Publishing Options

There are so many avenues for publishing your work nowadays, how do you know which way is best for you? I was so happy to be able to sit in on this discussion at the Agile Writer’s Converence back in January.

Below, I’ll list the options as discussed by Charity Ayres, author of Ice Burns.

Option 1: Traditional Publishing

  • When seeking this route, it is best to have an agent in your corner. It’s easy to track agents these days, especially if you’re on Twitter. And it’s good to follow agents, because you can get to know them, and understand what they’re seeking.
    • You can also use Writer’s Market Mag. or Writer’s Digest, for agent details.
  • Once you’re ready to contact an agent, you must write a query letter.
    • Charity provided a link to a webpage she found especially helpful. Click here! (It connects you to the SFWA website.)
    • One of Charity’s tips was to be sure to personalize your query letter to each agent you contact. If you’ve been following them on Twitter, or on their own blog, it should be easy to include a line or two.
nathan bransford

Option 2: Independent Publishers

  • Charity didn’t have much to say about this route, but stated that if you have to pay anything, it’s really just a glorified self-pubbing format. True publishers don’t charge their clients.
    • In my own experience, from research online, I think you should thoroughly research any independent publisher to make sure they’re legit. Check out who will own what rights to your work, and consider the long term affects of losing what you sign away.


joab cohen author site

Option 3: Self Publishing

  • You have to be your own advocate. You must make sure you’re willing to commit yourself to a thorough promotion campaign if you go this route.
    • Websites that help you format your book: Create Space (Amazon), Smashwords, Bookbaby, and Lulu. Let’s break these down:
      • Create Space: no charge for basic formatting, no charge for ebooks, charge for hard copies
      • Smashwords: only ebooks! Wider distribution: BN, Apple, etc. Very specific formatting requirements. (If you’re tech savvy, can take as little as 4 hours, if you’re not…it will take much longer.)
      • Bookbaby: will do everything: formatting, editing (but charges a lot)
      • Lulu: also charges for everything (from paper choice, to book size, to formatting), check for hidden fees
  • Self-Pubbing is a faster route that allows you to take advantage of book trends. So, if something is hot right now, you won’t have to wait the 2-3 years it takes to traditionally publish–assuming you’re good/lucky enough to snag an agent.
    • Take advantage of world events and fads that may make your book more appealing.
  • Launch Party:
    • Make a big deal out of launch day. Create an event page on Facebook and invite everyone you can.
      • Have events, door prizes, raffles, panels
      • For more tips on launch parties, check out my previous post by clicking here!

I learned so much, especially about self-publishing. I think, personally, I’d like to have a go at traditional publishing, but I’ve wanted to learn more about self-pubbing in case I change my mind. My biggest hang up on self-pubbing is the time it takes to properly market your book. I don’t have hours-per-day to flit from social media to social media. I don’t think I’d do my work justice. (I know you have to do marketing stuff for traditionally pubbed books, too. But in 2 to 3 years, when my kids are older, I should have more time for self-promo.) *wink, wink

So what do you think? Any ebook formatting tips or experience? Please leave a comment or a word of encouragement! We’re all in this writing-thing together!
*And be sure to swing by next Friday for more on formatting your ms for submission!

4 thoughts on “Publishing Options

    1. thanks sara! i have to get my stuff finished too. i would like to query by the end of the year, but we’ll see how it goes. let me know when you move forward with either book! I’d love to know how it goes!

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