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abdall
12-06-2018, 02:21 AM
so I've always wanted to go the more traditional route with publishing with an agent and all that jazz, but I haven't had a lot of luck with getting published that way. Frankly, it could just be because I'm kind of stupid when it comes to the publishing world. I have two finished manuscripts that are still unpublished and I'm considering self publishing one of them, but I still want to try and get an agent and everything. Would selfpublishing hurt my chances with an agent or would it improve them? Or would it not really make much of a difference?

lizmonster
12-06-2018, 03:11 AM
When you say you "haven't had a lot of luck," what does that mean? What did you try, and for how long?

Without answering the question (because AFAIK the answer is a resounding "it depends") - it's my opinion that if you want to be trade published, you should exhaust all avenues there first. Self-publishing takes a tremendous amount of work to do well (not to mention more financial investment than the agent route), and I'd be loath to suggest to someone they use it as some kind of back-up plan.

What do you want out of publishing, self or otherwise?

abdall
12-06-2018, 03:54 AM
When you say you "haven't had a lot of luck," what does that mean? What did you try, and for how long?

Without answering the question (because AFAIK the answer is a resounding "it depends") - it's my opinion that if you want to be trade published, you should exhaust all avenues there first. Self-publishing takes a tremendous amount of work to do well (not to mention more financial investment than the agent route), and I'd be loath to suggest to someone they use it as some kind of back-up plan.

What do you want out of publishing, self or otherwise?

I've sent out pitches for my book to a variety of publishers (I'm not sure if 'pitch' is the right word for what I'm thinking of. I knew the right term once, but it alludes me at the moment). I sent a lot of them out eight months to a year ago and I haven't gotten any feed back from any of them. Admittedly, might be doing something wrong and I knowresponse time varies, but I'm getting kind of restless and impatient. I think the whole process just isn't quite what I was expecting. My great aunt is a published writer and she always told me that as soon as you have the story out then getting published is the easy part. Unlike me, she has a head for the business side of things. And while making money would definately be a plus that's not my sole reason for wanting to publish my work. I just feel like it's time to let my work out into the world. I should probably just be patient and keep trying, but being patient isn't my forte.

CathleenT
12-06-2018, 04:30 AM
I would advise you to polish up at least three books before you self-publish, unless you happen to be one of those fast-writing prodigies. In the SP world, momentum is worth a great deal. So, as long as you can multi-task, that gives you plenty of time to query agents about the first two books while you write the third.

That would be if you're trying to build any kind of career. If it's a personal book, like a family biography or memoir, those are often one-offs because a great deal of the satisfaction is just from having finished the work. It depends on your goals, really.

Carrie in PA
12-06-2018, 05:01 AM
I've sent out pitches for my book to a variety of publishers (I'm not sure if 'pitch' is the right word for what I'm thinking of. I knew the right term once, but it alludes me at the moment). I sent a lot of them out eight months to a year ago and I haven't gotten any feed back from any of them. Admittedly, might be doing something wrong and I knowresponse time varies, but I'm getting kind of restless and impatient. I think the whole process just isn't quite what I was expecting. My great aunt is a published writer and she always told me that as soon as you have the story out then getting published is the easy part. Unlike me, she has a head for the business side of things. And while making money would definately be a plus that's not my sole reason for wanting to publish my work. I just feel like it's time to let my work out into the world. I should probably just be patient and keep trying, but being patient isn't my forte.

If you want an agent, why did you query publishers? Did you query any agents? What's a lot? 10? 30? 120? Have you had your work go through some beta readers/critique group? If you got zero response (no form rejections??) from anyone you queried, the problem could be your query. It could also be WHO you queried - did you fire off queries to publishers who don't take unagented submissions?

I'm sure your great-aunt is lovely, but publishing is soooo not the easy part. :) And being impatient is the surest way to torpedo a career before it even begins. This is a slow, slow, slow business, and self-publishing isn't (or shouldn't be) a shortcut because doing it well takes as much effort, time and learning as going traditional. Take your time and learn, learn, learn.

lizmonster
12-06-2018, 05:14 AM
I've sent out pitches for my book to a variety of publishers (I'm not sure if 'pitch' is the right word for what I'm thinking of. I knew the right term once, but it alludes me at the moment). I sent a lot of them out eight months to a year ago and I haven't gotten any feed back from any of them.

