To Self Publish, Or to Find a Publisher... [Part 1]

To self publish or to go the traditional route. This is the question that has been on my mind for the last few days. Both are viable options, but both come with risks and challenges. Here is what I have learned: 

Publishing with a Publisher

  1. I would most likely need to find a literary agent to represent my work. As percentages go, apparently these people have a 3% response rate to potential clients, let alone acceptance. This isn't to say that it is impossible, it would just take a great deal of grit and perseverance to acquire one. Why? Because most publishers don't accept unsolicited work that isn't sent through an agent.
  2. Once I have acquired an agent, they will approach publishers on my behalf (and on my payroll). The acceptance rate for publishers is also dismally low, as there no longer is too much profit to be had in print, and risks aren't embraced. 
  3. Once a publisher accepts your project, it isn't uncommon that they ask you to front a great deal of the expenses, effectively minimising their risk. This doesn't however happen all the time. The most common practice is that you are given a fee for your book, and then they subsequently take it into their own hands. 
  4. The fee will be a one time cheque, and if I'm lucky I'll also get a back-end clause on my contract. This implies that I get a cut of each copy sold, but this is unlikely, considering, as a first time author I don't have much leverage. 
  5. Once a deal is agreed the project goes through designers, editors, proofreaders, production managers, printers, first drafts, second drafts, and then when the final one is ready, the publisher decides when would be the most profitable time to release it, which could even be years. 
  6. A benefit of going through an established publisher is that they have excellent contacts and distribution networks, meaning I would be able to focus on other things while the publisher handles a the brunt of the work. I will of course have to work on it as well, but the work is considerably less because a lot of the tasks would be delegated to experts and professionals.

Part 2, Self Publishing, can be found here.