The Mystery of Self-Publishing


By Tammy Trail

To be perfectly honest, this whole traditional or self-publishing dilemma has me baffled. I am so new to the art of writing that it’s all Greek to me. I think the economy has forced a lot of folks to rethink the whole publishing industry. I have heard that in the past, publishing houses used to be pretty liberal with their ability to contract writers who showed they had a creative voice and the talent to back it up. Not so anymore. They are being pretty tight-fisted these days, willing only to publish a certain number of books each year, making it harder for new authors to get their product out.

But, is that really true?

I know of several first-time authors who are getting contracts from major publishers. So is it more competitive, or are the publishing houses just becoming more selective on the type of product they choose to sell? Perhaps they have just raised the bar a bit more, looking for a product that will sell because they only have limited contracts to invest in.

And even though self-publishing is becoming more in vogue, it was only a couple of years ago when I heard, “she is thinking of self-publishing,” whispered behind a hand into a friendly ear like it was a naughty word. Now it seems like EVERYONE is doing it. Naughty or not!

I have an acquaintance, who has also been a bit of a mentor to me, she is multi-published in the traditional market, and she has encouraged me to try self-publishing. I believe for those authors who are so talented that books just flow from the fingertips like water, self-publishing is just a way for them to make money with their craft without going through the middleman and waiting for the traditional publishers to catch up with them.

I googled, “self-publishing” to see what it got me. A bit more confused actually.  This article was very helpful:

One must be careful of what they get themselves into as well. My mother has a friend who is a writer. She went through what some would consider a “Vanity Press” to get her book published. She signed a contract without looking at the fine print. There were promises made that were not fulfilled, and of course she can’t get out of it without heavy legal fees.

That is why I am so thankful for writing organizations like American Christian Fiction Writers, a community of experienced writers of all levels willing to give advice to folks like me who are just starting out in the craft of writing. There is also a multitude of credible blogs by folks who care about the promotion of craft, like Seekerville, and our own happy place here at Writing Prompts. In my own humble opinion, there are no hard and fast rules about which avenue is better, what really matters is the quality of the writing.

The writing really needs to be top notch, whichever path you choose. Taking the time to learn the craft in order to produce a worthy product is still my number one goal. I guess the rest will follow when it’s ready.