I attended an interesting workshop by a publishing company whose goal was to assist writers with their publishing needs, both in self-publishing and traditional. Their job is to help the writer determine which type of publishing would be in their best interest based on their project.
Both types of publishing have their advantages and disadvantages. In self-publishing you have complete control of your projects – you will receive 100 percent of royalties for copies sold. The trade-off is that you will do all the work, pay all the expenses and make all the decisions when it comes to cover design, editing, marketing and distribution. Traditional publishers will take most of the prep work off your hands, but they will have final say on the cover and appearance of your book, and you will only make a percentage of royalties for copies sold. Traditional publishers will always take the safe bet – a book that fits neatly into a clear genre that is marketable. If you have a book that is unusual, that doesn’t fit into a normal category, publishers will usually pass unless it is exceptionally written and you can show them the target audience. For books like these, self-publishing might be the best option because you can create your own niche and likely you already know the target audience for the work you are creating.
The world of publishing is in constant flux. We have more choices than ever in how to present our work to the world. The question we have now in regard to our work is: which one is right for the work at hand? When it comes to my long-term projects, I am still researching my options. In the end, the decision will be made based on the kind of book I produce. Would my project work best with traditional publishing or self-publishing? The wonderful thing about this query, is that when I am ready to decide, the choice is mine to make.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.