I used to be annoyed when the first response from anyone, upon finding out that I was a writer, was that they also wanted to write a book someday. I would smile and nod while thinking (yes, I admit it, very judgmentally) about how they had no idea what being a writer, or even writing a book, actually entailed.
Lately, however, I have a new pet peeve. Now that I am actually getting trying to get a book published, the first response out of people is, “Have you considered self-publishing?”
I restrain a sigh, smile, and carefully explain that I have wanted to be traditionally published since I was a little girl and am trying that route first, whereupon they feel encumbered to explain to me how much easier self-publishing is. How fast it is, how you don’t have to give up any rights, and you get so much more money, and “everyone’s doing it”.
Yes, dear random person I just met. I have actually been researching different publication techniques for years upon years. I do know what self-publishing is. I know that you have to pay a bunch of money up front, spend hours upon hours marketing, cross your fingers, and hope your book sells enough to make back the money you spent. I know that “everyone” is doing it and almost no one bothers to get an editor first. And I know there are some random bestsellers from self-published authors and that some of my own friends have self or hybrid published books that are, in fact, excellent. It does not, however, retract my foundational statement that I would like to attempt traditional first. For any other writers out there having this same conversation with people, if you throw out the term hybrid, they usually back off immediately as they realize that you do, in fact, know things about publishing.
I will say, however, that if you are considering hybrid or self-publishing, they aren’t bad options, as long as you, for the former, get a good publisher and, for the latter, PLEASE get an editor first. I also refuse to say I will never do either of them because I could definitely see myself warming up to the idea after a year or so. I think the primary difference between me and some others (not born writers – I think all born writers will agree with me in this), is that, while getting published would be a nice perk, it is not necessary for me to keep writing or even to feel like it is worth writing. Writing is a piece of me and whether I am ever published or not, I know I will keep at it. Therefore, I don’t mind waiting longer for that traditional publisher, or reassessing my options at a later point. I will write either way.
Anyway. I did recently have a conversation with a publisher who, according to their website, did both traditional and hybrid publishing. Unlike at least some other hybrid publishers, however, they review your work as thoroughly as they do for traditional before deciding whether to accept it for even hybrid publishing. I was extremely complimented that they seemed to actually really like my book, and they wanted to offer to work with me on a hybrid contract. However, my former statement still stands, and I told them that, much as I appreciated it, I wanted to try for traditional a little longer.
Having someone professional tell you your work is good though, does much for boosting one’s self confidence, and so the search continues, albeit slowly, in my quest for publication.