Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: It’s the million-dollar question – would you rather get that traditional publishing deal, go the entrepreneurial route with independent publishing, or come up with a hybrid arrangement? Explain your preference.
Diane MacKinnon: I’m in my 40′s, so I grew up imagining myself a published author with one of the big publishing companies, with an editor assigned to me and a big marketing budget! Well, that dream’s gone, but I still think it would be fun to have a publishing company want to publish my book. Having said that, I don’t think self-publishing has as much stigma as it used to. It depends what you are looking for. I can see the benefits of both. A lot of my coaching friends have self-published and they are very happy with with money they are making and the credibility they have gained from becoming authors. I think I’d still go with a traditional publisher if I ever finish the novel I’m working on (I’ll finish it, just not in the very near future.) I love that many authors are now publishing their own work and that publishers are then asking to represent them after the fact. I think a more equal playing field between publishers and authors is a very good thing!
Wendy Thomas: If we’re talking about hopes then I’d have to go with a big publishing house. It’s the same dream of an actress who wants to see her name in lights. If we’re going with reality, however, I think it’s more likely that I would go with an indie press. They seem to have a bit more marketing skills (hitting the specific audience) than the bigger houses do. To date, I have not looked into an indie press, but if and when the day comes, you better believe that I will put a lot of research into it. While there are some incredibly upstanding and reputable independent publishing houses out there, there are still far too many whose goal it is to part you from your money.
Deborah Lee Luskin: My first novel was published by an independent micro-publisher with considerable success – including helping me have a choice of agents for my second book, which I’m hoping will come out with a mainstream house. If I were publishing non-fiction to a niche audience, I would definitely go indie by setting up my own imprint. Breaking into the market for literary fiction is harder. I learned a lot about both publishing and marketing with Into the Wilderness – and I took it as far as I could without an even greater investment in time, money and energy. In the end, I was glad to receive critical success with reviews and a prize and to sell 2,000 copies. It’s still available as an eBook, and I hope it will become available in soft cover again. The rights have reverted back to me, and I think about bringing it out myself, but right now I’m engaged in writing a new book, and I don’t want to break my momentum.
Lisa J. Jackson: All of the above! For my novels I’m hoping for a traditional publisher, for romantic novellas I’ve gone with an e-publisher but now have my rights back and will be self-publishing, and for business non-fiction I’ll look into indies to see what’s out there. I’m open to whichever avenues seem to fit my needs best at the time. To land with one of the Big Houses for my mystery novels would be spectacular, but I know a lot of successful novelists with smaller houses, so I’m open to that, too. As long as I’m writing and publishing to reach my audience, it’s all good.
Julie Hennrikus: Boy, is this a good question. I have a book I have been working on for a long time. And I may go the independent route with that at one point. But I also aspire to a traditional, mass market paperback deal. (Remember that I write mysteries.) There are so many opportunities for writers these days–the important thing is to make a deal with a reputable company, to know you will have to help (or do) marketing for you book, and that the business is a tough one. And learn from others, as much as possible.
Susan Nye: Definitely the traditional route. Many people distrust the taste and skills of publishers. They point to the twelve or thirteen publishers who turned A.J. Rowlings down. However, one didn’t. Publishers understand the market better than my family and friends who love my work. Not because it’s any good (even if it is) but because they love me. An editor will ensure that my book meets a certain standard of both interest and quality. He or she will then work with me to help make it the best it can be. Once published, the publisher has the knowledge, staff and network to provide marketing support and sales infrastructure. And yes, I know brand new authors need to do much of their own marketing but I don’t underestimate the connections a publisher has with the press, blogosphere, book wholesalers and retailers.