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Selling out: From Self-publishing to Traditional publishing

This question is for authors who previously self-published a book(s) and now publish with a traditional publisher...

What have been your "Top Three" advantages of being with a traditional publisher vs. when you self-published (other than not having to pay to have your book produced)?

I'm at a tug of war with the idea of submitting my work to a traditional publisher, so your feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Alicia Hill Jones, Author of Blessings of Purpose, A Novel

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Hello, My Disabled Husband went self publsihing, with his first childrens book, and I now could kick my self as we have wasted all this money and to this day are regretting this move. So good Luck with your venture. Regards Amandah
First, I would never pay to be published. That is vanity or subsidy publishing. If you want to self-publish, then either go the LuLu, CreateSpace, or better yet, Lightning Source route. But why not submit your work to traditional publishers and see what they say. It takes tons of queries usually to get an acceptance, but then all you will have to worry about is marketing and not the costs or production end. If you need total control (over the cover, interior, editing, etc.), then self-publishing is for you. If not, then send out queries to publishers and get some feedback - if nothing else you will get a better idea of how large of a market your book might have.

Director: Bauu Institute and Press
Publisher: Great New Books Reviewed
Editor: Indigenous Peoples Issues Today
Editor: Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources
Hi Alicia -

If you don't mind waiting around for months at a time before you hear back from the traditional publishers then, by all means, send out those manuscripts. But first, according to what I remember from years ago, you need to send a query letter to find out if they even want to see your manuscript. You might wait weeks (or even months) before you get a response to your query. Another snag you might run into is that some publishers don't want manuscripts (or even query letters) sent to them directly from the author. They want you to have an agent who will send them the manuscript and who will serve as the liaison between you and the them (the publisher).

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are an "unknown" author then your manuscript (once it arrives on the publisher's desk) will likely go to the bottom of a very large pile. Worse yet, no matter how good your book might be, the odds that they will want to publish it are slim. Traditional publishers today are going through tough times, financially. It costs a lot to manufacture large quantities of books. Add to that the huge promotional costs and it becomes clear as to why more and more of the traditional publishers are leaning more toward publishing only (or at least mostly) those authors with established track records. The publishers want to have a pretty good idea that the book they're putting their money behind is going to pay for itself first and then go on to generate enough sales for them to make a profit beyond their expenses.

I hate to sound so discouraging but this does seem to be the situation these days - at least according to the many other authors I've been in contact with over the past couple of years. But don't just take my word for it. Do your own research and see what you come up with. And good luck, which ever way you decide to go.

Gary Val Tenuta
Author of The Ezekiel Code


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