Okay, so maybe the stakes aren't that dire yet. I'm still in the editing phase and will be for a while. Yet decision time is slowly creeping up on me.
Self-publish or attempt to go traditional?
There's no right or wrong answer. It's all about figuring out what's best for myself. Yeah, that's the problem. What's best? Even though self-publishing and ebooks have lit a fire this year, it's hard to believe traditional publishing won't recover, albeit with adjustments. If you're lucky enough to get an agent, you've got someone to deal with the legal mumbo-jumbo, and a great source for marketing ideas. Yes, newly signed authors with publishing contracts still have to do most of their marketing themselves, but an agent - at least a good agent - will lead them in the right direction.
But they also take a chunk of money. I've read stories about new writers making very little their first years. And when you see the numbers midlist self-publishing authors are putting out, and you wonder why in the hell you're even considering traditional. Why should I give up all that money to pay someone else?
Because that someone else can help me get my foot in the door and a contract gives me the seal of approval from the New York biggies.
But what if, no matter how many good reviews or support from the agent, the book tanks? Then what?
Some, like the awesome Kait Nolan, went the self-publishing route and signed an agent through that success. That idea is very appealing, but there's the whole money up front thing that I struggle with. No way would I self-publish without paying a professional cover artist and editor. And that would probably cost between $2000-$3000. That's a lot for a stay at home mom.
Roz Morris at Nail Your Novel had a great post on this recently, called Self-Publish First, Seek Agent for Second? She thinks it's a good plan if you have a book ready.
And who do you trust as an editor? How do you find one that will charge you a fair rate and do a stellar job?
I don't know the answers yet. I'm still waffling on what route to take, although I'm leaning strongly toward querying first. I think the experience will be valuable, regardless of what happens. It's just a matter of whether I want to invest the time and money in the wait.
In short, my head spins every time I think of this. So much information coming out almost daily makes it hard to find the answer. Laura Pauling is doing a series of Wednesday posts about the subject, and she features a lot of great links.