IWSG: Publishing Paths

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Posts go up the first Wednesday of each month. Read more posts and/or join in here.

This month I’m insecure about the fact I entered Pitch Wars for the first time ever and have so far not received any requests for more pages. Between that and the fact that I keep being told by agents I’ve queried that my writing is “really good,” “engaging,” “flows well” . . . yet somehow no one wants to represent or publish it . . . I don’t know what to think or do. Which leads somewhat indirectly to this month’s question:

What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

As of now, I have eight books on the market. Two were published by small publishers, the others I self-published. I’ll be self-publishing Faebourne too.

For some manuscripts, I do try to get an agent. If I think the book might be commercial enough, I do an extensive round of querying. If, however, I know it’s too niche, or if it’s something I know I can sell on my own (like Sherlock Holmes or Regency romance), I self-publish.

I guess a part of me still hopes to someday be published by a bigger house. I don’t know why. A lingering desire for legitimacy? For someone to say I’m good enough? Hence the most recent heartbreaking year of queries. For this particular manuscript I’ve sent out 134 queries, and at the moment I’m waiting for answers on 3 of them. The rest were rejections or no responses. And now I’m hoping maybe, just maybe, a Pitch Wars mentor might see something good in my work. But that appears to be a no as well.

It’s tough to stay confident in your writing when no one else seems to believe it’s worth their time or effort.

Yet my Sherlock Holmes books and Brynnde sell well. So at least a few people like and read my work. And I have hopes Faebourne will follow in Brynnde‘s footsteps. All signs point to me continuing to self-publish because I come out ahead on those books. (Mostly due to my husband who handles the marketing.)

In short, my publishing path is something I determine on a book-by-book basis. If I think there’s a chance an agent might like the manuscript, I do some querying. Otherwise, I self-publish. I don’t really bother with the smaller publishers any more because I haven’t had much luck with them. I’m better off having full control of my ability to price and market, and in determining which format(s) to produce, etc. I’m sure there are some great small publishers out there that actually do market and won’t just churn out a ton of books and hope they sell, but I’ve ceased looking for them. If a publisher wants me to do the marketing for them, well, I might as well put the book out myself and keep more of the profits.

So this manuscript I’m shopping, well . . . First I have to get Faebourne out, and then I’ll decide what to do with it. Scrap it. Overhaul it. Or eventually put my faith in it and self-publish. Its fate remains to be determined.

10 thoughts on “IWSG: Publishing Paths”

  1. While I self-publish, I still have that little part which desires to be published by a big house too. I know it’s just for my fragile ego, though. Good luck finishing off Faebourne. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. I think most of us dream of being published with a big house. It sounds like you’re on a good journey and will get there one day. Good luck with Faebourne!

  3. Aw! I love that your husband does the marketing. What a sweetheart! It sounds like you’ve found your niche, and way to go with it! I’m with you on analyzing works by how well they fit in a publishers normal label.

  4. You make a good point. Traditional publishing might work better for a book with lots of commercial appeal, whereas a genre-straddler might do better as indie. Lucky you, to have a husband who’ll help with marketing. I’m lucky in that hubs loves spreadsheets and is taking care of tracking my expenses. I wish you publishing success with your new series, and happy writing in September.

  5. I think we all seek a little bit of that legitimacy provided by someone liking our work enough to represent it. Having said that I think self-publishing is definitely the way to go for many stories.

  6. Traditional publishing works better for a more commercial book, it is true, but not necessarily so. I’m going for trad pub because that’s who I am, but Indie does have a lot of potential—as you’ve seen with your two books that are selling.

    All the best with your writing and querying this month—maybe get your query looked at, because sometimes it is the query and not the book that needs tweaking.

  7. Some books just work better being indie published, and you’ll make more money when you self-publish them instead of letting a publishing company do it for you. So pick and choose your publishing path carefully. There’s nothing wrong with publishing your books yourself.

  8. Sometimes I think it’s easiest for the people who have one definitive path. They want everything to be traditionally published or everything to be self-published. Like you, I’d like to at least try to get a big publisher for the novel I’m shopping now. At the same time, I didn’t bother trying to query my collection of short stories. The majority had been published, they’d been through an editor, so it made more sense for me to do it myself and keep any of the profits to myself. But sometimes making that decision isn’t so easy. I can’t for the life of me decide whether to shop or self-pub a craft book I’d like to write, and it’s got me paralyzed.

    tl;dr…I feel you.

  9. Eight books is incredible. One book isn’t bad. I hear you about the “legitimacy” of being published by a major house. That would be my dream, though I could see being okay with self-publishing or something smaller than that big dream.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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