This is a question I head surprisingly often, especially from new authors. I always tell people that both are valid ways, and advise them to pursue a traditional publishing contract first, if that’s what they want. However, they should not stop at that. Instead, they should keep their options open, should they fail to get a contract.
Secretly, I know that 99% of them will end up Indie. Not because their books are no good, but because of a simple truth: what publisher will prefer an unknown author who’s only just starting out to a midlister Indie with thousands of fans and an established platform?
So, my advice would be to try both and see what works for you. But don’t waste years waiting for an agent or a publisher to come back to you. It’s just not worth it anymore. Besides, you have better chances at being picked by an agent or a publisher if you already have an established presence.
In Ursula K. Le Guin’s words, “the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.” Publishers don’t see it this way, though. In fact, the other day I was reading this in an interview by the founder of Blurb (a self-publishing service):
“Traditional publishing is becoming a hits’ business like Hollywood. They want to bank on box office, so if you’re a mid-list author, God help you if your last book didn’t sell a bunch, because you’re not going to get a deal.
“If you’ve never published before and are handsome or beautiful and 21 and have a big social network, they might take a flyer on you because your book could be the next Hunger Games.
“And if you’re a bestselling author, they’ll take you, too, because you’re the Brad Pitt of the publishing industry and people will just buy your book because it’s by you. But for everyone in the middle, good luck.
“That’s a huge population of people coming to Blurb now because they’ve had it up to here. They know they’re not going to get any marketing. There are no more advances so they’re not even making any money on the front end and they figure they’re going to have to do all the marketing anyway.”
I was going to expand on that, then I came across a great post by M. C. A. Hogarth, who explains it better than I possibly could, in her own inimitable style. I’m copying from her post titled, “The Uncomfortable Trail-Blazer“:
“Say you are a Traditional Genre Publisher with the budget to publish 100 books a year. (This is ridiculously high, but stay with me here). Of those 100, 50 are coming from midlist authors you’ve bought before and are incrementing series, or serving existing fans… so that’s half your line-up done already. Let’s say 5 are bestselling authors you’ve got in pocket to help pay your expenses for all the books this year that won’t earn back the money you bought them for.
That leaves you 45 slots to fill.
You get 10,000 manuscripts.
Let’s be harsh and say that of those 10,000, only 10% are worth publishing. That’s 1000 books, and you only have 45 slots. How on earth do you choose? Out of self-preservation, you decide only to receive manuscripts from agents, figuring they’ll comb through the top 10%. They do, and they present you with 100. You still only have 45 slots. Now how do you choose?
Obviously, you flip through them and choose the ones you like. Maybe you’re sick of vampires, so the brilliant vampire manuscript doesn’t do anything for you. Out it goes. You have a vague dislike of first person, and none of the first person manuscripts really scintillate enough to push past that vague dislike, so they’re out too. This book is superb, but it’s just so hard to describe you have no idea how you’re going to sell it to your boss, so you don’t.
At the end of the day, there were 1000 books worth publishing, and 45 got through the door. And there was nothing the remaining 955 authors could have done to better their chances. “Write a better book” is false advice, because many better books still failed. “Write a more marketable book” is better advice, but it requires you to understand the market, be willing to write to it, and get it to someone before the trends change… and the book still might fail.
And that leaves us at the very unpalatable truth about publishing, which is that in the absence of a way to guarantee that we’re going to win the lottery, we tell ourselves it’s possible. But there’s no way to guarantee a lottery win. None. People who tell you that you have a viable choice between traditional publishing and indie publishing are assuming that you can win the traditional game if you try hard enough, and if you fail, then it’s your fault. They’re assuming you always have the choice at all, when sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the only path to your readers is the path you have to hack out of the jungle yourself… and if you think I’m a jungle-hacking kind of girl at heart, you have no idea how much I long for a cup of hot chocolate, a civilized sofa with an afghan, and someone else to Take Care Of All Those Details For Me.
But I am not a princess willing to wait for rescue. If Prince Charming decides I’m not worth saving because my aliens are too strange and my gender presentation is too flip-floppy and I dress oddly and he isn’t sure he could sell our marriage to his parents, I’m not going to stay in the tower and cry about it. I’ll cut my own hair off for a rope and save myself.
