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?


Jemi Fraser said...

So true! It's a very diverse world out there and there are so many wonderful paths we can follow. Finding the right one is tough! I know authors with big presses, small presses and who've pubbed as indies and they're all very happy with their paths. So many choices! :)

Laura Marcella said...

I think it's great that there are so many options for writers now! It's sad that the big publishing houses are all gone except–what is it now, only 5 or 6? But writers are a tenacious bunch and don't let that get them down. Self-publishing and small presses are terrific routes for publication. Writers have had lots of success taking those non-traditional paths. Now it's becoming the norm!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Beth said...

I have an agent and I'm still open to self publishing. I don't think it's the best route or a bad route. I just think it's another route. ;) But I do think lots of writers are building a platform self pubbing these days and then picking up an agent later.

Tiana Smith said...

I agree entirely! I still haven't decided 100% what's going to be best for me. There's a lot to consider!

Theresa Milstein said...

Just like there's no right way to rough draft or revise, there's no right way to publish. I'm still pretty cautious about buying self published books because I've started a few that weren't ready to be published yet. Gatekeepers don't have the same power they used to, but they often serve a valuable purpose.

Anne Gallagher said...

Glad to see you out and about.

I've been self-published for two years now and I wouldn't change a thing. However, I would love to have an agent snag me a nice contract with a Big 6 publisher.

But first I have to write something stupendous don't I? It's all a crap shoot.

Misha Gericke said...

I know what you mean. Honestly, there are some big publishing houses who have been publishing crap lately...

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