What is Your Best Choice? Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing?

We’ve all heard this many times: you have to have an agent and an editor and a lot of time to publish your book with a traditional publisher.  We’ve also heard the same thing (minus an agent) about self-publishing.  Either way, it is your choice in what you want to do with your book.  You make the choice.

The writer in you needs to feel that what you have written has value to some one else.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes to write and how many challenges you might face, but you want to be able to tell others about your passion.  You also want to be able to tell others about your choice.  Publishing a book is a choice.  There is a lot to choose from, when it comes to the writing life.

Take for instance, your life.  You are not just a writer, you might have a job to help pay your bills and you might even have limited time due to family issues or personal issues that can affect your choices about writing.

What is your best choice for writing?  That is up to you.  Take the time to know and understand what will make you money and also what will allow you to have your freedom to work with other commitments.  You know your books, just like you understand your lifestyle.  Everything about writing is a choice.

Writing and publishing a blog is choice, as is selecting an editor.  You are the master of your book, but you don’t finish it alone, even if you self-publish.  It is a matter of working with your best areas and also your books’ best areas.  You wouldn’t be able to traditionally publish your work if you can only be certain that your book will sell to a niche market, but you can self-publish it.

You also will find that it is not a good choice if you can prove that you have a larger market or already have a following of people who have bought your books before.  In this case, a well written query letter or a good agent can help you get your book published by a traditional publisher.  You have already proven that you can market and create interest — in short, your choices are helping you.

This is a positive thing to think about, by making a great choice, you can improve your chances of having more money, or being able to write full time.  It is nice to envision success, but it is also nice to know that what you choose affects your next book.

Self-publishing and traditional publishing work together.  If you market and improve your work, there is more of a chance that you will find success.  You can choose to self-publish your first book, and plan on seeing how your readers react to your book before you go the more traditional route (a few bad reviews will not help your chances for traditional publishing).  Either way, there will be more choices, and each day you will build on your success.  When you plan for each book, choose the wisest course of action.


  • Anne Higgins

    I've just had my sixth book of poetry published. One could observe that the books have been published five different ways:
    1. the first one was published in 2000 by the Mellen Poetry Press , which wouldn't print the poems until I had sold 50 copies. Which I did. Then, in 2005, the press discontinued its poetry series, so the book went out of print. However, it was reprinted at no charge by Wipf and Stock publishers in Oregon.
    2.the second was published by Plain View Press in Austin Texas, a small press which asked me to contribute roughly $1000 to the cost of printing, which I did. It's still in print; it's a POD book.
    3. the third and fourth books were chapbooks by Finishing Line Press, which, like Mellen, wouldn't begin to print until I had sold 50 books. Which I did, in each case.
    4. the fifth book was a different species: a book of my original poems with a "prayer prompt" after each one. Wipf and Stock published it under their Resource Publications imprint.
    5. the sixth book was accepted and published by Aldrich press with no monetary contribution. This small press prints the books but sells them and markets them through Amazon.

    It's an interesting and evolving business. I've never tried to get an agent.

    Anne Higgins