope with (mostly I'm thinking about book covers and keeping the original titles of my manuscripts). I'm not altogether worried about letting someone else design a book cover, though, because I do believe we are in a Golden Age of beautiful book design.

I mean, take a look at some of these covers!

What about you, dear readers? If you are a writer interested in publishing, what route do you wish to take? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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