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To Traditionally or Self-Publish – THAT is the Question

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Traditional or Self-Publishing

To Traditionally or Self-Publish – THAT is the Question

Traditional Publishing - The Big 5 Publishers
The Big 5

What’s so Great about being Traditionally Published?

If you said no to the questions above, then it’s pretty clear that letting a publisher handle your book is a fair option to consider. Let’s put a pin in that for later.

If you answered yes to the questions above and you still prefer to go the traditional publishing route, you should really ask yourself why. And be honest. Many authors we’ve coached through the years have told us they wanted their book traditionally published for the following reasons, which are actually myths about the publishing industry (or no longer true)…

Myth #1: If a publisher offers me a contract, then I know I’m good enough to be published.

NEWS FLASH #1: Publishers are not the final say in whether or not a book is good enough to be published. If you don’t believe us, here’s proof:

  • J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected 12 times
  • Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times
  • Margret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was rejected over 35 times
  • Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen’s book Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 120 times
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

And the list goes on and on. As editors who have not only worked with small presses but also conversed with many Big 5 editors, we’re here to tell you they don’t always know what they’re doing. Editors aren’t Gods—surprise!—they’re normal, everyday people who make mistakes just like the rest of us. Remember that writing is an art form and, the same as a painting, everyone is going to have their opinion about whether it belongs in the Louvre or the trash heap. If we all liked the same things, we’d be those drones you just crafted in your YA Dystopian instead of real people.

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

When Arial was in the US Air Force in Germany and ask Tom Clancy (R.I.P.) about giving up, he said to her, “Even though Hunt for Red October was rejected 33 times, I didn’t give up. Every time it got rejected, I made improvements and learned more about writing. I never stopped honing my craft or editing my manuscript, so it got better and better.”

AHA! The take away here is, don’t just send your book out there and cross your fingers. Keep tweaking and learning your craft. Better yet, pay an editor to work with you to tighten your manuscript. It will not only be the best learning experience you ever had, you’ll cut decades (yes, decades) off your learning curve AND exponentially increase your chances of getting a contract. HUZZAH!

No publisher should decide whether or not your book is good enough. YOU have to know your book is good enough. If you don’t, then keep improving until you’re sure.

NEXT – News Flash #2 as Myth #1 continues

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