Traditional vs Self Publishing: The One Thing You Need to Know

Self Publishing vs traditional publishing
The publishing industry’s a little different than what it used to be.

The world is changing.

50 years ago, the name of the game was traditional publishing. You got an agent and then sent out your manuscript to as many people as you could.

But now, with the rise of self publishing, things are different. Instead of trying to find a publisher, which can take years and hundreds of rejections, you can literally do it yourself. Specifically, Amazon’s direct publishing system is a way for authors to get their work out there without the usual obstacles found in traditional publishing (money, loss of control, difficulty in finding a publisher, etc).

No only this, but there are some major success stories out there when it comes to self publishing. Mark Dawson and Andy Weir being two.

However, there are also a lot of failures out there too. A lot. 

Creating a successful book is just as difficult as it’s always been. And here’s why:

It all depends on following.

It’s the reason that authors can’t find success regardless of what method they’re trying for. Big name publishers reject would-be authors because they are just that, would-be. They don’t have a following.

And the same goes for self publishing. If people don’t know who you are, they’re not going to read your book, simple as that.

There are some really bad books out there that have been very successful. The reason why? Following. Think of it like this: Following = success.

But you don’t have a following. What are you supposed to do?

The good news on all this is that it is easier than ever to gain a following. Because of the internet, social media, and even self publishing itself, it is not nearly as hard to gain followers as it used to be. Here are a few things you can do to start developing a following…

1. Blog 

Blog posts are gold when it comes to gaining a following. Google will crawl those pages forever, so they are essentially permanent resources.

2. Social Media

Use your social media platforms (facebook, twitter, instagram) to drive people to your website, where you will ask them to follow you. Your email list is huge when it comes to following, because those are the people who are actually going to buy your book.

3. Self-publishing

Yes, self publishing itself can be used as a means to gain a following. How? It might sound crazy, but try putting some of your stuff out there for free. No one can turn down free, and it gets people interested. If they like you, they’ll start reading you. Then you start selling it, and hopefully, they’ll be coming back for more. That’s exactly what Mark Dawson did with his book.

4. Write short stories

This is where I’m really trying to start getting my name out there. There are hundreds of online and print magazines that will buy short stories. (Duotrope and Ralan are great websites to find them all). Not only this, but there are literally thousands of people who are reading those magazines. Talk about a great way to get your name out there! Not only this, but it allows you to continue honing your craft.

Finally, keep this in mind. No book is created by a single person. You have people read and critique what you write, you have editors, publishers. In fact, John Green believes that self publishing is inferior. I can’t go so far as to say that, but you should keep in mind that while the actual writing i s a solitary act, the rest is collaborative.

So remember: gain the following, and publishers will come calling.