With all this talk of self-publishing, what would be a reason to go the traditional route?
What value does the publisher bring to the whole process? What is the most important thing a publisher does for his or her author-client?
They sell your product, or they know the right people who will sell your product for you... Potentially and probably making more money, sometimes you can make more money self publishing though. As long as you're confident you can get local papers etc to review the book for you.
More and more, publishers depend on the authors to sell their own books. If they feel really strongly about a property, they might add advertising bucks behind it, but you can't count on that.
What can be enticing about the traditional path is the advance on royalties. This is a guaranteed, up-front payment for your work that will be taken out of royalties if your book sells. Once enough copies are sold, you can then start to earn new royalties.
The publisher also has established channels of distribution that can open doors to book stores and other outlets. Depending on the publisher, it might also determine how much shelf space is given to your book.
Most, if not all, libraries and book stores will not carry self published books, so those avenues of getting your self published book out there are closed. With traditional publishing you have a higher chance at success (because the agent and the publisher both WANT your book to succeed). There is also a higher amount of respect given to traditionally published books. While not all books on the shelf are good, there is at least a standard for editing and grammar, which is non-existent with self published books. For example, I could write a sentence like "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Where as the guy next to me can write "Teh qk brn ferx jamps ver la gog!" And yet both of our self published books are sitting next to each other as if they're equal. Traditional publishing provides a means of filtering through most of the crap and smoothing out the edges of the crap that does make it past the filter. So, with a higher earning potential, a higher amount of respect and a higher chance of success, why would anyone self publish? The only reason I would ever consider it is if I spent a lifetime trying to get published the normal way and failed, but I'd only do it then to see the book released before I die. It really disappoints me to see all these people jumping to self publishing as a first resort. I'm sure everyone has their own reasons, but to me it just makes writers look spineless and lazy.
You have a point there. There are so many advantages to the traditional. I have read a few absolute stinkers though that have recieved a decent attention and marketing. This is annoying when there must be hundreds of talented writers not on the shelf
The big reason is distribution. Bookstores will NOT stock self-published books on their shelves. Ever.
Self-publishing sites will tell you they'll get your book listed with Barnes & Noble etc, but what they mean is, it will be listed in their electronic catalogue and available online. It won't be on the shelves in any Barnes & Noble store, or any other bookshop anywhere in the world.
While you can sell your book through Amazon and other online stores, many booklovers still buy their books in bookstores, so you're missing out on a huge market by not having it available there.
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