Pursue Your Publishing Path With Pride

Before you read this post, please be aware that I support BOTH traditionally published and self-published writers.

If you’re published, trying to get published or considering it, you rock.

My Current Position

My first novel is nearly ready to be published. It’s going through the last edit and then I will be querying.

I have chosen to go the traditional route and see where it leads.

Don’t Make Me Feel Embarrassed

Pursue Your Own Publishing Path - pulling ropeOnce upon a time, trying to get your novel published by a publishing house was something people applauded. Many people still do. Unfortunately, from my experience, many don’t.

I have read writers’ comments in posts, threads, and on my social media, telling those who want to pursue traditional publishing not to bother. The level of responses range from the joking, ‘Good luck with that, it’s tough’, to ‘You’re selling out’. The snide comments are not helpful.

I am going to query agents. I am going to try to get my book published by a publishing house. Why have I felt embarrassed to admit that until now? Because it seems to be routine for some writers to scorn that. Again, not ALL writers.

I have put posts on my Facebook writing page poking fun at the slog of getting your novel traditionally published. I’m saddened whenever a writer replies with comments telling me not to bother or that I should self-publish instead. That is NOT supportive.

Maybe there are writers who are jaded by rejections. I’m not looking forward to that but I’m preparing for it.

I think instead of writers trying to discourage fellow writers from pursuing a path they may not have found success with, we should be teaching each other.

Self-Publishing Is Not a Default Option

I love self-publishers for being so hard-working. We all know that self-publishing isn’t usually an easy or cheap option.

When someone who has self-published tells me not to bother trying to get traditionally published and just self-publish instead, I’m shocked. If the reasons are because they think it’s a better option for them, that’s all well and good, but often I’ve found it’s because they think it’s the easy option.

There’s no doubt that you could self-publish with very little effort or money. We’ve all seen the poorly formatted, unedited novels with a cover that looks like it’s been cobbled together by a five-year-old. These novels do no favours for self-publishers trying to get noticed in a saturated market.

There are many writers though that produce amazing self-published novels. They don’t get the recognition they deserve but they keep on doing it.

Some writers choose self-publishing and have no interest in traditional publishing. That is, of course, fine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I will always support them.

What I don’t support is self-published writers who tell me and other writers I’m selling out or haven’t got a hope in hell of being traditionally published. That’s not on.

My Eyes Are Wide Open

Pursue Your Own Publishing Path - publishingI have conducted research on traditional publishing and I will continue to do so. It is an absolute minefield that is constantly shifting.

The stages you need to go through just to start the process make my brain hurt. Querying agents is going to be a slog. I know this. I am not foolish.

I may not get an agent, let alone a publishing contract. As with most things in life, it’s uncertain.

The odds are stacked against me as writers, publishing houses, writing magazines, blogs, and agents like to tell us. You have to be in it, though, to have a chance of winning it.

I’m aware of the relentless rejections. Sometimes I’ll shrug it off. Other days, when I’m feeling vulnerable, it will feel like the end of the world. I’ll move on though. I always do when hard times hit.

Share Your Experience Not Your Bitterness

This section is hard to write as I’m not a confrontational person. It has to be said though because I’ve noticed it’s becoming a thing.

If you have tried to get a publishing contract and it didn’t work out for you, I’m genuinely sorry. I may have to face that one day.

To work so hard on your novel and then bust a gut going through the process of getting it published is bound to affect a person.

Unfortunately some writers who haven’t got an agent or contract can inflict their bitterness on other writers. I’ve found this in social media writing groups and occasionally on my social media.

I love the writing community when we’re strengthening each other, giving advice, and encouragement. Let’s keep doing that rather than making snide comments to writers who are querying about how they’ll never succeed.

Let’s pass on what we learnt about the process to help others negotiate the path.

Other writers are not our competition, even those who write in our genre. You may feel like they are, particularly when their novel is sitting next to yours in the slush pile.

With the spirit of competitiveness comes that of feeling like a failure in comparison. Another writer’s success doesn’t mean you lost. Rather, it is a hope for you that you can succeed too.

Please, no matter how much you want to scream at the world because you’ve had your eleventy- billionth rejection, don’t piss on someone else’s parade. We will learn, in due course, how tough it really is. Even better, we can be prepared if you will help us.

What Happens If I’m Not Traditionally Published?

The world ends. I give up writing. Just joking.

Pursue Your Own Publishing Path - publishing thoughtsAs long as I’ve done all I could, tried my best, and gave it all I’ve got, I will be proud of myself for trying.

I’m not going to lie and say I won’t be a little disappointed. I’m a human being. I hurt. I don’t tend to win much anyway so it won’t be a big shock – cue the world’s smallest violin.

I will self-publish NOT as the second prize or default option, as previously discussed. I will self-publish because of the main reason why I write; to share my writing with others.

I won’t feel like self-publishing is a failure because I know how dedicated I am. I will put everything into making sure my self-published novel is the best it can be. I owe it to my novel, myself, and my potential readers.

I will be excited that people can read it, even if it may be only a handful of people.

The self-publishing world is ever-changing. Exciting developments take place all the time. While it is a dense market, certain writers shine brightly there. Maybe I will join them.

What Happens If I Am Traditionally Published?

I’ll celebrate, have a kip after all that querying, and probably have all the same kind of meltdowns about writing that I did before.

Over to You

Are you or have you pursued traditional publishing? How is or was that for you?

Did you choose to self-publish first or after querying? How do you feel about that?

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer and blogger. When not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, the cat, and the Husband. Not particularly in that order.

10 comments on “Pursue Your Publishing Path With Pride

  1. This is an interesting post. I’ve never tried the trad route because I just always felt that self-publishing is the better choice for me for a number of reasons. I know some trad published authors who sell books and some who don’t. I know self-publishers who sell a lot of books and I know people who don’t.

    Unfortunately, I’m nowhere near the goal I’d set myself when I started publishing (professionally, with a professional editor, professional formatting, and cover artist(s)). That’s all right though – I knew it would be hard and didn’t give up my day job. Whichever route you go, I think it’s important to keep in mind that patience is the key. Most of all, patience with oneself. And there’s something else: the fun you have doing what you love. That’s my biggest asset, the biggest benefit I have personally reaped from this.

    Tearing into each other is a no-go, I agree. What I find equally frustrating, however, is to see how many indie authors are still behaving unprofessionally and putting unformatted and unedited work out there, giving us a bad name. The press has been having a ball at all of the big book fairs where I live for years now, reporting on the bad quality of the books in the indie sections, and I’m so tired of the way people look at me whenever I say I’m an indie publisher (my own company and all), initially just assuming I’m one of the authors they’re always reading about whenever Frankfurt or Leipzig are over. I love what I do, and I get why some people try to skimp on costs, but this is the one thing I will always criticize and never support.

    I will always speak my mind in matters that are important to me.

    Anyway: I wish you roaring success with your book, no matter which road you go down, in the end. You’re doing what you love, and you always speak your mind.

    1. Thank you for speaking your mind too. I value what you’ve written here.

      I hate seeing shoddy self-publishing too. It devalues what others are trying to do and, ultimately, affects other self-publishers because it adds to the unfortunate unprofessional reputation. It’s a tough gig as it is.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. I tried the traditional route once. I subytwo proposals. They told me they loved my work but that I was a nobody and to come back when I was a somebody! I was so disappointed it set me back a few years. Now I’m I have the best publisher! I’m learning how to write for the goals I have and it’s been an amazing journey! It’s a bit of a hybrid program. It was exactly what I needed and I couldn’t be happier! I have the freedom to make decisions but coaching three times a week (available)to help me make the best decisions for my goals! My book releases everywhere books are sold in October! I already have a radio interview set up and it’s not even through with editing! Here’s some info for those that want it. It also explains the diffybetween the theee types of publishing options! bit.ly/AAEPublish

    1. I’m so pleased it worked out for you. I’ve been reading about hybrid publishers with interest. Thanks for the info.

      All the best with the release of your book.

  3. Good for you Lisa! Congratulations and best of luck. There is no ‘right or wrong’ and kudos for standing up to the busybodies who say otherwise.
    Eagerly awaiting the release. 🙂

  4. Being an indie is so hard I would encourage most writers to try to get traditionally published if they can. The exciting thing is that there are many more options out there these days. Getting an agent and possibly a good trad deal, finding a small press publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscript (there are loads of these now and they publish amazing books!) or trying a hybrid publisher, a digital publisher or a self-publishing platform. There are so many options and I would encourage people to aim for the one that suits them best and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out then you can try another path! All paths require hard work and developing an author platform, doing your own marketing etc, and none of the paths guarantee commercial or financial success, but the end result is the same. Your work published and in the hands of readers. Also, authors these days chop and change. They might start off trad published and then shift to indie. They might start indie and then attract a publisher. It’s a varied and exciting field. But all of it requires hard work and dedication and you have to manage your expectations, but at the same time be bloody proud of what you’ve achieved!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Chantelle. New options are opening up all the time and we have to be receptive to them.

      I love that you help other writers too as you progress and try different avenues. I’m always impressed by how hard you work with your self-publishing.

  5. This is a fantastic post, Lisa. I’m so sorry you encountered such negativity when you made the decision to got the traditional route. I found it went the other way – when I decided to take a break from querying and self-publish some different books, there was some sniffiness in the area!

    I think you’re quite right to say that things are constantly changing and developing. I needed to step back from the querying to save my very bruised ego, and am learning an enormous amount from stepping into the indie publishing world with a different set of stories that I feel lend themselves better to self-publishing than traditional. I fully intend to go back to querying next year, and it’s exciting having the option to pursue both.

    All the best of luck with the querying – you work so hard in your writing, and it will pay off!

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Kim.

      I feel that I will follow a similar path to yours and pursue both avenues.

      It’s tough querying and I know that I will find it to be so. Good for you for taking the decision to self-publish and be true to your stories.

      I always wish you well with your writing and getting it out there for the world to enjoy.

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