All the things I’ve learned to do since embarking on my unplanned and uncomfortable journey as an indie, I’ve learned because I had to. Because the choice was either to learn or to give up and let my stories languish. And the only thing stronger than my desire for comfort, legitimacy, and Doing Things Properly is my anguish over having to sit forever on stories that people have been asking me to give them for fourteen years.
Believe me when I say that if I can do it, anyone can. I’m not special. The only things I’ve got going for me are my work ethic and the art. But if you’ve got that… well. These days, you can go pretty far.”
Her point was hammered home, in my mind, when I read an interview by Jeremy Lazzlo, author of several best-selling zombie books:
“Back in 2012, after speaking to literary agents and conducting research on the publishing industry, Laszlo submitted some of his manuscripts to several large book publishers. And then one day soon after, he received a reply in his email inbox.
“It was supposed to be an interoffice email from the publishing house I had submitted to,” Laszlo told me in a phone interview. “And it was a couple of their interns joking back and forth. One of them said, ‘I just batch-rejected 600 authors.’ But they accidentally hit reply all and all the authors were included. They were joking about how they weren’t even reading any of the submissions. At that point, I was like, ‘You know what, I’m not going to bother with that anymore.’…
What struck me most about [Indie authors’] success was that it was achieved so far outside of the traditional publishing apparatus that the New York publishers don’t even seem to know they exist. Adair’s books regularly make it to the top 100 bestsellers list on Amazon—at one point he made it into the top 10 bestselling horror writers, his name right next to Stephen King and Dean Koontz—and he told me that he’s never been approached by a publisher or literary agent. ”
So, if you’ve been asking yourself this question or holding back because you don’t know which is the best way forward, here is my wish for this year:
Whichever road you take, may it lead you to happiness – and a published book! 🙂
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out MCA Hogarth’s website and her awesome art!
Read my children’s book, Runaway Smile, online for free!
Never understood why so many authors want to be published traditionally. Lots of times, the accepted books are changed to the core and authors still have to do most of the marketing themselves. There is no security blanket, not really. And if an author insists so much on getting published traditionally, that means he has very little confidence in himself to try on his own.
The ”better quality” thing is just a myth. There are lots of traditionally published books that are horrible…and lots of self published books that are quite good. When getting a manuscript, agents rarely read more than the first page…so they don’t really have a good idea of what the book is all about. They judge based on that first page and on what they think will sell more.
These are all excellent points. Yet, I direct you to https://nicholasrossis.me/2015/03/15/should-you-self-publish-or-go-traditional-infographic/
In the comments, we started an interesting discussion with Alex Hurst, who made these points in favor of traditional publishing:
“…okay, as a trad. published author, you still have to market and promote all by yourself. This isn’t entirely true. Yes, you have to get yourself out there, but as someone with a brand that is “verifying” them, so many more doors open that are either a) simply not available to the average self-publisher, or b) too expensive for the average self-publisher.
Just as an example, trad. publishers have the ability to send ARCs to trusted readers straight through the “pro” channels and into the hands of readers. When I was scrounging the web for book bloggers, compiling a list of contacts by hand (something the marketing department at a trade publisher would already have for each genre), I can’t tell you how many blogs I came across that said “Sorry, no self-published works.” I know why. But it was still disheartening. And then the highest profile book bloggers? They get their books through NetGalley, or other such services. Those programs are generally financially out of reach for self-published authors. (And when you have access to those services, reviewers come to YOU, not the other way around.)
Another thing that becoming a trade published author gives you is a “name”. Invitations to teach workshops, go to cons, etc, are all extra income that help trad. published authors beef up a salary that is obviously not always high enough to make “end’s meet”. Awards, also, and prizes are generally only open to traditionally published authors.”
Quite a sobering yet revealing article Nicholas. It’s a cut-throat business and only those who persist and persevere will achieve.
Perseverance is key to success. As for the cut-throat side of things, it’s good to remember that another author’s success is not your failure: there’s plenty of readers for everyone 🙂
That is a good point. Will try and remember that on days when sales are negligible!
Reblogged this on We are Holistic.
Reblogged this on isabel pietri and commented:
Thank you Nicholas Rossis for this insightful article. A must read for new authors as well as the not so new.
Reblogged this on A.R. Rivera Books and commented:
Have to reblog this post that I came upon over at the wonderful blog of one, Nicolas C. Rossis, because the title of this post is the question I have been quietly asking myself for the past few months, since the publisher that picked up my first novel shut down late last year.
Thank you so much for reblogging! I’m glad you found the post useful 🙂
Maybe I’ve gotten my WP posting problem fixed, so here’s my comment: Traditional publishers are fine if you are young and have 10-15 years to wait to capture somebody’s attention. If you’re in your seventies like I was, best to go indie, try to build a following, and go from there.
Yay, the WP posting problem is fixed. 🙂
That’s a very good point, thanks for bringing it up.
Another great post, Nicholas! 🙂 — Suzanne
Thank you so much! 🙂
Yet another awesome post Nicholas. TY for sharing it. No wonder your blog is RRBC’s #1. 🙂 But I’ve got to say I LOVED the cartoon and will be sharing it.
Talk to you soon,
Lol – thank you so much, Liz! 🙂
I’m a control freak. I lean towards self publishing or at least a very flexible small press. That’s me. Everyone is different. I asked myself what I wanted my writing to do? That helped me find my way.
That’s the best way of doing it! 🙂
I think the keys are to (A) do your homework (writing styles, researching what works, learning the how-to either way, reading too, etc.), (B) produce quality content that will attract an audience, and (C) aim for long-term success. These things tend to eventually produce results regardless of how the books were published, and tend not to depend on the latest marketing fashions.
Thanks for pointing that out. Writing trends and fashions are a bit of a pet hate of mine, as they change so fast. Unless you can produce one new book each month (in which case I’d have serious worries about quality) I find it ridiculous to depend on them for your writing.
I think these days it’s a matter of judgement. What is the market for the book? How will it sell? Who is best suited to publish, given those parameters? I’ve been a published author for over 30 years and all’s been via the traditional system. However, that’s changing; and for me, particularly, the e-publishing option offers possibilities for my older back-list that probably doesn’t have a lot of commercial appeal these days, but which it’s nice to see out there.
The problem with either method of publishing is the predictable one – discovery. And it’s getting harder with every passing week as more and more people switch to self-pubbing via the internet and the trad publishers shy away from anything but sure-fire best sellers.
Couldn’t have put it better myself. Within a year, the number of books being published daily has doubled, from some 3,000 to 6,500.
Using self-publishing to relaunch back-list titles is a great idea. The beauty of the virtual bookshelf is that it can hold millions of books without ever running out of space. All you need to do is market it properly, to solve the discovery problem.
If the choice is trying for trad over the long haul (and one wonders how long it can be), with your written works sitting unread in the metaphorical drawer, and publishing yourself — well it’s a no-brainer. Even if your marketing is poor or nonexistent. Even if you get few sales, few is better than none.
Personally, I couldn’t agree more. However, I remember someone on LinkedIn saying that, if they couldn’t get a publisher’s seal of approval, they’d rather not publish at all, because it means their work is not good enough.
I think that’s sad, but then writing is an art, and art is a slippery business. Publishing is an uncomfortable amalgam of art and business. No wonder it’s so hard to find absolutes.
For me, one of the biggest attractions about being published traditionally is to have them take over the marketing. But I keep hearing that is no longer true. If an author with a traditional publisher is still doing the lion’s share of the marketing, then it isn’t worth losing control of your book. Great post, Nicholas!
Thanks bro, glad you liked it 🙂
Authors also complain about poor editing services etc. However, it does depend on the publisher. It’s unfair to lump everyone together. I have a lot of sympathy for publishers struggling to make it in a tough market, but none for those who as a result treat their authors as commodities or – worse – prisoners.
This is great, down-to-earth advice. When we begin to write we all hope that our book will be ‘the one’ that catches the attention of agents and publishers; that somehow, even though it’s our first attempt, we have somehow managed to cut through the learning experience with our raw talent and genius creative imagination. Some of us – the fortunate and determined few – may make it there after a few false starts, so long as we retain the humility to keep on learning, listening to advice, and being honest with ourselves and our readers.
Thanks Jools, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You are right in both your description of the hidden hope in the back of our heads and the means to achieve our dream.
Reblogged this on Next stop: The End. and commented:
This outlines aptly the difficultly the traditional publishing holds. All that’s it’s missing is notes on how good books get rejected because they are simply not considered marketable enough. The advice is worth serious consideration.
Reblogged this on Leona's Blog of Shadows.
