Is Self-Publishing a Good Springboard to Traditional Pub?

Writer Unboxed

Over at Writer Unboxed, I’ve contributed a post to help authors understand how and when they can transition to traditional publishing from self-publishing. Here’s a brief snippet:

Back in ye olden days of self-publishing (before e-books), the message to authors was simple: Don’t self-publish a book unless you intend to definitively say “no” to traditional publishing for that project. Yes, there was a stigma, and in some ways, it helped authors avoid a mistake or bad investment.

Today, with the overselling of self-publishing, too many authors either:

  1. Decide they won’t even try to traditionally publish, even if they have a viable commercial project, or
  2. Assume it’s best to self-publish first, and get an agent or publisher later.

The assumption of #2 is one of the worst in the community right now. As far as #1, some authors end up self-publishing for the instant gratification (we have a serious epidemic of impatience), or to avoid what’s increasingly seen as a long, exhausting, and dumb process of finding an agent or securing book contract (which, of course, offers less profit than self-publishing).

I support entrepreneurial authorship, and authors taking responsibility for their own career success. But I would like to see more authors intelligently and strategically use self-publishing as part of well thought out career goals, rather than as a steppingstone to traditional publishing.

Read my full post: How to Secure a Traditional Book Deal By Self-Publishing.

Posted in Publishing Industry, Self-Publishing.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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