Friday Musings (5/19/2017)

And another Friday and here I am writing again at a Starbucks in lower Manhattan. 

I read a tweet about getting published through a traditional publisher vs going your own. The writer who posted the tweet explained how she was from the older days when it was a norm, when snail mail was the only way to submit. 

Someone replied their disagreement. I notice that when someone is agaist traditional, it's always with a bit of irritation and self defense. 

There is an answer to everything, but the traditional vs self feud has some grey area. 

Personally, I think it's still best to build an audience and grow your name through established publications (or even ones that are up and coming about to be established publications) to build a record. A resume, if you will.  
When you go to an agent or publishing house, you show them what you've accomplished. 

Reputable places may chose your story because of quality and ability, how many potential readers you're bringing to the table, etc. If the place you've been published is someone the agent/publisher knows of, it could be like coming from an ivy league school. "Oh, I know so-and-so, wow, they think highly of you, huh. I don't have a slot, but... Well, let me see what I can do." They'll smile at you with a phone crammed between their cheek and shoulder, looking through papers as they sing your praise to whoever is going to hook you up on the other line. 

Then there is self publishing, where you (probably should) hire an editor--or know a few friends who are good at it, and publish your work on Amazon. Its a bit harder to be sure if the editing is quality. Not everyone can afford an editor, and even they aren't perfect--or may not be as good as you think. In some cases, cheaper isn't necessarily better. 

Self publishing is fine, as well, if you know what you're doing and write well. If you don't mind that you're not going to make a ton of money for a while. Heck, you won't immediately make a ton traditional either--unless you're lucky. 

A funny thing I've read is "You get more each sale through self publishing!" Maybe so, but you have to actually sell those stories. And you won't sell if you aren't advertising--which is all on you (sometimes even with a traditional publisher.) But this is a gimmick the self publishing places use to make you publish with them. Also, you'd better have some sort of a fan base, or else you're going off luck to draw people to your stories. 

Think about it, someone like Tomas Harris already has his fan base. If he puts out a book through Amazon, he'll make millions. But he's already been established. People know who he is. 

Now, again, you can create a name for yourself, it takes hard work. Social media, advertisement. Lots of time. Interviews. Reviews. And you pretty much have to do the same for traditional publishing these days. Though, when you have that publishing credit under your belt, big time places notice you. 

Look, it all depends on your goal. What do you want to do with this? Do you want to make money, real money, from your writing, enough to live off of? Or do you want to make a few bucks here and there and be able to tell your friends, "Oh, you didn't know? Yup, yup, I'm a published author. Go ahead, look up my name on Amazon. See?" 

Both paths take time and energy. Both paths can lead to success. Depends on what you know and how you use it. 

And again, i'm not insulting either one, because sometimes one can get into a traditional publishing house, but not have enough steam to keep going. Bad sales (because you have to advertise, people!) and bam, the next hiuse doesn't want to publish because you cost the last house their advance on royalties. Ruh roh! 

But that's another subject, maybe another post. 

It's up to you how you want to do things in this industry, there are many ways to get to where you need to be. 

Follow and comment below on what you feel is best, at least for you. And why you feel that way. I'd love to hear from you. 


WCM

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