You’ve written your novel. Should you take a gamble and send it to a traditional publisher or agent? Here are the best reasons to thumb your nose at the world of traditional publication and strike out on your own.
You’re a rebel.
You don’t like the idea of a few jaded editors deciding whether your novel will ever be seen by the reading world at large. You’re against tradition and the establishment. You don’t mind the challenge of blazing your own trail; in fact, you welcome it and the freedom it brings.
The odds are better.
The odds of getting published through a “legitimate,” traditional publishing house are heavily against you, even if you’ve written a masterpiece. It’s just not true that “if it’s good, it will find a publisher.” This implies that if you’re not traditionally published, your writing isn’t worthy of publication. But there are a lot of other factors involved in the traditional route to publication. The quality of your writing is only one in a host of factors. You could be the greatest writer since Shakespeare and still not manage to land a deal with a publisher.
But if you self-publish, the odds against you are non-existent. It’s 100% certain that you will be published.
The waiting time in traditional publishing.
You don’t like waiting months and months to hear from a publishing house regarding your manuscript, and then, if they buy your manuscript (long shot), waiting another one or two years before your novel hits the bookshelves.
The publishing industry is going through a major upheaval right now due to the growing spread of e-books, which are being embraced by the reading world. E-books are breaking the iron-fisted grip that the major publishing houses have had on the bookselling market, and the time has never been better for a rebel to make a go of self-publishing. The outlets for the self-publisher are more numerous than ever; the opportunities and ease of making a sale are increasing every day. And perhaps best of all, as the grips of the major publishing houses are loosened, the stigma of publishing your own fiction has all but vanished. The age of the author acting as his/her own publishing house is upon us.
You don’t want to write a massive 300,000-word novel. You’d rather pen shorter books.
It seems to me that the average length of the novel has been gradually increasing over the last few decades. I mainly read science fiction, and I’ve noticed that the novels published in the sixties and seventies were 150-200 pages in length. Nowadays, anything under 300 pages is a rarity. I don’t like reading long, “epic” novels, and I sure don’t want to write them. So if you, like me, prefer to write novels of 40,000-60,000 words, then the odds against your finding traditional publication are even greater. But when you self-publish, the only thing dictating the length is the story itself, not some editor looking for the next 600-page epic.
Whatever the reason driving you to consider self-publication, the golden age of the self-publisher is upon us. Why not join the revolution?