I think the Indie route is more accessible, and am going to take the route myself eventually. I just wish they would make a law that says if an Editor has not gone over it, it cannot be published. There seem to be way too many offerings out there written so terribly that really need to be scrapped. People think they can put 50,000 words or more, get a couple of friends to look at it, and pub on Amazon to make some easy money. What really sucks is they do sell those poor offerings.
Lol – I must have been very lucky in my choices, as I’ve only come across the one really poorly edited Indie book in the last year.
Reblogged this on Memoir Notes.
I love the comic. But yeah, everyone here has said it. Traditional publishing chooses you, so do you choose to attempt that route or do you choose to move forward on your own. That’s the choice I suppose.
I’ll answer that question in full on Monday, so stay tuned 🙂
I look forward to it:)
Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
I was browsing my reader this morning, as one does. Nicholas is someone I always read, so I opened his post. The cartoon sucked me in, but the content is wonderful. This is one of the best depictions of traditional vs. self publishing I’ve ever seen. Even those who aren’t writers will find it interesting.
That’s an excellent précis. I hope I will score a trad deal one day, but for the moment it seems unlikely. So I’d rather do it myself and try to make it on my own terms than be so vulnerable to the whims and ideas of others.
Hear hear! 🙂
Love the cartoon. I hate to use the old cliche, “Not what you know, but who you know.” That does seem to apply though…like in art. I have seen terrific artists go nowhere because they weren’t willing to schmooze the right group of people. Sort of like the Hollywood syndrome.
I love writing, so I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing. I’ll likely change my course of action a dozen times if I live another twenty or thirty years and keep writing. The world evolves and I with it…else I die.
First and foremost, write because you want to write 😀
“I love writing, so I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing” – well said! You may enjoy my guest post over at Marlena’s blog: https://mylife428.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-runaway-smile-blog-tour/
Beat ya to it…already been there and I did enjoy it. I’m retired, with a decent income. I have heard people say hobby writers can’t be taken seriously. Only writers wring for money and those who treat writing like a business can succeed. I suppose that depends on your point of view and your definition of success. It certainly isn’t mine.
“Your definition of success” – I love that point!
That ‘reply all’ story is rather irking. I think one of the big reasons I’m still hoping and thinking of traditional publishing is the paperback option. Bookstores and libraries don’t carry indie authors around here. The library ebook system in my county won’t even carry my books in digital format. So I feel like there’s still an area that I’m cut off from, which I want to get a foot into. I think I’m also just feeling like I’m treading water due to a few other reasons.
I read something interesting about the Amazon Top 100 lists. People aren’t taking the ‘bestseller’ declaration that seriously from indie authors. I think too many used it without proof or they made it on lists that you can’t easily find on Amazon. Others did it when they hit #99 and simply went around crowing without a screenshot. It’s a strange title to declare these days since there are so many lists and they change by the hour. I’ve even seen some people say they’re a bestselling author and they’ve never been on the list. So I wonder if that area is losing power.
I’m sure it is. It was part of the reason why I “came clean” on my A-Z as to what exactly it means and how someone can make it there. Also, I prefer to say that my books have reached #1 on Amazon to “an Amazon best-selling author” – and never use “best-selling author” on its own, as it’s plainly misleading.
I understand this. I like to be transparent on my “Bestseller” status and not only say Amazon but quote the genre I’ve succeeded in. I must admit, part of my desire to find a big publisher is to walk into a store and see my book. It was amazing to get my first print version through the door but to see it for sale in a physical format… wow.
I know the feeling! 🙂
I only mention it when I’m on the list and can post the direct info. Never made it to #1 so that is beyind my repertoire.
With your sales, all you need to do is pick the appropriate subgenre and run a promo. 🙂
That’s the thing. My books don’t fit any of the less competitive subgenres. I checked the list you made and only two of the bigger ones turned up. Sword & Sorcery and Fantasy Adventure. Also the sales are iffy now that the debut month is done. The rough part of a series is that later books don’t sell as well as the earlier ones. Best to aim for consistency.
You’re right, which is why I’ve done the bundle. That sells better than the individual books, as it’s pretty competitively priced.
I need to really look into that one day. What effect did it have on your single books?
They’re not selling as well. Mad Water suffers the most, as it sells for $2.99 whereas the bundle sells for $3.49. It’s a question of pricing, though. The bundle would still be cheaper than the individual books if it were priced at $4.99, but I wanted it to be a real bargain.
