This post on Kelli Crockett’s blog inspired today’s literary musings.
On Kelli’s most recent blog post, she clarifies the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing- because it’s something that every writer ponders at some point in their lives, right? It got me thinking about how every writer dreams of being picked up by the big publishing companies like Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Random House or HarperCollins (or, at least, that’s what I dream about).
Self-publishing is something that pretty much anyone with time can do, which makes it less revered and respected (although a few authors have obtained hefty publishing company contracts from initially self-publishing). In my opinion, it’s something to try when you’re out of traditional publishing options (and even then, there are many many MANY publishing companies that could accept your work, so why stop trying?).
Traditional publishing, in some respects, is what it’s cut out to be.
The quality if the covers- despite what people preach- is a big part of book marketing and advertising, and that means big publishing companies have the upper hand. A lot of people opt to make their own book covers when self-publishing, and it’s normally how you distinguish between traditionally-published and self-published books.
Take these books. (If publishing companies solicited artwork like this, I would be questioning their competence.)
Not to say that these are both horrible stories, because these are just random book covers from Smashwords. I haven’t read these books. They could be wonderfully inspiring, empowering stories. But authors have to understand that they’re living in a world where people don’t practise what they preach, and they really do judge literal books by their covers. That’s what they’re designed to do.
Wow. I just did a whole rant on book covers. But anyway.
When you self-publish, you have to consider beforehand how much work you’re willing to put into marketing and editing and designing the cover (or even hiring someone to design a cover for you). Because that stuff matters in this industry. Traditional book publishers draw that process out, but simultaneously make it easier for you. So it’s either time you’re sacrificing, or the potential first impressions of your book. I think I would rather sacrifice the former.
And I could go into money and advances, but I’ll let Kelli do that… read her post here.
If you’re a writer looking to get your work out there, I run a literary magazine called The Drowning Gull. I’m especially enthusiastic about discovering emerging writers (and will consider just about anything).
Thanks for reading!