That uncommon time when a person has been on both sides of the fence.
In 5 years time, I've been on both sides of the fence in the world of Publishing. In that time I have seen and learned many, many things. Some good and some bad.
Today I want to address this huge divide that there seems to be in this realm.
YOU'VE BOTH WRITTEN BOOKS!!
So, as my dear Titi Beatriz would say, "Get over yourself!"
For the sake of not having to spell things out all the time, I'm going to abbreviate. Traditionally Published, I'll call TP, and Self-Published I'll call SP.
There is this huge debate about how TP Authors want to "debunk" SP Authors and SP Authors fighting back. Sheesh! It's freaking exhausting. Due to this I've opted to share my story with you all in the hopes that you'll see that there really isn't much of a difference per se.
Wait! Let me reword that...!
There are some big differences, however, in the end we are all "PUBLISHED AUTHORS" which is what really counts.
I really don't want to get into the Pros and Con of each side of the spectrum as that will just take up too much unnecessary time. What I do want to do is share my story with you so that you can decide for yourself which one is better, if any.
As I mentioned above, 5 years ago I started on my venture to write my first book, consequently self publishing it.
The story goes a little something like this.
I read all the articles, followed all the bylaws, did everything I thought I was supposed to do. From Query Letter, to Submissions, to trying to find an Agent and everything else in between.
I found myself at a dead end. Here were the answers I got in the form of rejection letters.
The economy has really affected us so we aren't taking new authors at this time.
Sorry, your genre isn't marketable.
You have an amazing story idea with an innovative hero and heroine. However, we just can't take your book right now.
What a great story! Too bad we can't help you.
If your story were a little more common place we might take you on.
It's not main stream enough, although the idea is cool.
Suffice it to say that I was pretty shocked that most of these places sort of liked my idea however, due to one reason or another, they couldn't pick up the story. It was at that time that I started looking into Self-Publishing.
I was astounded at the plethora of platforms available to the Indie Author. Places that did everything but write your book for you. I was also flabbergasted at the prices of said places. However, I was a newbie with no one to show me the way and I fell for the scam.
I went with a place called Outskirts Press and shelled out almost 3 thousand dollars in services from them. What did I get in returned profit from this investment?
NOT! ONE! DAMN! SALE!
On top of the lackluster services they provided ... a shoddy cover, they didn't help me edit (that was an additional fee), there was not trailer, no expanded sales. Nothing really. Just the interior and exterior of the book, with 5 free copies for myself. If I wanted extra copies, I had to pay for those as well. It wasn't cheap.
Needless to say, after that adventure with no real benefit, I wasn't going to fall for it again. So I learned about Smashwords and started using that platform. Funny enough, no one on Smashwords wanted to buy the book. They wanted it for FREE, period.
At this point I was so incredibly frustrated. However, I'd connected with other Indie Authors by now and asked for some advise. They pointed me in the direction of Create Space.
Soon after MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis was ready for publication. Luckily, now having Create Space at my disposal, I was okay with publishing it myself even if I didn't generate many sales.
A few moths later, MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis was published and on the market when I came across an author whom belonged to a Small Press Publishing House (whose name will remain unsaid). She said to me, "Wow! I read your book! It's amazing! I bet you would do great under the House that I belong! I bet that they can help you make sales and become everything you should be in this field."
I was like, "Really?"
"Yes, of course! I can put in a good word for you, if you want me to see if they'll take you on. that is."
I was jumping in my boots. How could I say no to this opportunity? It would be the stupidest thing in the world to not take advantage of this open door, right?
So I jumped in with both feet! "Heck yeah!"
"Cool. Here is what I need you to do ..." on came the long list of To-do's and I followed each step to the letter.
Yep, that's right! I was taken on by this Publishing House! Oh joy!
Ooooooooor ... NOT!
My experience was sub-par at best.
These people not only wanted me to change everything about my book, but when I wasn't looking they changed it without my approval!
They stuck me with a shitty cover, they treated me like a red headed step child, because I didn't "fit" into the marketable group. I wasn't given the benefits that the other authors were getting--like promotional marketing, one on one mentoring, sales parties and the like. It was a horrendous affair. I had to sit by the waste side and see other authors being treated like kings and queens, while my book--because it wasn't as marketable--was ignored completely. Another, unspoken aspect, was that I was LITERALLY the ONLY ethnic person on staff, and guess what? I was being treated as such.
I was the elephant in the room that everyone chose to ignore. Because:
- My book wasn't as marketable as the rest.
- I wasn't white. That's right, I said it ... I wasn't white.
- Oh, there was one more reason. My religious beliefs didn't fully line up with theirs. Why? Because I'm non-religious. I'm not an atheist either, but I wasn't the perfect example of a Christian.
Several months down the line I approached the person in charge and asked the my contract be terminated. After all, THEY breached the contract time and time again. I won't get into that.
Now, I had a choice to make. Either I SP the story again, or I look for another publisher.
I was already working on All Authors Magazine and had initiated many subsidiaries of All Authors, so I was like "Screw it! I'm going to publish this puppy under my own label, the All Authors Publishing House." I had imagines AAPH to be a different type of House. A place where Traditional Publishing meets Indie Publishing. A place that would celebrate individuality and give you the benefits of tradition. I wanted AAPH to be a House that had all the strengths of both avenues with non of the weaknesses.
Now, I am happy to say that my works are published under AAPH along with 6 more authors. A Small Press Publishing House that brings together both Indie and Traditional. WHY?
Because, let's face it ...
WE'RE ALL PUBLISHED AUTHORS!
So, you choose; which is better Traditional or Indie?
Truthfully it doesn't matter because at the end of the day we all worked our asses off to make our dream of writing a book come true.