|Sooooo many options! Hmmmm...|
Traditional Publishing: The Literary Agent
- Most publishers will not accept manuscripts without an agent. Agents filter submissions and reduce the workload for publishers.
- Agents have access to editors of large and small publishing houses and are thus better able to put the right story and writer with the right editor.
- Agents know what editors want, and the writer's manuscripts receives priority.
- Agents handle contracts and negotiations so writers can focus on writing.
- Agents help writers polish and lead proposals in the right direction to help editors sell them to superiors.
- A good relationship with a literary agent provides an outlet to help generate ideas for the next book concept before time is invested in a concept that needs tweaking or eliminating.
- Experienced agents know and understand the publishing industry and can get the right contract for a writer.
- Experience agents understand editor's needs, know what's current and what's not, and are on top of corporate policies.
- Lack of autonomy in terms of handling negotiations and selling of work
- Sharing the profits of books sold; Most agents earn 15% of author royalties.
- The trap of new agents out for him/herself and not the author; new agents have little to no previous contacts with publishing industry.
- Scammers: agents or impostors who make money off the writer by charging reading fees; not members of AAR; other hidden fees: manuscript critique, editing services, additional services, connecting clients to fee charging publishers, etc
- Writers must do careful, extensive research on agents to ensure they find the right agent.
- Query letters (enough said)
- And the waiting and rejection letters
- Author Michelle Buckman: "Getting a bad agent is worse than no agent, but a good agent is precious to your career."
- Ask agents smart questions: Material they represent, length of contracts, fees charged, prior representations, willing to represent more than one book, willing to nurture careers, etc.
- Meet agents at writers' conferences because connections can be established and an agent might express interest in work unlike in cold contacting.
- Agents are interested in writers who are familiar with the publishing industry and have been in the field for a time. Get informed.
Non-Traditional: Self-Publishing (Print)
- Autonomy: control price and cover; control changes, decisions, etc
- Autonomy over the creative process
- Self-publishing writer can receive 40-60% of selling price as opposed to author in traditional route who receives 10% of selling price.
- Instant publication
- Writer controls marketing details of book.
- “The accomplishment of building something from the ground up.” – Sally McGraw
- No free professional editors, people to handle layouts or format book, cover art, printing, sales people, etc: All this must be done alone or seek help, which costs money.
- Most likely to sell fewer copies than if with a traditional publisher who prints and distributes books
- Writer must figure out how to negotiate payment and ensure contract matches typical publishing contracts (writer to editor without agent).
- Writer is responsible for promotional costs.
- Print route is risky in the midst of popularity surrounding e-books and digital publishing.
- Money is invested before received and there is no guarantee a return.
- Writer must find a distributor because most book sellers will not buy directly from an author.
- Building brand and garnering audience might take some time.
- Very stressful and time consuming
- Create meaningful connections with other writers; promote self through bloggers in terms of reviews, giveaways, and promotional incentives.
- Work with a small press that specializes to the book's genre.
- Organize or host local events to promote self and bolster sales.
- Writer controls the rights of his or her work; can choose the cover, the editor, etc.
- Writer controls pricing and examines novel sales as they're happening, which offers insight to markets tactics that work and don't.
- There's no need for a middle-person or company who takes portion of proceeds.
- Speedier process as opposed to the one or two years wait that results in a hunt for an agent and editor and wait-time for book printing and availability in bookstores.
- Potential for increased readership
- Market for E-Books is growing.
- Potential to make a small fortune
- Easier to produce subsidiary content for your work
- E-Books can never go out of print so opens up new opportunities for new readers.
- Investing money before making money: paying for custom cover art, professional editor, formatting, etc
- Lack of standard formats available for readers using a variety of systems; can lead to reader confusion
- Writer must take sole responsibility of marketing side; invest time in learning marketing strategies.
- Sales have ups and down. Unpredictability
- Quality must be high to compete with other E-Books.
- Amazon's algorithms for suggesting author's works to readers does not always work to the favor of the author.
- Aggressively, but intelligently market book online. Take time learning about marketing strategies through social media.
- Invest time in building an audience and targeting readers.
What do you think? Think something I should add something or remove anything? Let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading,
List of Sources:
- Jennifer Reed: How To Decide If You Need a Literary Agent. And How to Find a Literary Agent (http://bit.ly/QU5Yjv)
- Ali: Book Writing and Publishing FAQ – Do I Need a Literary Agent? The Pros and Cons of Having Literary Agent Represent You to Publishers (http://bit.ly/cpEcoX)
- Christine Rose: Literary Agents (http://bit.ly/q94Vze)
- SFWA: Literary Agents (http://bit.ly/i7VoX)
- Brian Kelms, Writers’ Digest (http://bit.ly/Mysx5)
- Taylor Davies: Blog to Book: The Pros & Cons of Self Publishing (http://bit.ly/QjNTH0)
- Audry Owen: Is Self-Publishing for You (http://bit.ly/EcuFh)
- Naysan Naraqi: The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing (http://bit.ly/PpWWXu)
- Writer’s Nook Club: Creating And Selling E-Books: The Pros & Cons For Creating Electronic Books (http://bit.ly/TTl4Wi)
- Lindsay B: The Pros and Cons of E-Publishing your Book as an E-Book (http://bit.ly/YXEr5i)
- Libby Fischer Hellman: To E or not To E: Update (http://bit.ly/rpjo2G)