Glad to see everyone got through the Rapture (surely that close call will have been enough of a warning to put a stop to my writing procrastinations?).
Yesterday I spent the proposed last day at a YA Workshop hosted by Jeni Mawter (check out her website for her books and writing tips). I'll blog more about that and my trip to Sydney later, but one thing I wanted to raise was this continuous conversation amongst writers about the role of traditional publishing, the gatekeepers and the self-publising options. Perhaps it was just Rapture for those gatekeepers?
Until yesterday, my position on traditional publishing vs self-publishing for my own situation was that:
It is possible to produce a quality ebook and publish it on Amazon and like sites, you can even have paperback copies produced. The big if, is if you are prepared to put in a LOT of work. Once your book is written, it needs to be edited professionally or at least screened by many readers, until it is as good as you could possibly get it. Then you need great cover art, this is where I find a lot of self-publishers let their book down. You need an online presence and you need your ebook formatted. And of course you have to promote your book with your target market in mind. At least there are no query letters or synopsis' needed.
BUT. Being accepted by a publishing house will lift your status as a writer. There are still many people who are wary of self-publishing. As Jeni Mawter said in her workshop, the problem is there is too much white noise on Amazon, there needs to be a way to sort through the masses to find quality self-published books. This is starting to sort itself out with reviews and blogs to recommend books. The consumer may become the new gatekeeper and you'll have to work even harder to win them over. A publisher will do all the work to produce your product, and it will be available in Bookstores. That was my biggie. I was leaning towards traditional publishing because I loved the idea of seeing my book in a bookstore.
Now my stand is a little shaky. Jeni pointed out that bookstores are in serious trouble. We already knew about the Borders situation (or you can read my blog on Books without Borders). With the ebook outselling paper books, and the introduction of the book apps on iTunes, bookstores may not be the best location for selling books (this hurts), especially for debut writers. I LOVE bookstores, I know most of you LOVE bookstores, but eventually, we might not be enough to keep them :(
So now I'm immersing myself into research and opinions on the traditional publishing vs self-publishing options. Here's what I've found so far - what are your thoughts, or are you as uncertain as me?
The New York Times:
The Literary Analyst: