Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What's Right For You

Ah, writer friends... I'm so lucky to have gotten to know so many of you over the last few years, through both Blogger and Twitter. I've read lots of your books, and those I haven't read are on my To-Read list. And you know what I've learned? (Besides that you're all lovely people and can write fabulous books?) You're all different. And that's good.

This past week, I was pondering the big question of, "Which publishing route is best for me?" and was satisfied with the conclusion that there really is no right way to publish. Just ways that are better or worse for you, personally.

Then I thought about ALLLL the books I've read in the past several years. And a lot of them challenge the typical way of thinking:

- I've read books published by Big Publishers that were INCREDIBLE! But... I also read books by Big Publishers that were really lame. (None of my writer friends' books were lame - don't worry.)

- I've read Self-Published books that could have had better editing. But... I also read some AMAZING, BREATHTAKING Self-Published* books, some of which are now my absolute favorites! (*I know I'm doing a lot of needless capitalizing in this post. It's just for fun.)

- I've read books published by Small Presses that were "pretty good, but not as good as books by a Big Publisher", as someone might expect. But... just like with everything, there were also SUPER AWESOME WONDERFUL Small Press books, and some not-so-great ones. (I've been researching small presses for years now, and made a point to read a lot of books published by them.)

Other examples:

- I've been told by friends with Agents that you neeeed one. They are valuable and crucial and just all around wonderful. And I love agents and can totally respect that. But... I also know a few people who were unhappy with their (former) agents, or who decided not to get an agent and are still doing fabulously.

- I've heard of -- and seen -- self-published books that didn't sell well. "You don't have a publisher to do all the marketing for you." All that stuff. But... 1) I've also heard stories of books published by Big Publishers that just couldn't attract readers, and 2) have seen with my own eyes Self-Published books that made the bestsellers' lists!

- Not to be all "self-publishing is the best way to go", because conversely, I've heard writers say that they're very content with the way their publishers have handled their cover art, formatting, etc. and even having all the control in the world (with self-publishing) wouldn't have gotten them such a wonderful result.

I know I'm getting long-winded, so let me finish with this: There's no "right" or "wrong" way to publish, as a whole. Just what's right for you. (Personally? All three options are still on the table for me!) I'd like to think the writing world is becoming more open-minded, but there will still be people who won't buy self-published books because they're not 'real' books or people who won't publish traditionally because they were rejected and so ALL agents and editors are meanies!

I mean, come on guys. The world is changing. Let's keep an open mind.

Thoughts? Anything to add? Anything you've come across that has challenged the typical mindset of publishing?
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