The lovely and very talented Chrystalla Thoma has gotten my brain turning on the subject of traditional publishing Vs. Self-publishing, and I think it's a question that every writer needs to be considering at this point.
The traditional publishing industry is shrinking. Magazines are closing, markets are under greater pressure to be selective and publish only the most marketable of pieces. Advances for new writers are small and most authors don't sell out their contracts. Many are stuck on the midlist while bigger ticket items get all the promotion. Some writers are doing well, and deservedly so, but many aren't and undeservedly so.
Meanwhile, the eBook market is not-so-quietly growing. There are still "midlist" authors but they're getting a bigger cut of the proceeds. More and more people are reading in digital formats, eReaders are selling like hotcakes tastier cousin, and most importantly people are reading all those self-published books! Most of which got rejected at some point along their journey. Either way, I’ll be promoting the book myself.
So I'm forced to ask myself, what is it I really want. It's time, as they say, to put my money where my mouth is. If I just want to be read, and I don't need to make tons of money, and I don't need to be a Big Name Author, why am I holding out? Traditional publishing does have that stamp of approval. It's "respectable" publishing. But it's a lot harder to think of it that way when I know people who are selling thousands of eBooks while I sit here, submitting and getting (almost) nothing but the "good" rejections.
I just don't want to wait around forever and never achieve that dream. I've been reflecting lately on all the publishing advice I've gotten (and given) over the years. You know what I mean, all those phrases that end in, "but that's the way it is." You're going to get rejections, and it does suck, but that's the way it is. You can't control when or if you get published, but that's the way it is. You won't have any input on the cover, they may change your title, you'll have to do all the promotion, you can't submit to editors so you need an agent but they won't take you until you've had something published, but that's the way it is.
But it isn't. Not anymore. There was a time when self-publishing was the last resort, but that was when distributing a print book was a nightmare. Now? *POOF* Internet, eReaders, eBooks.
So, I've come to the decision that after the current round of edits on A Sign in Blood--which I'm putting off my short stories to finally get to--I'm going to self-publish through Smashwords as an eBook. I can do the cover myself. Between myself and the wonderful and lovely folks at Critique Circle, I'm pretty sure I can get it up to snuff editing-wise. It's a scary decision, actually, but I think it's the right one for me.