From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

3 Ways to Publish Your Work

From what I've seen, it seems like the battle between Big Publishing and Indie Publishing is waning. Most of us are realizing that it is a false dichotomy. There are multiple ways to go about putting your work out there, and perhaps the best route is a combination of all three.

1. Traditional Big Publishing. Getting a publishing contract with one of the big New York publishers is still the dream scenario, at least for some of us. This route involves finding an agent, who then finds a publisher, and then there's even more waiting while your book goes through the very long process. The waiting and potential frustration is definitely a downside, but the prestige and backing of a big publishing house and its resources might be worth it. Check out for agents working in your genre.

2. Small Publishers. Many small publishers accept direct submissions, and you are not required to have an agent. Many writers like this route, particularly if your work is suited for more of a niche market catered to by the small publisher. Personally, I think this might be a cool route to try for short story collections. Check out Poets and Writers list of small publishers for ones that might be a good fit for your work.

3. Self Publishing. Whatever bad rap self publishing has gotten, perhaps for some good reasons, I still think there are some advantages. Maybe you have a backlist you want to get back out on the market. Maybe you're flipping into a completely different genre that your agent and publisher don't work with. Maybe you think that the market for a certain book is one you can reach better on your own. I definitely want to try this one out in the future.

Do you agree that the best route is a combination? Or could that do some professional damage?

Sarah Allen


  1. Even when I first started writing, I always aimed for small press publishers - I know my work isn't commercial enough for the big ones, so it never even occurred to me to try there.

    I'm a little bit envious of the speed with which self-publishers can put out their books though - that seems a good way to keep up sales of the older books too.

  2. If...when...I get to that point, I will probably, like Annalisa, seek a small publisher. A friend of mine who recently published a book was at a conference and spoke to one of the big 6. They flat out told this friend that unless he had a solid platform with thousands of followers, they wouldn't consider him for a first-time. Wow.

  3. Great summary on the options available to writers these days.

  4. Very good, but I would suggest a breakout of the "small" publishers.

    Some publish one book a year. Others have only published shorts, never a novel, while others publish upward of a book each month.

    I break Small Publishers out like this:

    o Indie -- Individual or small group, same as self-pub with a critique. May not be paid. May be their first book. May not include distribution of any sort.

    o Small -- May still be an indie, but with more experience, more books to their name, and at least a distribution outlet. Many volunteers and unpaid "staff." May not be paid.

    o Medium/Large -- Group or small business, steadily printing books on a full-time basis, with an editorial staff and a traditional distribution outlet. Has seen success, even if not NYT best-sellers. These are paid-publishing, but no advance.

    Anyway, that's my take, and unless you land a MEGA house, you probably won't see an advance.

    - Eric
    Digging With the Worms

  5. Indeed, options. I've felt it's really a matter of preference. And a lot of it depends on who you are as a person, not just as an author. If you are great at marketing yourself, then self-publishing would probably suit you well or even getting with a small publisher who can't do too much marketing.

    I personally work best with a partner or on a team, so I always look to trying to find a small publisher that will work with me all the time or get an agent and go big.

    I've self-published one novella that was co-written with 4 other authors and have a couple of shorts published in an anthology of eBooks (again, self-published with other authors). No money to speak of from those ventures, and I greatly attribute that to myself not being the best at marketing one's self.

  6. When you live in changing times, a flexible approach is the way forward


  7. I think everyone needs to find their own way. I could self-publish, but I enjoy working with my publisher and I'm happy with the deal I have with them.

    And yeah, advances are quickly becoming more and more rare. I don't get one on my books.

  8. I went with option three. I just finished uploading the third book of my trilogy on Christmas. The idea of pursuing a traditional deal never entered my mind. With my technical background it was a no brainer to choose doing it digitally by myself. Print is just as easy. It's just a different file type.

    However marketing and promoting is another beast to tame all together.

    There isn't an option that is better or worse than another. Each fits for the people that choose them.

  9. I'm at a small-to-medium sized publisher with my book and I'm very happy.

    I believe (and this is based on genreal observation of a few fellow writers) that the only way you can really do self-publishing well, is if you already have a body of work that people can sample.

    I'm more inclined to read a self-pubbed book (and I have) if the writer has a body of work to which I can sample from, whether it's short stories or novels, than to read a self-pubbed book from someone who I don't know/haven't heard of/haven't read.

  10. I've been published by big and small publishers. I remember my publisher from one big company saying to me"You will never get the kind of support from us you'll get from[small publisher I was with at the time, still am]". And that's true. Big publishers spend very little time promoting you unless you"re on their A list and none at all after your book is out. I know a few professionals who have self published their back lists or, in a couple of cases, because the big publisher they were with, had let them down. One got dumped two volumes before her very good children's crime fiction series was over.(She's back with big publishing, but not the same company). Another self published his latest novel because no publisher wanted funny SF. It's fine as long as you know what you're doing. A lot of people don't. And the vanity presses or self publishing services don't care.


I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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