Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing

25 Reasons You Haven't Yet Been Published

Dandylion Publishing—a fair approach to self-publishing.

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
This provocative article in the Guardian thrashes out the reasons not to self-publish, while admitting that making a living as a traditionally published author is all but impossible.

For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way


Ros Barber makes some valid points, especially when she highlights how much time a writer needs to devote to marketing if they self-publish. It's what put me off uploading ebooks, when I realised that I'd need to spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and writing entries for my blog than I did on creating my new novel. Hence, I tried querying literary agents in the hope that if I got a publishing deal the book company would promote me.

It's worth clicking on the link to Ros Barber's blog, where she lays out how much she's earned from her novels.

Authors and the Truth About Money - Ros Barber
Fantastic insight and honest experience.

Yeah - what to do from here after reading that? On the one hand you have the still-frowned upon route i.e self-publishing to the not so glamorous traditional publishing. Neither seems appealing after reading that. Seriously why do we do it?!
Yes, the tricky question, and a realistic outcome.... :confused:
This is exactly why I languish in obscurity rather than self-publish my work.

I've gotten a lot of feedback on my work-in-progress, and it has all been,
"this is really good, and could be great, but it needs some work."

Yes, well, I chose to give self-publishing a go with the so-so novel, not the good one because I figured, what the hell? It's as good as any other self-published novel...which is to say it needs work. No illusions there! But I do think it's the way to go for me on the educational materials teachers have been clamouring for since I stopped running the Bugmobile--I used to give those away for free to teacher who'd booked a Bugmobile programme. It's not something I expect to make lots of money on, but I have a personal mission to improve people's attitudes toward insects, so making those materials available is important to me--self-pub is perfect for that.
My motivations for writing my WIP/MS, in order of importance.

1. I want to finish something I have been bragging about for over 10 years.
2. It's a good story.
3. I want my loved ones to give me a 'high five'.
4. I want to be able to turn around to the many detractors I have and say 'yep, I wrote a novel, its 80K long, when you have your novel written let's have this conversation again'
n. Wouldn't it be great if I could be the next JK Rowling?

I suppose the point I am making is that even though deep down I want 'n' to be achieved. I have to ensure I get enough satisfaction from 1 to n-1 to keep going. It's a tournament. In market theory, tornaments are markets where there are very little entry costs (time,putting your ideas on paper) and very few winners (ratio of writers : to successful writers.)

So, if your only measure of success is monetary worth, the odds are you are going to be dis-appointed.

I despair on the level of work you have to put into your 'online presence'. It's not real life? there are so many more interesting things you could be doing?
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25 Reasons You Haven't Yet Been Published

Dandylion Publishing—a fair approach to self-publishing.