A couple of months ago, I was asked my views on the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Since I’ve only ever self-published, my opinion and views were fairly one sided, so I reached out to the experts for a more well-rounded idea of what each path entailed.
If you follow me on Patreon, you may have heard my first ever podcast interview with Andrew C. Broderick, a science fiction author who has also branched into the archeological action/adventure thriller genre. Andrew is a self-published author and will remain so, short of being approached directly by a publisher or literary agent.
To learn more about the author who wishes to follow the traditional publishing route, I reached out to Ellen Marie Wiseman. She is best known for The Plum Tree, What She Left Behind, and her latest novel, The Life She Was Given. Ellen writes historical fiction with what I consider a focus on history not always found in mainstream history books. She was kind enough to answer a few questions and I’ve copied them as she wrote them to my questions. These are her words.
How long have you been writing? – I’d say around twenty years. I’ve been writing professionally for seven years.
How did you get started? – I’ve never taken a creative writing course, but I used to write as a hobby while bringing up my children. Once they were in high school, I decided to get serious. That’s when I finished my first novel, THE PLUM TREE.
What’s your favorite genre to write in? – Historical mainstream fiction
What do you like to read? – Everything from paranormal to classic literature.
Have you ever self-published or have you always published traditionally?
What are some pros and cons you’ve discovered along your publishing journey?
The pros would be getting paid to do something I love, hearing from and meeting readers, making friends with other authors, and the relationships I have with my agent and the people at my publishing house. The cons would be deadlines and the business side of publishing.
What are some things to consider when it comes to publishing authors may not think about? – I think the biggest thing authors might not think about is that selling your work is a business. Along with trying to be creative, you need to keep track of expenses, negotiate contracts, pay taxes, promote yourself and your books, etc.
If you haven’t self-published, have you ever thought about it? Why or why not?
I considered it briefly after spending two years trying to get an agent, but kept trying until I found one. I wanted to be traditionally published because I wanted confirmation about my work from an agent and an editor. Most importantly, I wanted a team behind me to design covers, do editing, proofreading, formatting, etc., and to publicize, market, and distribute my books. Thanks to my publisher, my work has been translated into eighteen languages. I wouldn’t have been able to get that kind of exposure on my own.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to not only see their books in print or digital format but also want to make a living wage from their writing?
I’d say read as much as you can about the craft of writing. I recommend “On Writing” by Stephen King and “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott. Put your inner editor away and get the first draft down without worrying about mistakes. You can go back and fix everything later. Get feedback (professional if possible), and learn as much as you can about the ins and outs of the publishing industry. AgentQuery.com is a great place to start. It’s also important to remember that most authors do not make a living wage from book sales alone. Many authors I know have day jobs as well.
If you’ve ever wondered about how I know these authors I work with, a few tips:
- Write them. Ask your favorite author questions. Comment on their social media pages. Every author has a website and an email address or contact page.
- If you see an ad or request to be a beta reader or leave a review. Do it.
- Develop relationships.
- Share your writing with other writers. Connect and learn.
- Listen and read. Everything.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out next week’s post. A list of books I’ve read and/or reviewed not already discussed in the blog in 2018.
If you’re new to the blog or are interested in my professional writing services or hiring a ghostwriter take a look around my website.
Break a Pencil!
© Lisa Street Rogers 2018