24 July 2021

On second thought...maybe I spoke too soon...

Do remember this post? I talk about being a broke writer and how I'm trying to go the traditional publishing route because I priced out some services for self-published authors and I didn't think I could afford to pay for a good cover, developmental edits, proofreading, formatting, etc. because it would total thousands of dollars. Plus there are some benefits to traditional publishing that self-publishing doesn't necessarily have.

So I've just been humming along, and then I saw this on Twitter, from Ellen Oh, author and co-founder of We Need Diverse Books.

I was completely shocked to read this. I talked to a few authors from my Seton Hill MFA days for more details about this and they confirmed that this is a legitimate part of the business. Then more people hopped on and essentially said, "Self-publishing for the win!!" when they learned of this practice. 

Which got me thinking...the first thought that entered my head was a sad/angry, Nobody wants to pay authors and no one can make a living writing, because I keep hearing of so many instances where that seems to be true. And then I remembered a lot of articles that I've read that include quotes like these:

The more I read about where traditional publishing is going in this new century, the more I wonder why any writer with sense would join traditional publishing. -- Kristine Kathryn Rusch

If you want to see someone point out some of the darker/more disappointing realities of traditional publishing, these three articles bring up some interesting points that also, in addition to the tweet I shared, made me think that maybe I should reconsider my publishing path:

  1. Business Musings: Heads, Sand, and Traditional Publishing by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  2. Business Musings: Traditional Writers by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  3. Traditional Book Publishers... by Dean Wesley Smith
I'm still pricing services for self-publishing. It's still too expensive for me on the whole, at least right now, anyway. But it just seems like there are advantages to self-publishing I've been overlooking.

I've mentioned several times over the course of this blog that I've been nervous about the current book I've been working on, and one of those stress-inducers is that I've been writing under the pressure of trying to predict what an agent and major publisher would want...instead of serving the story. I even took a month-long break working on it because writing became miserable for me. 

When I was confessing my stress to my sister, she asked me to consider something: what would happen if my book never got published? I had a visceral reaction to that question, almost a feeling of sickness.  Obviously this made me realize publishing was important to me, but that the only way to guarantee the book makes it into print is to self-publish it. Traditional publishing is risky -- you could go that route and might never see the book come to fruition. 

I know it's still a little early for me to be thinking about these things, but I'm nearing the end of my draft and getting closer to the next step in my writing and publishing journey. I have to be thinking of where all of this work is finally going to go, so these thoughts have been a constant hum in the back of my mind. 

I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. But self-publishing is definitely looking more and more appealing to me. 


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