5 Reasons to Pursue Traditional Publishing
I thought the response to Friday’s post was phenomenal and I loved reading everyone’s reasons for pursuing traditional publishing. These days, many writers feel bombarded from all sides by people screaming “Self-publishing is the way to go!” so I wanted to give everyone a chance to speak their minds, and your comments were full of wisdom and heart.
While many of you had your own unique reasons for pursuing traditional publishing, it seems the most common reasons are:
1. Wanting to work with a team of professionals (editors, designers, etc.) rather than be on your own.
2. Wanting to avoid up front financial investment.
3. Wanting marketing help.
4. Wanting to see your book in bookstores.
5. Wanting validation for your writing and a feeling of legitimacy.
These are all great reasons and we’ll be talking more about them in future posts. Today I want to mention a couple of things.
Self-pub doesn’t necessarily mean just e-books. Numerous commenters on Friday mentioned they wanted to see their books in print rather than just electronic. But keep in mind that “self-publishing” covers a variety of different paths to publication and includes the ability to have printed books. The e-book revolution is relatively new, but self-publishing printed books has been around for centuries.
It’s perfectly natural to want validation for your work. We all want our words to be read, and we want some kind of proof that what we wrote isn’t dreck. We know it’s subjective, but still, we crave the affirmation. Musicians want people to connect with their music. Painters want their work appreciated and enjoyed—and purchased. Those of us who write blogs want validation through our hit counts and comments. And most people who write books want that stamp of legitimacy that a traditional publisher brings.
I hope you don’t feel apologetic for admitting you want the validation. I think most writers, past and present, want this. Great writers like Hemingway and Steinbeck seem to have craved it. Most present-day successful authors admit to it. If you care deeply about your craft, your words, the message you’re sharing with the world, how can you not care about the world’s validation?
The method of getting validation is probably going to change over the next few years. For some, it won’t come through a traditional publishing deal but perhaps through more direct means—people buying your books and responding to them. For now it’s still reasonable to hope for a traditional publishing experience, but I also think it’s helpful and important to recognize your need for validation and begin to explore your assumptions about how to attain it.
Q4U: Given that most of you gave strong arguments for pursuing traditional publishing, what would have to change in order for you to feel like you could be happy with some kind of self-publishing arrangement?
© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent