Self publishing: Self sacrifice?

Ok, so here’s a question: Can self-publishing equate to shooting oneself in the foot regarding getting a traditional publisher to take on a book?

Like most writers out there, I am eager to get others to read my work (especially considering this is my first work). I’m also keenly aware that by self-publishing I could put my book out there in just a matter of weeks. However – and here’s my conundrum – if I do self-publish, am I destroying my chances at getting a real publisher to put the book into print? Will these guys only take on work that hasn’t been previously published, self or otherwise?

Eynon_Gareth-23Part of my wish to get moving on this stems from my desire to mention and promote my work as I speak to the online community. As it presently stands, though, there is nothing for me to direct them too; hence my impatience. I don’t, however, want to jump the gun with this, particularly because my preferred method of publication would be the traditional way (probably because I’m a lazy git and would like somebody else to do most of the work for me, even if it will cost me a larger slice of the profits).

So then, a second question: Is there a halfway house where I can put a body of my work out there, without taking the plunge completely and going down the self-publishing route?

I know that self-publishing is a valid, and even preferential choice for many writers, but I would still rather have my work taken on by a publisher. So, any suggestions or thoughts on my predicament? Is anyone else in the same boat as me? Can I simply throw caution to the wind and go for it?

Thanks for reading.

Photo by Issy Mey

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12 comments on “Self publishing: Self sacrifice?

  1. I am planning to try the traditional route first and then look at self publishing if the traditional route doesn’t work. I know self publishing can be costly and you’ll be competing with a lot of other self published authors. As far as getting a publishing house to pick up an already self published book, I think it has happened, but these were books that were already selling really well. I do know of a couple of self published authors who later picked up agents to represent future works.

    Good luck!

    • gpeynon says:

      Ah, ok. So it can be done, but the book needs to be good. Uh oh. I think there’s something far more romantic about having a publisher say yes; it kind of fits better with that dream we all have when we start writing. But on the other hand, it’s nice to know we have a plan b if that doesn’t work.

      Thanks for commenting. I will follow your progress with this too. Good luck to you…

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  3. Thomas M. Watt says:

    Either way there is a lot of work ahead. I suggest putting your primary focus into acquiring a literary agent. There is a great list of them available at writerscafe.org. I try to submit ten queries a month. If you get a good agent, they will handle the business end of writing.

    • gpeynon says:

      Fantastic advice, thanks. I will go and have a look at that link. At this stage I would much rather put the work into finding an agent. I will just have to be patient…

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Thomas M. Watt says:

        Of course. Don’t be put off by rejection. Persistence is key.

      • gpeynon says:

        I’m pretty thick-skinned. I can handle the rejection; at least in the beginning. I may get a bit put off after a few years, though. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. I’m also pretty persistent (just ask my wife).

        Do you have much published?

  4. Excellent question. I tried and could not find any agent nearby. A nationally (Canada) syndicated columnist tried to get the head of a major publishing house to look at my book proposal, but nothing came of it.

    My take is that traditional publishers are letting first time authors prove their mettle via self-publishing, letting the market pick the winners, and then swooping in. I’m not an expert, so take my thoughts with a big grain of salt.

    I’ve gone with friesenpress.com. Not cheap (especially not with $3K+ defamation lawyer review fee), but I have control, and the quality appears to be quite good. Like you, I’d prefer to have others doing things like marketing, but if I want to publish, this is how it has to be.

    Mine should be out in January 2014. Best of luck with yours, and thanks for the like today.

    • gpeynon says:

      Yes, what you say about publishers letting the market pick the winners seems to be the way things are going. I find it impossible to decide whether I think that’s a good or bad thing. I guess only time will tell.

      Connecting with other writers and watching how they do things is why I’m blogging at the moment so I shall follow your blog and see how you do in January.

      Best of luck and thanks for commenting.

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