Traditional publishing. Self-publishing. E-publishing, Print publishing. A lot of sides have been taken, and I cringe at the continuing warfare. Don't get me wrong, I understand it, but I don't like it.
I've been writing full time for years. Four years, to be exact. I've had the dream of someday becoming a published author for many years before that. Basically, publishing has been on my mind a long, long time. I remember my first brush with the business side of books. Way back in 1996, a thick paperback, How to Write a Romance and Get It Published by Kathryn Falk caught my eye at the local bookstore. Article after article about the writing craft, how to submit, and the writer's life jammed the pages. I devoured it, and still have the poor, ripped, broken thing in my office.
Since then, computers and the Internet have changed aspiring writers' lives. We no longer have to find a copy of Writer's Market and search for agents or publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. We can e-mail a query, sample pages or a requested manuscript.
The competition seems to increase by the minute. More authors are trying to get published than ever before. It can feel impossible to land an agent or find a home with a traditional or e-publisher. So when self-publishing became a viable option, I understood why so many flocked to it and why they continue to publish their books themselves.
I've read many blogs and listened to writers debate the pros and cons of the publishing options. I'm a huge believer in self-awareness. Whatever decisions we make, we need to be honest with ourselves about exactly what motivates us, and we need to be willing to accept whatever consequences our actions bring.
Jamie Raab, publisher of Grand Central Publishing (a Hatchette division), shared an insightful look at what authors can expect from editors at GCP.
Here's an excerpt from "So What Do You Do Jamie Raab, Publisher of Grand Central Publishing?" courtesy of MediaBistro (full article is linked, emphasis is mine).
"And I really do believe that we nurture talent by working hard, and we pay advances that offer writers the time and luxury they need to write the book they want to write. The truth is writing and putting a book out into the world is only a small part of it."
The article really is fantastic, and I hope you'll pop over and read the whole thing. One item Ms. Raab touched on is often overlooked in the big debate.
Traditional publishers--print or e-pub--offer advances. This means an author gets money before the book is published.
One item usually not overlooked in the big debate?
Do traditional publishers offer today's writer anything special? I believe they do. I've always had tremendous respect for the talented teams put together to make a book the best it can be.
Of course, many authors will argue that advances have dwindled. Self-published authors might say that they don't have to wait months or over a year to start making money on their books. Both would be accurate--for some writers. For other writers, these statements will prove completely untrue.
Maybe that's what all the fighting is about? We writers want a guarantee. We want to know if we do X, Y, and Z we will, with certainty, get A, B, and C.
If that's what we expect, then...we're in the wrong business.
If there's anything I've learned over the years, it's this. Every author's experience will be different. One might find blazing success with a traditionally published print book. Another might find scorching sales with a self-published e-book. One might be thrilled with a nurturing small-press publisher, while another might be happy with modest sales of their e-published book. And many, many authors will be disillusioned no matter what publishing path they take.
There are no guarantees in publishing. That's the bottom line.
I am willing to risk the lack of guarantee by staying true to my original dream. I want the traditional publisher still. I realize the climate and particulars are changing by the hour, but right now, I still believe in my dream and I'm not giving it up.
Another thing I will not give up? Supporting my fellow writers in the choices they make, whether they come to the same decision as I did or not. We have to find our own answers, and I hope we can nurture each other while we do.
How do make decisions about your career?
Have a fantastic weekend!