Were these publishers who accepted unagented work? How many did you submit to? Did you follow their submission guidelines?

For trade publishing, you're almost always going to want a literary agent.

Are you writing fiction or non-fiction?


My great aunt is a published writer and she always told me that as soon as you have the story out then getting published is the easy part.

Your great aunt is full of mistaken.


I just feel like it's time to let my work out into the world.

I'd encourage you to do some self-examination here.

Thanks to places like Amazon, self-publishing is easy. Self-publishing well, though - that takes time. (And research, and a lot of work.) If you're thinking of self-publishing just because you don't want to wait anymore, you almost certainly haven't done the up-front work necessary to self-publish effectively.

Fortunately, the self-publishing forums here on AW are full of information, and experienced people who have done it extremely well. I would encourage you at the very least to spend a lot of time there before you decide to go that route.


I should probably just be patient and keep trying, but being patient isn't my forte.

Which is where I come back to the self-examination.

What's the rush? Why the hurry to publish your work without regard to how it happens? What do you want from publishing? Do you want readers? If so, how many? Do you want to be able to give a copy to your great-aunt? Do you want to see your book in a real-world bookstore? Do you want to be able to send your friends your Amazon link? Do you want a publisher who will publish your next book, and the one after that? Do you want to make a living wage at it?

We all write for different reasons. Wanting to write and wanting to be published are not the same thing, and before you make choices about how you launch your debut novel into the world, you should probably take the time to understand what you're hoping for--and how to maximize your chances of getting it.

ETA: I see from another thread you're writing a fantasy series. Be aware that it's extremely difficult to publish a series with more than one publisher. If you self-publish the first, you should be prepared to self-publish the rest.

Marissa D
12-06-2018, 05:16 AM
Sending your manuscript directly to publishers might be a good chunk of the problem--most publishers of fiction don't accept manuscripts or even query letters directly from authors, but prefer to work with agents. if you're wanting to give trade publishing a go, then you need to research agents who represent books in your area and create a query letter to approach them with. But before you do any of that, make sure your books are as good as you can make them--which means not only polishing them yourself, but also working with a beta reader or two.

Harlequin
12-06-2018, 02:04 PM
If you want to trade publish as your end goal, I think you're better of trunking than self pubbing.

It's not uncommon for a writer to go on sub, not get any bites, and then go digging in their trunk for other novels they can pitch via agent. But if you've self pubbed rather than trunked, you've closed the door on ever trade publishing those books.

There is also value in debut author status in the trade publishing world (but not in the self pub world) and you do give that away if you self pub first.

and finally... self pub is NOT the easier option by default. It does require hard work. The difficulties and hardships are just less apparent at first glance.

ASeiple
12-06-2018, 11:02 PM
What do you want to gain from publishing a book?

That's the big question.

Fame? Money? Satisfaction?

Tell us why you want to get a book out to the world, and we might be able to throw some pros and cons at you.

cool pop
12-07-2018, 07:05 AM
No, it wouldn't hurt to self-publish. Just don't self-publish the same books you intend to try to get an agent and publisher for. Once you self-publish, first rights are gone so no pub will be interested unless you sell a gazillion copies on your own. You can definitely do both, self-publish while going for the trade route. Many people do.

ShouldBeWriting
12-07-2018, 07:30 AM
There is also value in debut author status in the trade publishing world (but not in the self pub world) and you do give that away if you self pub first.

This. I trunked three novels because they weren’t ready. I wasn’t ready. The fourth one got the agent and the sale, and being a debut author helped.

That being said, that’s me. As others have said more eloquently than I could, trade publishing and self publishing are both viable options, and which is best for you depends on your goals. My advice will always be write the best book you can, then revise it at least twice more, and then decide your path.