Why I Am Choosing Traditional Publishing over Self-Publishing

It’s all about the time…

There are a number of avenues that we, as writers, can take to get published, and for those that choose the self-publishing route, I applaud you. We all have our individual paths to follow, and I want nothing but the best for all of my fellow writers. Whichever method you choose to have your work published, I wish you enormous success. I hope that you reach the potential to which you are striving.

The novel I am writing isn’t my first, but it is the first novel I will be publishing. It’s the first novel in a series of six, thus far. They’re may be more, depending how the story continues to develop. During this process, I have spent many hours researching the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing and found many reasons why I am choosing traditional. I believe the method you choose will be the one you decide works best for you.

  1. My writing time is valuable
    All of us have only 24 hours every day. I don’t have any “extra” time. I have responsibilities, and there are a certain number of hours each day that I must allocate to my employer, and would be remiss as a husband and father if I didn’t allocate the proper amount of time to my wife and my children. Some days it’s more and some days it’s less, but those allocations never go away. That leaves me with only so many hours that I can allocate to other things, and I choose to allocate that time to my writing. My wife and children know how important my writing time is, and are patient and supportive of my endeavors. The time I have chosen to allocate to my writing is time well spent, but it is not cheap. I owe it to myself, my family, and to all those who have supported me through their sacrifices to choose the traditional publishing route. Where I believe we are not strong enough, as writers, is we do not put a high enough value on our time, and we should.
  2. I don’t want to pay someone else for my time
    As writers, we spend a lot of time creating our work. We spend hundreds, possibly thousands, and with some, even tens of thousands of hours crafting our stories, developing our characters, and creating the worlds in which they live. That doesn’t include all the ancillary research we perform to collect the information we need to make our story believable, along with the number of hours editing our work, working with critique partners, and processing feedback from many sources to make sure it’s ready. I do not want to spend all that time working to create something only to have to pay someone else for the time I have spent creating it. I am not knocking self-publishing and agree it is the best avenue for some and who knows, I may change my mind one day. As writers, we invest in the tools we use; our self-promotion, taking classes, going to conventions, and any other tool that requires a financial outlay, but giving someone else money for the time I have already spent is not in my plans. I liken it to buying a car and then paying someone else to drive it.
  3. I have expended extensive resources learning the ropes of this industry and I do not want to waste that.
    I have spent many hours learning about formatting, queries, submissions, agents, editors, and publishers. I still have a lot to learn and do not want to waste that time and money spent by self-publishing. I agree that self-publishing is the correct course of action for some writers and many have been successful with it. It is not for me.
  4. I believe in my work
    I know when agents, editors, and publishers look at potential clients, they are very demanding with what they choose, as they should. Some of the biggest complaints from agents that I have read are; the manuscripts aren’t ready, the queries aren’t written correctly, and writers haven’t done their research on the agent. There are many others, but those stick out in my mind. Their time, which they will be spending on developing the relationship with their clients, editing, marketing, and publishing is valuable, and they want to make sure their investment is going to pay off. I have that same philosophy about my work and it would be unfair for me to think an agent should take me on, if I have not done my very best to be prepared for the process. If this means a hundred rewrites to ensure my novel is the best it can be, then a hundred rewrites will happen. Although that example may seem a little excessive, I use it to prove a point. It’s all about investing my time and doing what it takes to meet the criteria. Many times, writers only have one shot with an agent. If you’re not on your game, haven’t done your research, and your submission is not ready for the agent, then you are doing yourself and the agent a huge disservice by submitting something that is not ready for the process. There are a lot of books out there that are masterpieces and many more that are not. I believe that my work must be of the highest possible quality that will interest the agent enough to want to speak or correspond with me concerning my work. That is the first major hurdle. There is not going to be a fit with every agent out there, but by doing the best I can through revising, editing, and beta-testing, I will ensure that my work is of a caliber that will draw agents to review it, even if the answer is no.

I write because I love to write. Creating new worlds, new characters and weaving the words to create a story others want to read is the ultimate achievement, but in the end, I write for myself and to share a part of myself with everyone else. Having my creation published is something I have wanted for many years. I believe that I would be doing myself a disservice by not doing everything I can and exercising all my options to be published in a traditional manner. I know this will be a “long row to hoe”, but I have set my sights on being the best writer I can be, improving along the way, and developing my writing skills to a level where those in the traditional publishing industry will want to publish my work. As it has been with everything in my life, it is all up to me now.

Thanks for reading.

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