This post is not for everyone.
Sometimes we wait and wait to be accepted or approved by someone. But sometimes we need to do our homework, approve ourselves, and get it done. That's for life in general.
But then there's this thing of waiting for traditional publishers to approve of you before you publish a book. Sometimes you have the right combination of ambiguous features and qualities a publisher looks for, and you get a deal. Sometimes you have the right combination of ambiguous features and qualities a publisher looks for, and you don't get a deal. What is the deal with that?
I am confident I can come up with an easy antiquated answer for this. I am an editor. It's what I do.
There are many good reasons to seek and wait on the approval of a traditional publisher, but I am not talking about that today. Because there also many good reasons not to. Check out Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn. I also like the six reasons author Tiana Warner gives for why she didn't even try to be traditionally published. I list them here in my own words, along with some additional perspective:
- You get to follow your own timeline. You can publish a book in two weeks if you want to, compared with 12-18 months with a publisher, and that's after all the time it takes to even get a deal.
- You get to control your own story or concept and your platform—cover design, retail price, and distribution.
- You earn more per book sale as an indie author than with a traditional publisher. And let me say here that the average traditionally published book sells less than 5,000 copies. Don't you think that you could sell that much or more by hustling just a bit? The publisher will have you hustling as well. But just think: as an indie, you'd hustle and see more ROI than a traditionally published author would.
- You get to take advantage of the times. Book publishing technology and opportunities are widespread right now. There are so many systems set up for your success.
- You get to plan your own marketing strategies. Customarily, traditional publishers have a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing plans, and if your book doesn't sell via their strategy, no more time or creativity is put behind figuring out how to make it work. But you, as an indie author, get to employ the help of any marketing strategists you wish and they will help you come up with a unique and customized plan to help your book reach the people who need it most.
- You get to demonstrate how much you believe in yourself.
You can read Tiana's full article here.
Combing through articles like the ones I've mentioned so far represent part of what I mean by "research." Do your homework and find out what publishing is all about and carve your own path. Do you have resources? What are your publishing goals? What research do you need to do about the book market? What professionals are in your network whose skills and talents you can leverage?
It is actually possible to self-publish well, to be a successful and competitive independent author.
Approve yourself. Sign an agreement with yourself. Use a professional matrix and accept your own manuscript. Don't be skimpy, hasty, or lazy about putting out work you will be proud and work that will engage a targeted audience. That's really what publishing is all about—great content, written and packaged to appeal to a targeted audience.
I'm feeling a little feisty and perhaps a little anti-establishment today. So there you go. Any questions? Holler.