Go Big or Go Indie – Publish 15


Go Big or Go Indie: Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

Post inspired by: 


@BennettColes Publisher & CEO, Promontory Press, Author


@JFrenchAuthor Author, Autumn’s Fall Saga


@LauraMcNeillBks Author, Center of Gravity

This past weekend I went to the first annual Publish 15 workshop. They hosted 5 workshops a day to sharpen your skills from writing to networking and hosted classes on traditional publishing and self-publishing. During breaks we were able to visit the Exhibition Hall which hosted a variety of vendors from Authors to Publishing Companies and Printing and more. Several booths were doing giveaways, free headshot, and other items. It was a lot of fun. If you’re interested in widening your knowledgeable on writing and publishing or perhaps landing a deal by pitching to Literary Agents then stay posted for Publish 16 in the future. The below are notes I took from my experience and the learned experience of those that hosted the workshop. Below is the first Workshop I attended Saturday morning and to the side are the inspiring Panel:


Traditional Publishing has not changed much with advancement of technology. I like to call it winning the book lottery, if your work really does have the chance. This process is all about pitching your book to the right person at the right time.

  • Finished Manuscript.
    • Advice: Get plenty of honest friends, acquaintances and an editor to review it. An editor can really be worth the money to make sure your work shines. Find reputable editors through the Association of Free Lance Editors.
  • Query Letter. 
    • You will most likely be writing this pitch on you and your book to get a Literary agent. To view Query letters I recommend Shark Query. This team will pick Queries to review and edit then post them online. You can learn from advice they have given others and you can submit yours for possible selection. Follow them at @QueryShark.
  • Literary Agent. 
    • The literary agent is your connector to the publishing house. They have relationships built with many houses and are able to use their energy and resources to give your book the change to land a deal.
    • Search for a Literary Agent that fits you and your books needs and interests. Don’t just apply to anyone. Research their interest and background. Engage with them on any of their social networks. If you feel they are a good fit then send your Query Letter. Some may want parts or more of your book emailed.
    • To see a list you should get the following book often published yearly: Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents
  • Finances. 
    • With traditional publishing you will get an advance and there will be a standard royalty for your work. Of course the newer you are the less likely it will be a large advance.
    • Often authors choose to put the money straight into marketing. @LauraMcNeillBks recommend investing in a Publicist.
  • Advantages: 
    • If you land a deal you will be able to focus more on writing, social networking, and marketing while the business and publishing process is primarily handled by your Literary Agent and Publisher. You will have a house backing your work up and making it a stronger platform to get your books in the stores and out to the people.
  • Disadvantages: 
    • Pursuing this process is going to lead to early rejection before your work is in the public eye. Just remember, even Stephen King was rejected 30 times for Carrie. Click this link to view some of the FAMOUS books rejected.
    • You will have to give up your work and they often have more control on artwork, marketing, distribution and say when it will be released and if they will continue to keep your book in print.

Self-Publishing is when you choose to publish a book by using publishing services requiring you to pay up-front.

  • Finished Manuscript.
    • Same advice as I gave for traditional publishing.
    • After my last review, and those of my choosing I like to have a beta reader review my workbecausetheyaremore objective.
      • Find them on Goodreads. They are often people who just love to read and are possibly your target audience if you did your research on them. Most are free and some who pay more attention to detail and grammar cost a small amount in comparison to an Editor.
      • My favorite beta reader is @KJBetaReading. She will read your first chapter and edit it for no charge so you can make a decision to get the full book looked at for a very reasonable price.
  • Editor.
    • Same advice as I gave for traditional publishing.
    • It is ABSOLUTELY necessary to do otherwise your books will be torn apart by your audience for small mistakes an Editor would have found. Make sure it is someone reputable and reasonable.
  • Artwork. 
    • Don’t go cheap. This has to be amazing and match your books concept. People will often buy a book or learn more about it due to the cover.
  • Finances. 
    • Determine your publishing route.
      • I go through BookLogix. They did my editing, artwork, all the business things like copyrighting and serial numbers, distribution to all the major ebook stores. and they even invited me to Publish 15. If you search for publishing services do your research and make sure they are reputable.
      • Or you can publish with Amazon on CreateSpace.
    • You will be paying up front so it’s time to save or get a good loan if it’s worth it. If you are good at marketing and need to get some more money to reach your goals I would suggest a KickStarter campaign.
  • Marketing
    • You are your only backer unless you get the word out and find promoters or higher a marketing service or Publicist.
    • Become good friends with social networking and start early. Don’t wait for your books release.
  • Advantages.
    • You are in full control. You choose who you want to work with and what is worth paying for as well as getting higher royalties for your product.
    • If you have a good platform and become successful or the right eye catches your work you can still land a traditional deal for your current or future work and you may have more bargaining power on your negotiations.
  • Disadvantage. 
    • You are in full control so now you own the business and it is up to you to motivate yourself everyday when everything stacks against you.
    • You have to budget and perhaps you may find yourself waiting to take the next step.

All three of the speakers to this workshop started out or still are successful at self-publishing their books. All in all getting a book published can be done whether on your own or with the help of others. Good luck. Stay posted for future blogs reviewing my Publish 15 experience. Does anyone out there have advice on the subject of Go Big or Go Indie? Have you made this choice before? Or are you considering which road to take?


One thought on “Go Big or Go Indie – Publish 15

  1. Pingback: Write In Style – Publish 15 | Writer Daze

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