Which is better, self-publishing or a traditional publishing deal?
If you’re a hands-on, DIY type of person with an entrepreneurial mindset, then you might be better suited to self-publishing. If you’d rather focus on the writing and not deal with the rest of it, you might prefer traditional publishing.
I’ve done both. Here’s the truth: there are benefits and drawbacks to both self-publishing and traditional publishing.
Self-publishing means doing things your own way. You can hire your own editors and artists. You call the shots. It sounds perfect, but the truth is that it can be grueling. For one thing, it’s difficult to get any attention as a self-published author.
When you work with a publisher, the reverse is true. Someone else has control over the process, and you don’t. Though most publishers are great to work with, someone could make crucial creative and business decisions without consulting you.
Yet at the same time, a traditional publisher can open doors that would otherwise remain closed. For example, you have the opportunity to get reviews from places like Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus.
I believe that the best approach is to embrace both avenues. Come up with a career strategy that leverages the advantages (and minimizes the drawbacks) of both traditional and self-publishing.
It’s not easy, but it can be done. Hey, even a moderately talented guy like me can do it. You can too.