Friday, February 8, 2013

To Self Publish or Not

Whether to self publish or vie for traditional publishing is a question brought to the forefront because of the direction publishing is moving.

With fewer traditional publishers, more books written, and fewer readers, many traditional houses aren’t willing to work with unknown authors.

Authors need a platform with followers, a book marketing plan, and more laid upon the shoulders of authors, many authors feel that self-publishing is the way to get their book into the hands of readers.

If you self publish your book, how traditional will look upon your book if you decide to vie for a traditional publishing house in the future is a question only the publishing house can answer. Experience from some writers is that self-published books are akin to what we used to call vanity press books, pay money and they will publish anything as Amazon found out with blatant plagiarism of many titles that Amazon published, and then had had to remove when they finally knew it. Amazon’s reputation was hurt, and rightly so.
Why have reviewers been complaining about the quality of self-published books?

The complaints range from editing to grammar. Publishing houses once employed editors to clean up these problems for authors; this is no longer the case. Self-published book editing is now the purview of the author, and authors need professional editing. Don’t rely on software like spellcheckers and grammar checkers to find the errors.

A literary agent may cost writers thousands to have their book shopped to publishers. Many authors can’t afford these costs, and opt for self-publishing.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual author how to publish their baby. First, is to hire an editor that has no interest in the book other than making sure that they edit for typos, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, redundancies,  over use of words like “and”, “or”, and “but”. Editors will notice these because they have no stake in the book other than making it the best book for the reader.

If an author such as James Paterson, David Baldacci, or Orson Scott Card wants a book published, most traditional publishers will take a chance, but are probably not willing to take on self-published authors or unpublished writers. Authors need to find creative ways to convince publishing houses to take a chance. One creative way is to create a well-written, well-edited book. Don’t forget a well-crafted proposal.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, Reviewer, Marketer

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