Do you think it works better for a completed series than one that’s still being produced?
Not in my experience. I started bundling when I only had two books! It sold well until the third book – and corresponding bundle – were published, then it tanked. The new bundle, however, took off in its place. I’ve been flirting with the idea of removing the 2-book bundle from the shelves, but haven’t done so yet.
I can see how the 2-book bundle would be rather pointless with the 3-book. Given the length of my series, I’d probably go by 3’s. I still need to get together with my editor to fine tune Books 2 and 3, which I did before I met her. It’s hard enough finding time to editor the next release.
I know what you mean. I want to rewrite Schism (I’ve got all these ideas about a new character that I’d love to include), but haven’t had the time, between Smile and Vigil.
Time is always the kickee. Not enough quiet hours in the day.
There are some misconceptions here. Nowadays when you query an agent or publisher any self-published works DO NOT count as published. So saying it will help you is just not accurate. It won’t. Unless you sell at least 10K copies in a short period of time, according to several agents and publishers’ websites. Over the last few years (when everyone started going Indie) things drastically changed. It just isn’t the case any more. If your dream is to go traditional keep reading, keep writing, be in it for the long haul or not at all. Perseverance is the key, along with a thick skin. Many authors who’ve had this dream give up, plain and simple. Publishers will not come looking for you if you self-publish. Not anymore. And here’s another hard truth: Most writers have to author four to six novels before they’ve honed their craft enough to be traditionally published. The traditional path is not for everyone.
Thanks for the comment, Sue! That hasn’t been my experience, at least in Greece. When I queried publishers with the Greek version of Smile, it was significant to them that I had publishing experience, even if it was only through self-publishing. Also, my author platform played a significant role in my getting an offer by a traditional publisher.
Of course, that may be because Greece still has to catch up with some of the changes.
I totally agree that perseverance is key, and that the more books you write, the better your writing. I have a small problem with the “they’ve honed their craft enough to be traditionally published,” statement, though. Publishers look for a number of things beyond good writing – namely, how profitable they believe a book will be. They expect, for example, your writing to follow your genre’s conventions. So, you may have written dozens of books, and still be unable to be published because your books are too… well, different.
As I was saying in response to another comment, I read the other day that Jean M. Auel suffered 400 rejections before someone published Earth’s Children – and that was down to luck: “A chance encounter with a New York-based literary agent at a local writers’ workshop … sparked her success.” The simple reason was that prehistoric romance was such a new concept back then, that publishers shied away from it. It had nothing to do with her writing, though, which is why I find unfair the “if only you wrote better, you’d get a publishing deal” mentality.
Oh, I totally agree. Those weren’t my words, I’m just the messenger. There are some wonderful self-published books out there. I didn’t mean to insinuate otherwise. But, unfortunately, if they are too different– like you say– and can’t find “shelf space” they will never be traditionally published. Basically it all comes down to where the publisher can sell it, what shelf it fits on in the library.
Exactly! I have scheduled a post on Monday, with how Smile was published in Greece. I think you’ll find it interesting 🙂
I’ll be there!
It’s a big, bustling world out there, isn’t it. Sometimes I believe it’s more a rat race. Publishing is not for the weak. Not a cheery post, but an informative one. 🙂
You are welcome.
A thoughtful look at both directions. To me, it seems like it takes a great deal of patience for both. But in trying the traditional publishing route, you wait a while to get rejection letters. At least with indie publishing, you can get feedback along the way, as you sell some books and build your platform. Also, that’s such a telling email from an intern at a publishing company. They must be swamped with manuscripts — and how can anyone have the time to read them all? I figure at best, your manuscript’s first page will be read — and that’s it.
I agree. Also, I had to share this, on the subject:
Great cartoon! Thanks for sharing that link 🙂
You may also like this one:
That is a good one 🙂 I bet authors who are traditionally published also have many days without sales, but they just don’t have the immediate access to charts, like on Amazon’s KDP.
Absolutely. Even traditionally published authors struggle to sell their books. Marketing is just as important to them, and it’s increasing;y down to the author to help with that.
I love that cartoon! Sadly, that could totally be me on that couch.
