Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing
Have you written an amazing story on Wattpad that you want to get published? It can be difficult deciding whether to self-publish, work with an agent or send your manuscript directly to a publisher. Here are a few tips, and pros and cons from my publishing journey that might help you decide which publishing path is right for you and get you started.
1. Research the best fit for your manuscript
Once you have a polished manuscript (grammar and spelling checked and read through by your beta readers) you're ready to submit. You can check out sites like Manuscript Wish List to see what agents are looking for and who's open to submission. Also, Twitter is really amazing to stalk agents or head over to smaller press's websites and see what they accept. Do not submit to agents or publishers randomly. Make sure they accept the type of manuscript you are sending. This will save you time and less tears when you get back rejection letters.
2. Write a query letter
Whether you are submitting to an agent or a publisher directly, you need a query letter. This can be a daunting task, but there are some amazing resources online to get you started. Take your time to write this letter. Be sure you have the editor or publisher's name spelled correctly. You'll want to include your credentials, a blurb about your story, word count, genre and a catchy tag line (think movie trailer hooks). Read the editor/ publisher guidelines carefully. They may ask for a synopsis or the first few chapters of your story. Don't send anything they don't ask for and follow the guidelines EXCACTLY. It's tempting to add bonus material to stand out, but that's what your story is for.
3. Send, wait and resend
Some writers luck out on the first query (unicorn writers), but most of us have to query over and over. Rejection letters can be hard to take for a new writer, but really a rejection just means it's not the right fit for the agent / publisher. You want someone who is passionate about your work, so keep submitting until you get a yes.
4. The waiting game
I went straight to a publisher and once I approved the contract, we developed a marketing and editing plan. My series had a one year schedule for publication, which is really fast. With a bigger publisher, you're looking at one-two years before your story will be ready for market. If you also sign with an agent, you need to give them time to sell your novel first and you also may do edits with your agent beforehand. No matter which route you take, you'll need patience. I like to draft new stories or write short stories between edits and releases.
5. Share your release!
Before your novel is released you will need to start getting the words out. This is the same whether you self-publish or go with a publisher. With a publisher, you'll have some support, but you need to do a lot of promotion on your own as well. Set up blog tours with book bloggers, run a giveaway, send out review copies (publishers do some of this) and beg everyone you know to show you a little book love. It can be hard to find readers for your book, so when you find some loyal readers who will support you along the way, be sure to love them back. Hint: Wattpad readers are the most amazing readers EVER!
1. No dreaded query letter to write and no rejection letters from editors
This is probably the most exciting thing about self-publishing. I mean who wants to get piles of rejection letters? But don't self-publish because you think it's easier. Self-publishing is a long and lonely road. You are responsible for everything. So, think hard, before you decide to toss away the query letter.
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