Which Way To Publishing – Self-Publishing vs Traditional Methods
Which Way To Publishing
Self-Publishing vs Traditional Methods
by Julie Butcher-Fedynich
There are so many roads you can travel in publishing today that the average writer doesn’t know which direction to go. Some of the roads look difficult. There are snakes and twisty paths that wind inside dark forests and tunnels and stuff. All sorts of unknowns make them shiver and shake.
Most go for the fast route—a giant slippy slide. It’s the easiest way. There are a lot of fun and helpful people in line for the slide so you’re in great company. There is laughter, and play and all of the good things. It doesn’t cost much, and no one makes you to write irritating query letters, or forces you edit until your eyes bleed. You can bang out a first draft and throw it up on the internet. Bam! You’re done. There are no stop or yield signs on a slide. Your friends cheer go, go, go! Why not? Swooshing along is fun.
The only problem with slides is that they go down. The ride is short and it ends at the bottom. There you’ll find the slide critics. Your style is wrong, your form is terrible and you looked funny on the entire ride. (They have pictures.)The camaraderie of the wait is gone. You’re broke, and the new friends you made in line are busy talking to a different rider.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the slide. Some people only want to feel the air as it rushes past their face. Maybe they need to make sure that special memories are documented or that the stories their grandfather told them are passed on. But you see, these people don’t think that the slide is an elevator. Even if all of the fun people tell them it is an elevator, they can see with their eyes that this is a slide.
Other writers skip the slide and jump on the roundabout. The pavement is smooth. There aren’t cliffs to fall from. Maybe they’ve met the guys at the slide and weren’t impressed. These writers write the first draft, get half-way through and start editing. They edit and piddle around with shapes and sounds. Around and around they go—forever. The first draft is never finished. Heck, the first chapter changes shape more than a werewolf.
Maybe they have kids, or dogs, or really like television. They all have reasons they never leave the circle. And this is okay, too. People like to have a dream. They all want to think that if they only made the effort, they could change the shape of their world. The circle is their hobby. Some of these guys go to conferences, and to conventions. They like to learn and keep their minds lively. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hobby writing. But if you take advice from them, you might end up going in circles yourself.
Be smart about your choices. Ask directions. Listen to the other travelers and if they tell you the right fork ends in a giant pit—for goodness sake do not take the stupid right fork! (Just in case you’re wondering, if I tell someone not to go there and they do, I will not throw them a rope, because they are too stupid to live.) There is internet on the road guys. You can google stuff. You can ask questions.
Writing isn’t a race, and it isn’t a freaking journey. It is a test of your endurance. Some people will get there faster than you will. Others won’t get there at all because they like to tease dragons. (You totally know who I’m talking about.) There aren’t any jet packs or hover boards or magic escalators. There is only you and your stubborn, headstrong, wonderful self.
Many people tell you that their way is the only one to choose. They march around and wave hate signs in your face and try to make you choose self-publishing or traditional paths—one or the other, and never both. (Guys, we know that hybrid is the way to go nowadays. Right?)
There isn’t any fast track to publishing success. Whether you decide to self-publish, or to go the traditional route, the road is still all freaking uphill. You don’t write the first draft and then jump on the slide. You don’t never finish the first draft because it isn’t perfect yet. You struggle on—one foot in front of the other. Step by step, word by word, until you get higher and closer to the top. Be smart about your climb.
Don’t try and run up the mountain because there are cliffs and dragons and giant holes to fall into. Take your time and watch out for snakes, and snake-oil salesmen. Learn to endure the climb and pace yourself. Take breaks if you have to. Contrary to popular belief, no one will push you off of the road. You’re the only one who decides to stop climbing.
So just don’t quit.
Written By Julie Butcher-Fedynich
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A Memoir of the Craft