I have been writing and illustrating children’s story books for a while now and struggled with the decision of trying traditional publishing, or self-publishing. I spent hours and hours researching both of the options and contacting agents/publishers for further information.
I also attended a talk on traditional publishing versus self-publishing, presented by Rachel Abbott, one of the most successful self-published authors.
After months of research I decided that at this moment in time, i prefer the idea of self-publishing. I may consider attempting a more traditional route in the future, but for now, these are my reasons as to why I decided to go for it and self-publish.
There are so many self-published authors that are doing really well, each of whom are a massive inspiration. It takes a lot of time and work to be able to do it yourself. To start with, the research itself feels like it takes forever. When I attended the presentation on traditional, versus self-publishing, I was very much inspired to try and give it a go.
Outcome of the book.
This was a huge deciding factor for me, although traditional publishing has many advantages, it can also have many disadvantages that need to be considered. If you are a writer/illustrator, it becomes even more difficult to get published, as many publishing companies have illustrators that they use and may be reluctant to accept illustrations. This will ultimately mean that the book that you have imagined and spent months/years working on, will not turn out to be exactly how you dreamed it would be.
There seem to be a large amount of companies that offer what is called ‘Hybrid Publishing’, which combines elements of traditional publishing and self-publishing. This often means that they may accept your story, however, you will be requested to pay a large amount of the costs. It also seems that most of the marketing is to be done independently. This was another deciding factor for me. I contacted a company that provided the ‘Hybrid Publishing’ and without even seeing my completed work, they offered me a contract, for which I needed to commit an initial amount of £750. I declined for many reasons. The first is that if they haven’t seen my work, then there is no personal element to it at all, so why would they push any sales for a book that they haven’t even laid eyes on? Another was that they would not do any of the marketing at all. Ultimately, I couldn’t work out what I would be paying them for. I am now very cautious of this type of publishing.
A waiting game.
Many traditional publishing companies have a policy whereby, if applications are being sent to them, they want to be the only company viewing it at that time. This means that if you send a story off to them, it could take up to six months to get no reply at all, a thank you but no thank you email, or if you are lucky a request for further information. As I had a completely finished story including the illustrations, I decided that I didn’t want to wait that amount of time.
Believe in yourself.
I truly believe that if you follow your dreams and work hard to achieve them, then anything is possible.
I hope that this information is useful and that it may even give somebody the inspiration to go for it!