Monday 2 September 2019

Choosing Your Publication Path - The After Process

I've talked before about choosing whether to go indie or traditional (piece found here), but I felt like it was time for a more in-depth piece about that. I made the choice I did because of a number of factors that I'll go into briefly, but how do you know if that's he right path for you? I can really only talk more about the self-published/indie route because while I was almost traditionally published, it didn't last long and I never went through the whole process so I know more about being an indie author.

So, you've finished your project, you've gone through the revision process and you're now trying to decide whether you should go down the traditional route or whether you should start getting the money together to hire an editor, cover designer and all the rest. Each path has its own pros and cons, and people have gone over them to death, so I'm not going to go into that here. I am, however, gonna say that a lot of the time, it's a personal choice, and one only you can make for yourself.

If you go traditional, you will have a long path ahead of you. You'll be in the query trenches, then hopefully find an agent, then go on submission and then start the editing process and all of that before publication. If you go indie then you'll be on a similar path, only it might not take as long. I personally like the level of control, the higher royalty rate and the ability to completely decide how many books, and which ones, I'd be releasing at a time.

But how do you make that choice? How do you know whether you'll succeed at one over the other? The simple answer is: you don't. A lot of indie authors are rolling the dice and hoping they score high, but that can be, somewhat, still true for traditionally published authors. You don't know that your book is going to meet the market and launch a massive following. It's part of being creative, you are making something that is subjective in whether someone likes it or not.

Think about it, there are some paintings that most people will agree are gorgeous and ahead of their time - like Van Gogh's Starry Night. There are books like that too. But there are also pieces of art that split people, and there are books like that too. And there are some pieces of music, art, all of it, that the majority of people hate, and yes, books are like that too!

You are not guaranteed success in whichever path you choose. You will have to work hard, and you might manage to put in enough hard work that you have a lot of success, but that doesn't mean that some of that spark that decides whether your work is good, is going to be luck. I don't say that to piss on those who do work hard and do have a ton of success because of it. I'm not saying it because I'm bitter and trying to rain on their parade. I''m saying that no matter how hard you work, a part of success is luck. It's whether you hit the right market at the right time.

With something as subjective as fiction, you're going to have a hard road ahead of you no matter which route you choose. My advice is to think long and hard, do your research and make sure that you know what will be expected of you, but also remember that you might not have the millions in royalties and movie deals and the rest, because that only happens to a tiny, tiny percentage of authors. I don't say this to depress you, but to make you aware that it's hard being an author. You don't write a book and become a star. You work hard, you work the hours you can, and the majority of authors, both indie and traditional have another source of income, whether that's through a day job or through a spouse working. It's rare for an author to only have books to write.

You write a book because you're passionate about the idea, and that's amazing. You put in the hard work, and it is hard no matter what anyone tells you, and you finish it. And then the rest of the work starts. But what it comes down to, what I'm trying to say is, no one can choose your path for you. It has to be a choice you make with your facts and circumstances. And whichever path you choose, good luck, and remember to keep writing.

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