Traditional vs Self-Publishing and e-Publishing

I went to the eWomen Network conference in Vancouver for one reason. To learn more about the three modes of publishing with a view to choosing one (or more) for my upcoming novel. Every session I took in contributed to my knowledge of and final decision about this topic but I was most intrigued by a panel at the end of the first day. Panel members were Jo Blackmore, Margaret Reynold, Carla Rieger, Michael Schell and Charmaine Hammond. The excellent moderator was Narges Nirumvala.

Hare are some of the points I picked up and which I am pondering:
1. Personality makes a difference in this decision. Interesting. An outgoing dynamo of a marketer-type author does better self-publishing than a shy person with no interest in self-promotion. This makes sense.
2. Authors make a higher percentage on their books if they self-publish. Thirty percent versus ten percent. Of course these are rough figures and I am not sure whether the 30% figure is net or the costs of promotion still have to come out of this.
3. An author has much more control with self-publishing and can establish a platform and promotional vehicle, which all needs to be in place whether you self-publish or go the traditional route.
4. On the other hand the access to the publishing world which publishers have helps move the book.
5. A good editor (or 2 or 3) is absolutely imperative to help overcome the bad reputation which sloppy books-that-have-come-before have earned the genre. A great cover design is a must-have as well.
6. Proofreading cannot be stressed too much. It was noted that some traditionally published books have errors which should have been caught by a good proofreader. Whichever mode an author uses, proofreading is paramount. The idea of self-publishing does not mean being sloppy. If anything the writer must be even more careful to put out a perfect book.

The Barnes and Noble version of the eBook platform, Nook, was mentioned. I have downloaded to my iPad Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and GoodReader as different stores use different readers. One of the panelists mentioned that we need to publish in the eBook world along with our print publishing but no one knows where this market is going. Since the conference Amazon announced that 55% of their sales are in eBooks. And there is talk of them making their format compatible with competitor formats. Sounds to me like eBooks are here to stay.

One of the panelists finished off her comments with suggesting that new writers use a self-publishing company for their first book and then do it themselves for the next. Start your own publishing company, she suggested. And another self-published panelist stressed the importance of hiring a publicist. She did this six months before her launch date and the book was reviewed before the launch took place. Way to create buzz!

What am I doing? Learning as much as I can while I revise, rewrite, reread and work on making my dream my reality.


5 thoughts on “Traditional vs Self-Publishing and e-Publishing

  1. Hey Elaine!

    Great tips. You are so right about the shoddy reputation of self-published. I know a few self-published authors who put out great work in a professional, polished book but there is a stigma self-published authors must always contend with because the truth of the matter is, anyone with a bank account can self-publish.

    Personality. Never would have thought of that one. I think you can safely apply that to traditionally published authors as well. Authors still have to promote their work, no matter how their book got into print. Readings, internet presence, presentation all go into a books success. No author can afford to sit still and wait for the sales to roll. The market is too competitive.

    Thanks again for a great post!



  2. Every post you write I wish I had gone to this conference. You learned so much! Thanks for passing it on. This is such a big decision. I keep trying for the old methods of publishing, but e-pubs for sure are on my agenda for this year and maybe self-publishing a little farther down the road. Thanks for sharing your experiences!


  3. Thanks for your comments, Sherry and Jessica. I really appreciate the thought you put into them. I wonder if the bad rep of self-published books is partly our own reluctance to think we can do these things well ourselves. You know how we like to put ourselves down. I got the impression that self-publishing is a great way to go if the writer has the discipline to push for excellence. A little perfectionism is needed here.
    Remember Barbra Streisand’s rep for excellence? I think that is what we need. It won’t be easy but at least it will be under our own control. Oh, there’s that c-word again!


  4. Elaine, once again it’s uncanny how in sync we are. I’ve been having the same thoughts on self-publishing. I agree, e-books are here to stay, and it seems to me that most writers these days are doing their own promotion. I’ve just decided to look into self-publishing (e-book) a novella I wrote. I think it will be a good experience.


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