The publishing world is constantly changing, and it is important, I think, for every writer to constantly re-evaluate their options. The urge to write, and to be published for many of us is the culmination of a long held dream, and as such an emotional one. But when it comes down to publishing today, there are more options available than ever before - so we must examine our dreams, and if necessary, tweak them!
When I was starting out, my dream publisher was any publisher that would say yes to publishing my book. I had my sights set on the Big 6, because that was where every writer wanted to be published back then.
Unfortunately, the Big 6 didn't feel the same, they weren't clamouring for my first book, or even my second. But smaller publishers were interested, and I signed up. The dynamic was one of an eager writer, excited and delighted that a publisher wanted to sign my books up. I was looking for approval, wanting validation that my writing was good enough. The publishers chose me! This approach couldn't be more different from my approach today.
Currently, I have six novels and one book of short stories available on Amazon. Two are with a small publisher, two are backlist titles, previously published and now self-published, and two I chose to self-publish. All the novels have been professionally edited, with good looking covers, created by a professional cover artist.
My self published book, The Morning After, is my biggest seller, and has the most amounts of reviews, the majority of them good ones. I love this book, and loved writing it. And instead of looking for approval from the publishing industry, I took it straight to my editor for her feedback. She loved it too, and our feeling about the book have been reflected by the most important people in the whole process, the readers.
My backlist titles have done way better sales wise since I self-published them. I'm in KDP Select, and have found that this avenue has revitalised them in a way I never could have dreamed.
So today, I urge every writer looking to sell their book, to re-evaluate their options. Instead of thinking "will a publisher like it?" think, "which publisher gives me something extra, something I can't achieve on my own, by self-publishing?" This could be whatever you need it to be: global reach, popularity, validation, money, publicity.
If I were choosing a publisher, I'd be looking for a transparent, fair cut of the royalties tied to a good, strong publicity machine, that will help discoverability. I would also be interested if the publisher could offer me a presence on shelves in bookshops, and a marketing plan that utilised the power of the internet to significantly build my presence in secondary ebook markets.
I don't need the validation of the Big 6 anymore. Self publishing has given me feedback from my readers, which is much more important. I may self publish all my books from here on in, or work with a publisher on certain projects. I write because I want to. Because I need to. But once a book is finished, I want to share it with readers. And if I don't choose carefully, readers may never find it, amongst the sea of books out there. This has been a long post, I could have said it all in one line:
You are the writer. You choose.