Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing

Let’s pretend you’re at a frat party (nightmare, I know). You’ve got two groups of frat boys drinking their way across the dance floor: the Prints and the Digitals. You know how frat boys can be. My house is bigger than your house and all that. The Prints and the Digitals all play on the same team, the team of drunken frat boy parties, but they compete to have the better house, crazier party, shorter Chubbies…and it’s very serious.

These two frat boy groups are partying away, sometimes the Prints are louder, sometimes the Digitals. Lately, the Prints can’t get the Digitals to shut up. Like, come on dude, put away your Kindle and read this cool paperback, it’s so vintage.

The party is just getting started when the freshmen come waltzing in, the freshmen who have dubbed themselves the “Self Pubs.” Now, these Self Pubs may be veterans at partying (they began pre-gaming in high school) or they may be total noobs. Regardless, the Prints and the Digitals give them the cold shoulder, though the Digitals realize this is useless because the Self Pubs are pretty much all in digital format. So they become good buddies.

The Prints are now scratching their heads, downing shots, and trying to figure out what to do. Finally, King Print suggests a contest for Self Pubs only. The best Self Pubs out there are given the opportunity to become a Print, but the Prints will be picky. Many Prints jump on this chance, since it means they’ll be allowed into more parties and won’t have to make all their own invitations. Others say pass, and keep playing beer pong with the questionably overage Digital guy in a tank top and plastic sunglasses.

By the end of the party, everyone is totally smashed and they all realize, hey, we’re all here to party. They have a great night dancing and drinking and wake up in the morning to a roaring headache and a stranger in their bed. But who cares? They had a great party.

Here’s the deal: there are many ways to publish your novel. You can go the traditional route through a Literary Agent and Publisher or you can Self Publish through a plethora of different services (pros and cons of each route will be explored at a later date). No way is inherently right or wrong, you just need to find what works best for you. There are obvious perks to whichever route you take and both require a LOT of hard work on your part. But you knew that.

So here’s your homework: do some research. What route do you think would be best for you as a person? What route is best for your book? Don’t be fooled by instant success stories. For every success there are thousands who are still fighting for each and every sale they get. You NEVER stop working as a writer.

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