The Publishing Dilemma

darkI’ve been writing for years.  I’m confident in my abilities.  I have a very strong story.  So why the heck am I still an “unpublished writer” rather than “… author of 75 Miles to Montauk”?

It’s simple, really.  From my perspective, I seem to be caught between two no-win scenarios.  Tell me if this sounds familiar.  Traditional route:

1. write a fantastic story

2. learn all you can about the publishing industry

3. submit standard materials to everyone you can think of

4. paper the walls with rejection letters

New fangled self publishing route:

1. write a fantastic story

2. sign up with a service like Create Space and hit “publish”

3. watch exactly nothing happen

4. endure withering/pitying looks as you explain you’re “self published”, which seems to equate a grade-school child bringing home construction paper artwork for mom and dad to pin to the fridge door.  It’s something a naive kid would be proud of, but no “grown up” would ever take it seriously.

(Incidentally – if you have trouble remembering how to spell “naive” like I do, remember this fun fact: “Evian” is “Naive” spelled backwards.  But I digress.)

agilityI recently met an author I already have enormous respect for.  Chris Pitchford is a delight to talk to.  His writing is crisp and witty.  He has a real knack for telling a tale, as you can discover in his new novel The Agility of Clouds.

When he isn’t writing fantastic stories, Chris  puts a great deal of thought into the business end of books, as explained in his recent article “Dream jobs.  Sometimes it’s not enough to have just one“.  Published by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Chris lays out the pros and cons, and explains why he made the decision to self publish.  A recommended read!



2 thoughts on “The Publishing Dilemma

  1. I guess I’d like to beg to differ on your approximation of the new fangled self-publishing route. Especially #4. In reality, at least in my reality, most people are simply impressed that I’ve written a novel (I’ve now finished 3, which is miraculous to some). Even among my writing group friends, many of whom are still aiming for traditional publication, I’ve got a sort of “street” cred. Any writer worth his salt knows that self publishing is a legitimate option nowadays. It’s certainly not the “easy way out” and if you have any success at all, you must be doing something right.

    That isn’t to say I’m not still drawn to the potential for industry validation. But, it’s losing it’s glow. I have total control over my content and that’s what self publishing is really all about; maintaining control over your intellectual property.

    • Please differ! I would love to hear from anyone who’s had experience in publishing, be it the “traditional” route or self publishing. And you make some excellent points – especially about having control of your content. It has always bothered me that the publishing houses had so much control in what (to my mind) should really be a team effort. Thanks for the perspective check!

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