Traditional or DIY?

Just another #wpad blog challenge. Day 17.

Traditional or DIY, agent / publisher or self-publishing? Although I feel I am still short of my goal of building a decent portfolio that I can then shop around, I think and read about this a lot.

There is a great interview on self-publishing over on Bang2Write with author Lucy V Morgan, who has two novels published “traditionally” and two novels published the DIY way. My lesson from this interview, very much condensed, is “it’s not as easy as writing, formatting, and putting your e-book on Amazon.”

Quite apart from various technical and design skills to be acquired (I guess that remark betrays my age), you have to know, or learn, about the marketing and distribution side. When I consider how long I have been planning to jazz up this blog and to create a “proper” website for my other life, the environmentalist one, without actually having done it, I fear that building a facebook page, author website, marketing strategy etc. would simply take me too long. Also, I am not the type to push myself, I’d rather have someone else do the pushing.

I’m not saying that finding a publisher or an agent is easy or quicker than DIY. But it seems to me that there are fewer skills – if possibly more persistence – required. And to be honest, I am more the traditionalist who thinks that “real” authors should be published by a “real” publishing house. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that I myself would only feel like a “real” author then.

Having said that, it would be very useful to have all those skills… and I found this excellent article on Copyblogger that really makes me want to find out more about self-publishing. It does make the same point as referenced above: it’s not all that easy and requires careful planning and execution.

I say this on the premise that I want to make writing my paid profession. In my less confident moments I find solace in the thought that, if it doesn’t work out, I can self-published a few e-books, send the link to friends and family, and consider myself an author. There is definite merit in that. A former colleague of mine self-published a book written by her mum, who passed away just a few weeks later.  She says she will be eternally grateful that she did this, for it brought her mum one last huge joy in life to see her work published.

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