6 Reasons Authors Still Want Publishers
In an age when so many of the “big stories” in publishing are about amazing self-pub successes, people are asking more and more, “Why would I want a traditional publisher?”
Here are six big reasons.
1. Objective validation
To be “chosen” by a publisher means that a group of people who are widely read, and who see dozens of new projects come across their desks every single week, believe your book has value and will find a reading audience. It means that people who see all kinds of writing—from really bad to really great—believe that yours is somewhere in the ballpark of “really great.”
2. Editing and design
Virtually all writers, including the very best, will find their writing improves and their books are better because they’ve worked with talented editors. Publishers also provide a professional and polished interior and exterior look for their books, in both electronic and paper formats.
3. Expanding your readership
Even though writers usually need some kind of platform and they have to do a lot of marketing on their own, the publisher does their own marketing, reaching whole different audiences than the author is able to reach on their own. (See my post Do Publishers Market Books?)
4. Mainstream media
Traditional media is still an important driver of book sales — talk shows, news programs, and reviews in major magazines, newspapers and websites (New York Times, Washington Post, People, etc.) Not every author can get this kind of publicity, but books published through traditional houses have a much better chance. Most of the mainstream media still chooses not to review or feature self-published works, except for the occasional phenom such as The Mill River Recluse or Fifty Shades of Gray.
5. Partnership and expertise
Authors know that when they work with a publisher, they’re partnering with a company that has years, decades or even centuries of experience choosing, editing, designing, marketing and selling books. Sometimes it’s nice to know you’ve got a partner who knows what they’re doing.
6. Emotional payoff
There is just something special about the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. For many people, the dream only feels fully realized when they’re contracted by a traditional publisher.
What are your thoughts? Why are YOU pursuing traditional publishing?
I have nothing against self-publishing! Let’s not get a whole “us vs. them” thing going here. I just happen to work primarily in traditional publishing, so that’s where my focus is. This post is NOT about or against self-publishing.