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Which to Choose: Big Name Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?

Image from Pixabay


Image from Pixabay.

“Which to Choose: Big Name Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?” by Joan Y. Edwards

Know your options. Study the resources. Ask questions of others in your field. Read the copyright pages of your favorite books to find out who published them.

I can’t tell you which choice is best for you. I wrote, illustrated and self-published Flip Flap Floodle. Instead of a big named publisher, I was lucky enough to have a small reputable publishing company – 4RV Publishing – publish  Joan’s Elder Care Guide. You may find one, too.

Most of the big named publishers stipulate that you must have an agent to submit your work. Some of the big publishers and other not as big, but still dependable and reputable publishers are out there, too. Again, you have to do your research. Choose one that’s right for you and you’re right for them. In the resources, I put a list of publishers and agents who accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Though I can’t tell you which is best for you, I did research to see what other professionals advise. No matter which method you choose, go through the steps outlined in Pub Sub for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. However,  if you’re self-publishing you’d be choosing a company to self-publish rather than selecting a big name publisher. Study three different self-publishing companies to decide which one is the best for this particular book.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Everyone is welcome to an opinon, right? Since that’s true, here are my opinions.

Joan’s Top Reasons for Getting a Big Named Traditional Publisher:

  1. They have many customers who are familiar with them and large marketing budgets.
  2. They can afford to pay the book returns for bookstores.
  3. They have access (money) to great cover and inside illustrators.
  4. They have access (money) to pay for good editors.
  5. It may be easier for them to get a book reviewed.

Reasons for Self-Publishing

  1. You’ve tried for at least 5-10 years to get something published without success or you don’t want to wait 3-5 years to get your book launched.
  2. You’ve had your complete book, pitch, query letter, and trailer critiqued and edited by a professional.
  3. You’ve investigated cost, what you get for your money, marketing with different venues for self-publishing. (Read Resource Number #2 and #16)
  4. You have a book launch team – group of at least 25-100 people online and in person who will review your book and help you launch and market it –  to help you spread the word.

But don’t just take my word for it, read at least five of the following articles and five others on your own search.

  1. Brenda Rollins. “The POD Quandary: How to Decide if Print-on-Demand Publishing is Right for You:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/POD.shtml
  2. First Time Publishers. “Top 10 Self-Publishing Companies.” http://www.firsttimepublishers.com/
  3. Helen Sedwick “Seven Questions to Ask before Choosing a Self-Publishing Company https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2014/06/7-questions-to-ask-before-choosing-a-self-publishing-company/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/22-literary-agents-who-are-looking-for-you/
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “40 Publishers Who Accepted Unsolicited Manuscripts:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/40-publishers-who-accept-unsolicited-manuscripts/
  6. Moira Allen. “Subsidy Publishing vs. Self-Publishing: What’s the Difference?” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/subsidy.shtml
  7. Moira Allen. “To POD or Not to POD: Some Pros and Cons:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/PODstats.shtml
  8. Moira Allen. “The Price of Vanity:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/vanity.shtml
  9. NY Book Editors.”Traditional or Self-Publish: What’s Best for You?” https://nybookeditors.com/2015/11/traditional-or-self-publish-whats-best-for-you/
  10. Page Two Strategies. “Twelve Questions to Ask Before Working with a Publishing Services Company:” http://www.pagetwostrategies.com/twelve-questions-to-ask-before-working-with-a-publishing-services-company/
  11. POD Publioshing. “Ten Questions You Should Ask Your Publisher:” http://www.podpublishing.org/TenQuestions.pdf
  12. Ray Robinson. “Choosing a Self-Publishing Company:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/dogear.shtml
  13. Sarra Cannon. “Frequently Asked Questions about Self-Publishing: ” http://sarracannon.com/indie-writer-resources/self-pub-guides/frequently-asked-questions-about-self-publishing/
  14. Stephanie Chandleer. “Eight Questions to Ask When Choosing a Custom Publishing Service to Help You Self-Publish Your Books:” http://authoritypublishing.com/book-publishing/8-questions-to-ask-when-choosing-a-custom-publishing-service-to-help-you-self-publish-your-book/
  15. Sue Fagalde Lick. “Ten Questions to Ask Before You Sign that Print-on-Demand Contract:” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/lick.shtml
  16. Top Ten Reviews. “Best Online Book Publishing Companies:” http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/home/best-online-book-publishing-companies/


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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An Agent wants to see my work

I did my Pub Sub 3rd Fri early for May. I actually had a live pitch session at the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am very excited that Terrie Wolf, an agent from AKA Literary Agency met with me. She wants to see my work. Hip Hip Hooray! I danced around all day Saturday and Sunday at the Conference. I would have danced on the plane home but there wasn’t enough room in the aisles for that.

I sent her “Larry, the Terrifying Turkey.” I am reformatting my “Joan’s Elder Care Guide” to send her. I am also reformatting “Follow Your Immigrant Heart” to send her to match her specifications.

She said she wouldn’t mind seeing all of my writing. Isn’t that just awesome? I am so thankful to God that I was able to meet with her.

Thank you for your encouragement. You have helped get me this far. With your help and God’s help, I’ll make it to being a published writer again. I wrote as work for hire for “Growing with the Gospel” published by Liturgical Publications from 2005-2009. I also was an educational consultant for them. Using my advice they revamped the publication instead of canning it. They ended up selling it as a CDs for all three liturgical years, Cycle A, Cycle B, and Cycle C.

I self-published “Flip Flap Floodle” in 2004. I’ve sold 250 copies of it. The price of self-published books at that time limited the number of sales. Because Amazon bought BookSurge and then dropped BookSurge and switched to Createspace in 2009 as their print on demand publishing company, I’ve been able to drop the price of my paperback book from $16.99 to a lower price of $10.00. Hurray for Createspace for allowing me to do that. It has a laminated cover which makes the paperback last longer.

The hardback is laminated, too. Right now, Createspace is not formatting new hardbacks. However, I can order hardback copies of Flip Flap Floodle. I’d like to sell the ones I have before ordering the new ones. Although the new hardbacks will be cheaper than the other ones. The hardbacks I have are $20.99. The newer price will be cheaper. Not sure what it will be yet. They haven’t allowed me to change the price of the hardback, yet.

Here is a link to order “Flip Flap Floodle” from Amazon.

If you email me at the address listed near the top of the left-hand column and let me know you ordered my book from Amazon and your snail mail address and who you want it autographed for, I’ll send you an autographed label to put inside the book. If you order a certain amount of books, you get free shipping from Amazon.

My store is down right now. I tried to fix something and messed it up. It’ll be back up before long, but thought you might be happier getting free shipping from Amazon. It would be great if someone would write a review on Amazon for Flip Flap Floodle.

How could I reward people for doing this for me?
Any ideas from you would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for being excited for me. May everything you write bring you a step closer to a paid publication!
May God bless you one and all,

Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

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