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The War Within

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I’m a ham. Not literally–though my gut speaks to the contrary–but in the sense that I love attention. I’m a theatre kid who loves telling stories and acting and generally entertaining people. It’s a big passion of mine. And it’s why I turned to writing books. It gave me another outlet to entertain people.

All of that is to setup the fact that I’m being torn between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing.

Because I love attention and recognition. And I’m sure I’m other -Tions as well. Call me vain or self centered, but it’s in my nature.
So when it comes to the two forms of publishing, Traditional speaks to that nature above the other. Can you get attention and recognition from Self-Publishing? There’s no doubt you can. Amanda Hoking has both. But even she moved over to Traditional Publishing when given the chance.
Why?
Because there is just something about having that physical book available on a physical shelf. There is something about an Editor saying, “I really like this book and want to get it out into stores for others to read.” And for me, a sense of legitimacy.
My brother, also a writer, is firmly in the Self-Publishing camp. His arguments are that we don’t need Publishing Houses and Editors to say whether or not our work is good enough to be out there. He revels in the fact that the middle man is getting thrown out and the artist can directly reach their audience.
I can see the allure. The power to succeed or fail is in your hands. The turn around for your work is faster and the amount of money you can (potentially) make far out paces that of a traditionally published author.
But then, your level of obscurity is far greater in my opinion.
The amount of Self-Published work out on Amazon is staggering. But let’s be honest, the bulk of it should have been left on the author’s computer. And the more we go digital, the greater the disparity of good work to bad will increase. And the harder it will be to get noticed.
Is it still hard to get noticed as a Traditionally Published author? Absolutely. But at least I will have significantly lowered the pool I’m competing with.
You see, it’s not about the money to me. I want to entertain people. I want to make people feel something. Make them laugh or cry or get angry. I want to be at a point that I’m showing up at conventions to talk at a panel and have people dressed as my characters. Where forums pop up and debate whether or not my character could be Batman–of course they can’t, by the way.
You can look at it this way. My choices are to sit in the slush pile and never see the light of day. Or sit in the caverns of Amazon wallowing in obscurity. Most people would go for the latter. Me, I’m going for the former. Because it’s more important to me. And if all else fails, Amazon and Self-Publishing will still be there.
What will I have lost?
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4 Comments

  1. I say, go for both. Get a readership who loves your published books, and then give them more by self-publishing novellas, novelettes, anthologies, and short stories yourself. Best of both worlds.

    You really should come to Second Life on Wednesday nights at 9 pm and come to Mike Stackpole’s office hours. He’s got great thoughts on this subject. 🙂

  2. Small presses might be the best of both worlds–they might get to your submission in a timely fashion and they provide editing, cover art, etc. that you’d need to scrabble for if you self-publish.

    Or you could get an agent, who might get you out of the biggies’ slush piles faster.

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