Writing Prompt #6: Your Publishing Path

What does your publishing path have to do with your writing process? A lot. Most important, if you plan to try to publish your book traditionally, you’ll need to develop a strong query letter to send to agents and work on a formal book proposal. If you plan to self publish, neither of these writing steps is necessary, although the underlying work of the proposal is still necessary to produce a good book. See Writing Prompts #1 through #5 as a guide.

This week, do your research, educate yourself, and decide which path is right for you. You may change your mind later on, but consider your options now before you take the next writing steps. Consider these questions:

1. Are you willing to invest in your project? How much? If you decide to self-publish, you will need to cover the costs of editing, design, marketing, publicity, website design, and setup with a publishing platform like Amazon’s CreateSpace or IngramSpark. If you decide to try the traditional route, you will still need to hire your own publicist and marketing team, possibly invest in your own website, and more than likely pay for editorial support. An advance could help with those costs, but these days may not cover them entirely.

2. How fast do you want or need to get your book on the market? The traditional publishing path can take much longer than the self-publishing path.

3. How important is the support of a traditional publishing house to your credibility with your target audience?

4. How important are ownership of your content and other rights to your future publishing and business plans?

A number of industry professionals have already analyzed the pros and cons of the various publishing paths available to authors today. Here are a few articles to help you begin your education process:

Forbes: How Much Money Do Self-Published Authors Make?

Comparing Royalties Earned Between Self-Published and Traditionally Published Books

HuffPost: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

I’ll be writing some posts on the topic in the coming weeks and months, particularly regarding how to build a publishing team and the costs associated with doing so. And if you find any great resources that have helped you make the decision, please share them here.

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