Thoughts About Writing

Traditional, or Self-publishing? Which is better for your work?


very writer I talk to, no matter what they write, or which venue we are talking at, struggles with the same question. Should I seek an agent, or a publishing house, or should I go self-published. Maybe hybrid? I see some of the best selling authors doing both these days.

Here are a few things to consider, compiled from the February issue of “Writer’s Digest,” my own experiences and conversations with other writers.

I think we all understand that when you go the “traditional” route, with a publishing house picking up your work and publishing it, you have the following benefits:

  1. Money up front (an advance on rayalties)
  2. professional editing and design (read “quality control”
  3. typically, more access to larger markets
  4. Money up front (an advance on rayalties)
  5. producers, network executives, publishers in other countries, are more likely to look at your work (unless you are widely known)
  6. production costs borne by the publisher

Of course, like anything else, there are some downsides to having your work published by someone else:

  1. traditional publishing is still slower than self publishing
  2. while marketing efforts are typically more notable than self publishing, publishing houses don’t do as much as they used to to
  3. brick and mortar stores, and space on their shelves, is dwindling
  4. publishes are less likely to take risks
  5. there is some loss of creative control, depending on the contract

Flip those pluses and minuses above for self-publishing. In addition, consider the following if you are self-publishes, or as Chuck Wendig wrote in Writer’s Digest, if you are an author-publihser, you might also consider:

  1. Your royalty percentage is bigger
  2. There is a growing, strong community of author-publishers, and resources to support them
  3. there are formats and options you can explore without seeking the approval of the publishing house

So what do I suggest? Consider what you are writing, and think about your target audience. If you are NOT currently a known, best selling author, you will probably get a smaller piece of a larger pie going the traditional route. IF, that is, you can get past the gatekeepers (slush pile reviewers, editors). If you enlist the aid of professional editors and designers, and if you go for a print run through a printing house rather than one of the POD (print on demand) options, you will be spending money up front instead of getting an advance.

It might sound like a no-brainer; do BOTH. I’ll explore more of the considerations and choices next week.


A few of the things I’ve learned about “writing”


iting involves a lot more than putting words on paper, especially if you self-publish. After publishing the writer needs to market and promote his or her work. Even if published in the more traditional manner, through a major publishing house, authors are still required to market and promote their work. The larger the publishing house, the more the support provided to the author in these arenas; but it is still incumbent upon the author to “get the word out.” After all, who knows the most about your story, your characters, you? Who is the most heavily invested in what you have written?

That being said, I encourage everyone to write. Each of you has a story to tell, most more than one. When you start writing for publication, plan to set aside some of your time for more than the writing. Budget for self-marketing and promotion. Tomorrow I’ll delve a little more deeply into this aspect of the writing career.


All of Ken’s books at Amazon


ll of Ken’s books can be found at via the following link. They are available in print (over-sized paperback) and e-book formats. The first two books in the fantasy trilogy Arthe Awakening are out now (as of July, 2014). The first book in the companion science fiction trilogy Foredune Revisited is due out this November.




Once There Were Dragons


ew Gods came to Arthe, created barriers sealing away dragons and magic, and left. How do the people of Arthe deal with alien invasion, and the return of the dragons, decades later? Find the answers in Book One of the intriguing Arthe Awakening Series: Once There Were Dragons.




There Used to be Magic


re the portals of Arthe closed, preventing alien creatures from invading? Did the attempt to close them affect the barriers sealing away dragons and magic? Find out in Book Two of the exciting Arthe Awakening Series: There Used to be Magic.




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