I have had the great honor of getting to know Kasi Blake through Clean Teen Publishing, and let me tell you guys, she is someone to watch. Her imagination began writing stories at a young – including one that was inspired by Star Wars – and she wrote across many genres. Now, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy…and of course, this lovely blog post about a constantly debated topic in the publishing world: which route do I take?
Traditional vs. Self vs. Indie: What is the best way to get published?
This question has been up for debate for some time, and that is why I am doing a post on it. However, I will not be telling you what you should do. Writing is a business with more than one way to do things. With that in mind, I will tell you about my experiences as I published all three ways, and you can decide for yourself which way you want to go. Each publishing arena has its pros and cons.
1. Traditional: There are still many people in the business who believe this is the only way to go and don’t consider you a real writer unless you published with one of the major publishing houses. You also need an agent in most cases. No one wants to wind up in the slush pile, wondering if their manuscript is even being read. I published two Romantic Suspense novels this way.
Advantages: Being able to say you are published with a major house gives you credibility, and people don’t stare at you with glazed eyes when you talk about your book. Traditional publishers usually have a team of editors, graphic artists, and other awesome people to help your book along. The best thing about them in my opinion is they can get you into stores. Seeing your book on the shelves is something you don’t forget.
Disadvantages: You have little to no control over your book. Once you sign the contract, it is their book. They will choose the cover, change the content, and usually they come up with their own title even if you slaved over it for months. If you think it will all be worth it to have help marketing, think again. Unless you are a big name writer, there isn’t anything in the budget for you. Most first books lose money, and that’s why new authors have such a hard time getting signed.
2. Self-published: After getting a sparse two books published with a traditional house, I turned to the diy way. At first I was against it. I didn’t want people thinking I couldn’t get published and had to do it this way. Now, I am happy I took this journey myself, and I intend to do it again. I’ve published two series this way, the Rule Series starting with Vampires Rule (Free at the moment) and the Order of the Spirit Realm Series, starting with Bait.
Advantages: Total control. You are in charge of your book, and it is your baby from conception to the finished product. Although you should find betas to read the manuscript before you publish, everything is up to you. Not everyone likes this concept, but I enjoyed it. You can find out how to format and how to do your own cover on the Internet, or you can find skillful people to do those things for you. Many have taken the plunge before you, so take advantage of their knowledge, and learn from their mistakes. You keep most of the money. I loved doing my own covers!
Disadvantages: There is still a stigma attached, and some people hate your books without giving them a chance. Marketing is difficult to do totally on your own. If the book has a problem and doesn’t sell, it is on you. There’s no one else to blame.
3. Indie: Although I am a control freak and enjoyed doing my own thing, it became tedious, so I found a small Indie Publisher for my Witch Game Novels. Crushed will be published August 4th with Witch Hunt following a few months later.
Advantages: I can’t tell you how great it feels to have someone else in this with me now. While I concentrate on writing, they are editing the books, doing the covers, etc. I can breathe. Unlike the traditional publishers, they offered me more control over my covers, content, and so on. It’s been great working with them. They also do some of the marketing.
Disadvantages: You are giving up part of your royalties and some control. Once you sign that contract, the book isn’t a hundred percent yours anymore, so make sure you can trust the people you are working with. Get recommendations.
There you have it, the top advantages and disadvantages of each publishing route. You have to decide which is best for you. Not everyone will do well with a traditional publisher, just like not everyone will succeed as a self-published author. It depends on what’s most important to you. Are you dying to see your books on the shelf in your local store even if they never sell? Do you have to have control over your own covers? Does it drive you crazy and give you an ulcer when you are in charge of everything?
Hi, my name is Kasi Blake, and I write Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy for the young and the young at heart. I love animals, wild and tamed, and years ago a blind date made my dream come true by introducing me to his cougar, Samantha. She was beautiful, and I was too stupid to be scared. In retrospect, my lack of fear probably saved me. He let me go into her pen so I could pet her. She walked up to me and fixed her open mouth on my upper thigh. I just stroked her head and told her how beautiful I thought she was. She was looking up at me sideways while gently biting down on my leg. He pulled her back, told her not to get me dirty, and I walked out of the pen. I think she was just testing me. Glad I passed.
I was born in sunny California, but I now live on a farm in the Midwest with a dog, two cats, ducks, chickens and cows. Hearing from readers is on my list of favorite things. You can find me at www.kasiblake.com
Please check out my books on Amazon. Vampires Rule is free at this time, and Bait is an awesome read about hunters-in-training. Think Supernatural, the TV show, but with a slightly younger cast. You can also find out more about me and my books at http://www.kasiblake.com
Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at email@example.com.
17 thoughts on “#Monday Blogs: Traditional vs. Self vs. Indie: What is the best way to get published?”
Interesting to hear from someone who tried all three routes. Great post!
Thank you, Charlotte. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Reblogged this on Writing Madness.
Definitely a concise and clear analysis of all three paths. I’ve only gone self-published, so I only know about the full control/responsibility thing. That’s why the idea of giving up control is rather unnerving, but there’s that part of me that really wants the credibility and to see my book in a bookstore. Anyway, does it seem like any of those paths are starting to cross over or adopt the advantages of each other? I keep hearing how the landscape is changing, so I wonder if that’s leading to more author freedom and a disappearance of some of the stigmas.
Charles- I think some of the stigma has been lifted because even authors like Stephen King are self-published now. He put out a few short stories, and he let the readers pay what they wanted for the first one with the tease that he would write more if he got paid at least ‘x’ amount of dollars. Apparently, he did, because he has done it a few times. But there will always be some people who look down their noses at authors who do it themselves, thinking that the writer couldn’t get published any other way. Getting published the traditional way and giving up control is scary. So far, I am really liking my new Indie publisher. They give their authors a lot more freedom and control than most, and I’m thinking of turning over more of my self-published books to them for re-publishing. Thank you for your comment.
You’re welcome. Thanks for the answer.
Thank you for writing this post, Kasi! It’s always fascinating to discuss different routes, especially when all three routes have been traveled before.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I enjoyed writing the post and hope it helps at least a few authors make decisions on how to proceed with their work.
Thanks for the good info. I was pretty set on trying the traditional route before I read this, but now I’m reconsidering. I don’t need total control over every aspect, but content? I definitely don’t want to hand my work over to someone who is going to do whatever they want with it! I’ve never tried to get anything published before, so the whole thing just seems scary no matter what route I take.
It is awful when they take over in such a way that your book becomes more their vision than your vision. You have to choose what feels right to you. Good luck.
Reblogged this on lightningbooksbyagmoye and commented:
Nicely put. A good way to view publishing and choices. A.G.
Thank you. 🙂
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
I’ve tried self publishing and the indie route and I have to say, I like the indie route the best. Someone else deals with formatting, ISBNs and all that, and I just have to do the writing and the marketing. it’s a fair trade!
Totally agree. So far, the Indie route seems like the best of both worlds to me too.