writer problems

To Publish Or To Self-Publish, That Is The Question

A hot button topic for a lot of writers these days is whether the proper thing to do is to find an agent and/or publisher and have them edit (i.e. rewrite) and push your book into the market or to go it alone and self-publish.

There are many literary agents (possibly) out there and lots of publishers (outside the top 5) but there are also several options for self-publishing that are far easier and in some ways, much simpler to accomplish. And in light of the Amazon/Hachette debacle, it seems as though find a way to reach the masses on your own might be your best bet.

There are pros and cons to both sides, not the least of which is marketing (because, let’s face it, publishing firms are already set up to take your book to the public). And it’s actually one of the most stressful parts of being a writer. Writing the novel or series of short stories (on a good day) is easy in comparison to figuring out how to get people to actually read it.

It never ceases to amaze me how lost art can get in business. And make no bones about it, whether you are self-publishing or dealing with an agent, the bottom line is well, the bottom line. They might love your book but the reasons why might surprise you. Often times, books that will attract high levels of readership are the ones that get published, not necessarily the ones worth reading.

And while it may sound high and mighty of me to say that, I believe that lots of things in today’s society are done to the best benefit of the lowest common denominator. “Fifty Shades of Grey” for example is not very well written but the fact that it is societal accepted erotica and fan fiction in one makes for a very compelling sell. And even though it began life as a self-published work, James was picked up by a publisher and became a global phenomenon.

But the business model of self-publishing just makes sense for a lot of writers who simply want to be heard or see their name in print. Especially if the chances of getting caught between a rock and a hard place (like Amazon and Hachette) and having your work held hostage might be the price you pay for following the traditional route.