I’m with you in saying that both paths are valid. People look to go with a publisher for a number of reasons, whether that’s because of their reach, the expertise they have on offer to polish a book to perfection, or even as validation that their writing has worth. If it’s a person’s dream to listed as a Harper Collins or Random House author, and as long as they are aware of the likelihood they will face many rejections if they succeed at all, they should go for it.
Like you, I preferred to go the indie route but I’d never stop anyone from following their dreams.
Absolutely! I’m always saddened by people telling aspiring authors that one way is “right” and the other is “wrong”. As I say, why not try them both, and see what works for you?
There is no right, only what is right for the writer. For me, I need the psychology of believing I have an obligation. If I’m writing for me, I lack urgency; if I write because I’m told to, I work harder.
Another great post 🙂 I think we are so very fortunate to be able to self publish, to retain control of our work and yet have the opportunity to share it with a wider audience. I’ve done the agent thing and have a nice pile of rejection letters to prove it, two requests for a full MS and a dodgy publishing contract offer (which I declined). It was that last that spurred me to take the step of self publishing my first book – I have another three finished and another three half done, so I needed to get it out the door. Your post has simply reinforced that my decision is the right one for me, so thank you 🙂
I couldn’t agree more! And it’s a pleasure 🙂
I’m with you on this. I still hope to acquire an agent to represent me but I’d rather be self-published than published through a small publisher. I’ve known a few authors who have regretted their contracts with (very) minor houses.
My first book was a flop with agents because it didn’t adhere to a single genre so was hard to market, the second was very original but also crossed a few genres. Now, I’m tailoring my latest book to a specific market AND I’ve identified an agent who specializes in the the genre I’m crafting the work for.
Because I think ultimately, a large publishing house has the potential to aid me in writing full-time whereas as an Indie author, I will continue to struggle to market myself alone.
How to be one of the 45 of the 10,000 submissions? Be original, have a thorough plotline with revelations the reader won’t see coming but will still consider credible and have characters to engage with; not just nice characters, you need somebody to hate too! My biggest concentration has to be on genre though. 😉
As always Nicholas, a great post. I do like the point that being rejected doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the book. I like to remind people of “His Dark Materials” and “Eragon”, both of those books struggled with their first publisher and only took off when bigger houses got involved. 😀
Thanks! Interesting what you say about sticking to your genre. Cross-genre works seem to be on the increase, probably because of the Indie influence. It certainly is easier to be one of the 45 if you stick to the conventions.
I like to write cross genre, life is cross genre so a book should be too. I’m feeling positive just now though as by chance, the ideas in my head for my next two books are both original and within genre so, who knows 😉
Lol – best of luck, then! 🙂
Judging from the experiences of fellow indies who had been with a publisher in the past, I now believe with certainty it’s best to be indie. Whereas I used to spend time looking for agents in the past couple of years, I haven’t sent a single query in a year and neither do I intend to. I’d say that a small trad publisher is out of the question as I have heard many hairy stories from fellow authors who had to take them to court or deal with ridiculous situations. So unless I get a proposal from a major publisher one day–or at least an ingenious hybrid one like Booktrope–I’ll always be indie, that’s a certainty.
There’s more than one ways to skin a book, so to speak. I’m posting my way of publishing Smile on Monday, which you may find interesting. 🙂
Informative post Nicholas, I guess one has to be brave enough to plunge into the unknown!
True, true. One has to be even more brave to not lose courage after a string of rejections, of course. I’ve heard that Jean M. Auel suffered 400 of these before someone published her book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_Children – and that was down to luck: “A chance encounter with a New York-based literary agent at a local writers’ workshop … sparked her success,” as she puts in in her website (https://www.jeanauel.com/about.php). As I often say, to succeed in this game you need to write a lot – and pray even more! 🙂
Reblogged this on Bookshelf Battle and commented:
Some good advice on traditional vs. indie publishing by Nicholas C. Rossis
Great advice. I see the “traditional or self-publish” question floating around the web a lot and I feel like it is the same as asking, “Should I win the lottery or earn my own money?”
Um, well, yes, if you can swing it, you should win the lottery. But since you can’t plan for it, you should earn some money. So yes, try for traditional, but if it doesn’t pan out, self-publish away.
That’s a great way of putting it!!
I don’t think you can choose trad pub, it has to choose you. So yeah, if you want to see if they’ll choose/make an offer, I say, go for it, but don’t be surprised about the rejections. Too many books – not enough publishers.