Hey everyone! I know this week’s post is going up on an odd day, but that’s because today I have the pleasure of hosting a guest post by Rachel Leitch! She’s already written a solid intro, so I’ll go ahead and turn it over to her without further ado.
Hello, adventurers! Today, I’m swapping posts with R. M. Archer. If you’ve followed her for a while, you know that she’s interested in independent “indie” publishing, which is truly a fascinating world. Luckily for you, she’s written a lovely guest post about why she chose indie publishing that you can catch over on my blog: https://racheljleitch.weebly.com.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m interested in traditional publishing. That’s what I’m here today to talk about—why I chose traditional publishing.
There are lots of pros and cons to traditional publishing. Many people’s decisions are influenced by one or more of these.
-Once you make it to the publishing stage, you have a bigger chance of your name getting out there. Don’t get me wrong—there’s still the same amount of work involved, but it’s a different kind of work. With traditional publishing, you’re putting the work into making sure your book can be the best it can be, while others handle copyediting, cover design, marketing, etc. In indie publishing, you have to do that all yourself (or hire someone really reliable out of your own pocket).
-You are generally guaranteed to have professional people working on your project, whether that be editors, marketers, or cover designers.
-Instead of having to build your readership from the ground up and get your books into stores, etc., you will have an audience already built in at that publishing house. You generally will have the chance to reach a wider audience.
-You’re less in control of your project. Final decisions are given to you as much as possible, but sometimes it’ll be up to marketers and editors instead.
-It’s harder to break in. You usually have to get an agent, and then that agent has to get a publisher on board.
-You really have to have something that will sell or that people believe in. Niche market type books won’t go well here. (Please don’t hear me saying indie published books are all niche market books! Some amazing books, including some of my favorites, are indie published and are very widely read.)
-You need a lot of platform. Your blog numbers, email newsletter, and social media stats are going to be important. Publishing houses have to make money, so even if they love a book, they’ll have to pass if they can’t sell it.
So I’ve established that traditional publishing is a hard world to break into. (So is indie publishing, but for different reasons.) Why would I purposely choose this road? Because I want to go big or go home? Because I want to be rich and famous?
I’m going to lay out two reasons.
One: It’s a challenge.
By choosing traditional publishing, I’m forcing myself to truly craft something brilliant.
Okay. Not every traditional published book is brilliant. And many indie published book are just as brilliant as well. Indie publishers are incredibly disciplined and know themselves well—to be able to tell for themselves when a book is ready.
I want to develop those disciplines as well. For some people, indie publishing is the best way to do that. For me, the challenge of creating something that will win over an agent and a pub board helps me develop that grit.
Two: And here’s the most important one.
I feel called to it.
Early on in my writing journey, when I had completed my first novel, someone I trusted told me they believed my novel would find a niche market and that was where it would stay.
I was like, “Niche market. Great.”
Niche markets are great, you know.
But I didn’t like the idea that I couldn’t do any better than that. That I wasn’t capable of creating something that could be traditionally published and appeal to a broader audience.
When I got that hurtful comment, my momma told me that God would take my book wherever He wanted it to go.
Since then, I have grown SO much. I really can’t believe how much I and my stories have grown. As I’ve grown as a person and experienced real life and broken out of some of the isolation of my teen years, I discovered a rich, vibrant world with so many sides and facets to be represented.
My mission has also grown. The same person repeatedly emphasized that I should indie publish with an extremely conservative publisher.
I didn’t feel called to it. I never have. When I thought about it, I actually felt anxious, like I was missing where I need to be. Like I’d driven for hours and gotten to the wrong place.
My heart is to find other young adults who are hurting deeply and be the story that reminds them there is light in the darkest night. Like the stories and people that were there for me. That still are.
Those people are not likely to look to an extremely conservative publisher.
I feel like I’m meant to reach a broader audience—stretch across church denominations, cultural lines, and maybe even the line of Christianity all together. To bring people of all kinds to the light.Traditional publishing looks to be the best way to get to both those audiences.
I feel like I’m meant to write quality stories. To not just settle with whatever I churn out (which I personally may be tempted to if I indie published). To not just skimp by with faulty mechanics or a blah plot.
In that light, traditional publishing seems to be the best option for me with the mission God has placed in my heart.
So if you came to this post wondering whether traditional publishing is for you, I hope I’ve been able to lay out some of the pros and cons. And I hope no matter who you are, that my journey can encourage you maybe a little bit in your own journey.
Whether you traditionally publish or indie publish, it boils down to what you feel God has called you to do. He calls each of us to different things and He places us exactly where we and our stories need to go. Trust that.
Thank you, Rachel, for your insight into traditional publishing!
Readers, don’t forget to check out my post on Rachel’s blog to see the “other side”—indie publishing. (And go ahead and check out some of Rachel’s other work, while you’re there!) But I’m curious: Are you interested in indie publishing or traditional publishing, or are you still deciding? Or do you want to go hybrid and do both? Share your thoughts in the comments!