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Publishing Your Novel: Traditional Or Self-Publishing?

By Selane @SummerEllenLane
Publishing Your Novel: Traditional or Self-Publishing?The big day has finally arrived: you have finished your manuscript. You poured your heart and soul into creating an entertaining story. You sweated and suffered through the difficult editing process. And now the question remains...are you going to query publishers or are you going to self-publish? 

I recently published a New Adult/Young Adult Dystopian Romance (State of Emergency), and this question is one that I have given a lot of thought to and seen a lot of discussion about. Here are the pros and cons of both paths! 

Publishing Your Novel: Traditional or Self-Publishing?TraditionalPros:
  • Publicity!
  • An Advance 
  • A marketing plan courtesy of your publishing house
  • A cover design and artist 
  • A team of editors 
  • Professional distribution channels
  • The possibility of a book deal that includes a series of books
  • A contract (this could be a good or bad thing depending on your publisher)
  • Not a lot of control over cover design 
  • Editors can (and will) request that you remove certain scenes or create new scenes (example: sex scenes, thematic material).
  • May have to change the ages of your characters
  • Control! You have complete, all-encompassing control over your creative work. 
  • You can design your own cover. 
  • Your characters can be as old as you want them to be and do and say what you think they should. 
  • You can choose your own marketing path. 
  • Create your own deadlines. 
  • You don't have a professional marketing team.
  • You don't have a big editing team. 
  • All of the marketing aspects of your novel are completely up to you. 
  • Channels of distribution can be more limited. 

  The truth of the matter is, every author would love to have a huge publisher behind them (well...almost every author!). But here's another zinger: because of technology, blogging, social media and incredible tools available to the average person, you can be just as successful as a self-published author as you can be with a traditional publisher. Both roads work! If you go Indie, you're going to have to do all the marketing and publicity. It's up to YOU to get people to buy your book and subsequently adore it. Don't sweat the cover design. There are so many people that do awesome design work (see my feature on novel cover designs here), or you can do it yourself. If you go traditional, a lot of those elements will be taken care of and replaced by other responsibilities and duties. It's a give and take situation, and it's basically up to you to decide what you want!

Publishing Your Novel: Traditional or Self-Publishing?

Where does your novel belong? :)

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