Writers today have more publishing options than ever. You can publish your work traditionally, self-publish on a wide variety of platforms or even go with a hybrid approach. Each has its pros and cons, and only you can decide on the best way to reach your goals. Your library has resources to help you make the choice that’s right for you.
Self-publishing is an accessible, viable option for many authors. The rise of digital readership and print-on-demand sales means that self-publishing authors no longer have to buy boxes of books to meet a minimum purchase price. Self-pub is a great fit for authors trying to reach small or niche markets. The process moves at the author’s pace, so authors can get their work to market faster if they want to respond to genre trends. Many authors are also drawn to the increased control over their work that self-publishing gives them. They choose the cover art, write the blurbs, book their own talks—they do it all, or hire someone to do it for them. The investment of time and money is all the responsibility of the author and any profits are also the author’s to keep.
Traditional publishing continues to offer the recognition of a known “brand name” publisher and most publishing houses provide resources such as multiple levels of editing, art, blurbs, press kits, etc. Major publishers also have access to major distributors, so they’ll do much of the work of placing your book in libraries, book stores and other sale platforms. Access to a major publisher often means that an author is working with an agent who pitches the book, negotiates a contract, and assists with promotion, books events and more after a book is sold. Traditionally published authors give a big piece of their sales revenue in exchange for services rendered.
If you want to learn more about publishing paths, I highly recommend a visit to Jane Friedman’s website. Friedman is a publishing veteran who provides an impressive wealth of free resources for both traditional and self-publishing authors. See the lists below for Friedman’s Great Courses on publishing, as well as many other books to help you craft an effective query letter, interest an agent and more. Lynda.com also has courses on self-publishing an ebook (search “publish an ebook”) that you can take for free with your library card.
Be sure to check out our Flipster app too where you can read Writer’s Digest for free with your library card, right from your computer or device.