May 29, 2023

Choose Your Own Publishing Adventure: Traditional or Self-Publishing?

I get a lot of emails from newer writers who’ve finished their first book but have no idea what to do with it. At the very beginning of your writing journey, there’s a ton of advice out there, and it’s hard to tell the good from the bad. There are also a lot of scams out there, ready to cheat starry-eyes new authors out of their cash, so I don’t like to tell new writers, “Just Google it,” when they ask me what they should do next.

If you’ve finished your first book and aren’t sure what to do next, this article is for you.

First of all, congratulations on completing your book! Writing a book is an incredible achievement, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. Don’t let anyone minimize that fact. If you’re ready to move forward and publish your work, it's important to consider the next steps. There are two main publishing options. Everyone’s publishing journey will be different, but these are the broad strokes to help you make an informed decision.

Option 1: Traditional Publishing

Partnering with a publisher, also known as traditional publishing, involves submitting your manuscript to literary agents and publishers in the hopes of securing a publishing deal. If successful, the publisher will handle various aspects of the book production process, including editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing. As the author, you will receive royalties for each book sold. Traditional publishing offers prestige, requires no upfront investment, and allows you to focus on writing your next book. However, it can be prohibitively challenging to find a literary agent and secure a publishing contract.

Option 2: Self-Publishing

Self-publishing gives you complete control over the publishing process. You will be responsible for tasks such as editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing. A popular platform for self-publishing is Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which simplifies the process of making your book available in both eBook and print formats. Self-publishing provides greater creative freedom, faster publication, and higher royalties. However, it requires you to invest in professional services and dedicate time to learning the intricacies of publishing and marketing.

Consider your goals for your book and your writing career when deciding between traditional and self-publishing. You can explore traditional publishing initially and transition to self-publishing later if you don’t find a publisher, or you can choose to self-publish this book and pursue traditional publishing for future projects. If you opt for self-publishing, one crucial aspect is formatting your manuscript for both print and eBook versions. Formatting ensures that your book looks polished and professional. As a freelance formatter, I specialize in taking fully edited manuscripts (I highly recommend hiring a professional editor if you plan on selling your book) and transforming them into print-ready PDFs and eBook files. These files are essential for the printing and distribution processes. (If you're interested in learning more about my formatting services, you can visit this page on my website.) Explore all your options before diving into publishing. Take the time to ensure your book is ready for the next step in its journey. If you have any questions or need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to me!

Writing a book is an extraordinary accomplishment, and now that you've completed it, you’re one step closer to sharing your story with the world. Best of luck with your publishing journey!

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