Should You Self-Publish Your Book or Seek a Publishing Deal?

To self-publish or seek a traditional publishing deal….this, it would seem, is today’s big question in the author community.

If you are very, very sure you are the next John Grisham or J.K. Rowling – except that right now your bank account is in the bright red – a traditional publishing deal might serve you well indeed.

This, of course, presupposes that: a) you can find the editor who sees your genius for what it is and is willing to stake his/her career on it, and b) that editor sticks around the publishing house long enough to see your particular book in print and on to the success it so richly deserves.

But if you are more like the rest of us, in that you are right now occupied with writing the book inside you that needs to get written (and determined to do it whether it turns into a cash cow or a baby sow), self-publishing deserves some serious consideration.

Personally, I’ve done it both ways.

My first book, Beating Ana: how to outsmart your eating disorder and take your life back, was published by Health Communications, Inc. in 2009 (in case you aren’t aware, they are the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” folks).

Last year, I chose to self-publish my second book, Love & Feathers: what a palm-sized parrot has taught me about life, love, and healthy self-esteem.

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to share what I learned in traveling each path for Writers Weekly. Not to spoil the surprise, but the two paths felt completely different to me!

Slam-Dunk!

(by Shannon Cutts for Writers Weekly)

I published my first nonfiction book in 2009. After a whirlwind courtship with a respected mid-sized publisher, and six ensuing months of editing and formatting frenzy, the book was OUT.

As in – In print. On shelves. Online. Everywhere.

The day it went live, I waited eagerly for the deluge of attention and profits. As nothing happened, day after day and week after week, I began to question my vision, my abilities, my audience, my agent’s and publisher’s belief in me, my sanity – everything.

The pressure to sell copies was tremendous…but it often felt like I was the only one working to make that happen. As it turns out, I actually was the only one working on it. About six months into the whole mess, the publisher canned my publicity manager and, in her place, they hired a blog tour management specialist to try to revive interest in the book.

Again, I got SO excited.

Again, nothing happened.

At this point, when I tell you that, a scant five years later, I once again pursued the path of traditional publishing for my second book, you might be tempted to stop reading. Please don’t!

I had only two reasons for seeking a traditional publisher at this point:

Fear……read the full post at Writers Weekly

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