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Old 07-27-2012, 07:51 AM   #14
MichaelSullivan
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Fairfax, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Hi Michael,

Given your diverse experience, what sort of advantages do you see for new authors in traditional publishing paths (small press or big-six) over self-publishing?
I think the biggest problem (especially for new authors) is that it is difficult to get a truly objective opinion on your work. Of course everyone thinks that they have written something great, but there are some self-published works out there (quite a few actually) that really aren't "ready for primetime." Having professionals that know the market make the decisions really help with that.

The other aspect is that the publishers provide developmental editing (the editing that goes beyond copy edits or proofing), which concerns itself with plot, pacing, characters, and the like. This type of editing is expensive and nearly impossible to find someone capable to do it if you are self-published. It is easy to find copy editors, but for that "bigger picture" person, you really can't "buy" it on your own. Now some authors don't need this type of editing, and those people are better candidates for self-publishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I ask this particularly from my own perspective (as a new author of a contemporary fantasy novel, first of a series) still undecided about how I want to publish it. From my participation here (and related reading), I think I have a reasonable feel for the ups and downs of self-publishing. What is much less clear to me is whether the perceived advantages of traditional publishing really exist.
Traditional publishing does offer many advantages: larger distribution, advance payments, bookstore presence. These aspects generally provide access to a larger audience and a bit of "credibility" that can really help with those people who shy away from self-publishing. That being said, when self-publishing you don't HAVE to sell to nearly as many people to earn at a similar level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
For example: I know that I'm not good at marketing, my hope would be that a traditional publisher would help get me past that (I understand that they still expect some effort from the author). Also, there was a time when traditional publishers used to take an author under their wing, so to speak, and assist them with a lot of back of forth improving their work, but I get the impression this doesn't happen any more; that it is now up to the author to get it right for themselves.
My publisher actually did a lot in regards to marketing my books, more than I expected based on the horror stories I've heard. But...I'm a firm believer that the author's responsibility for finding and building an audience is the same in both traditional and self-publishing routes. Keep in mind that the traditional publisher has a marketing department that is juggling multiple authors and only you are 100% focused on our works. For the most part you can think of the "marketing" that will be done by the publisher is getting books into stores (where may readers "discover" by browsing shelves) and getting advanced reading copies to blogger who might review the work and get you some attention.

The "take under their wing" aspect that you speak of is what I was saying above about helping with developmental editing. A large publisher will do this. A small publisher may only do copy editing...it varies from publisher to publisher.
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