Should You 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 today. Ultimately, the author must make the final decision.

With fewer traditional publishers, more books written, and fewer readers reading books, many traditional houses aren’t willing to work with unknown authors, or don’t have a following.

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 will traditional publishers 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.

Experiences from some writers is that self-published books are akin to what we call vanity press books, pay 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 found out what some so-called authors were doing just to make sales. 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, and poor quality.

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 because they will not find subtle errors. Grammar checkers will vary depending on the individual program.

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 authors such as James Paterson, David Baldacci, or Orson Scott Card want to publish a book with a traditional house, most houses will take a chance, but they are probably not willing to take a chance on previously 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

2 comments:

  1. More and more authors seem to be opting for self publishing even though I suspect sometimes the returns are not as great as they have been led to believe. It works well if the books are well-edited but even the best of authors has word blindness when it comes to typos...

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  2. Robert, every writer needs to self-edit their own work. Then s/he needs to find a reputable editor to give it a professional edit.

    There are more and more authors taking the self-publishing road, hopefully they do it right.

    Also, if an author is looking for an agent, s/he shouldn't have to pay anything, if the agent is on the up-an-up.

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