1) Does one go for a traditional publishing contract or try self publishing?
2) Should a writer work with an indie publisher?
3) Do you write fiction or non-fiction, or both?
4) Do you write for newspapers & magazines, or only books?
5) E-books or print?
The list goes on, but these are questions that every author faces these days. For me, I've been published numerous times. I started out with articles for local papers. Those weren't paying jobs, but I got my feet wet in the industry. Then, I went for freelance jobs for newspapers and magazines (paying gigs). Once I had honed the craft sufficiently I wrote two books which were published by two separate indie presses. These works are available in both print and e-books. Now, I'd like to go on to a bigger publishing house and try my luck with traditional publishing. To do this, I will need a literary agent. This requires sending a query letter, which I must admit is the hardest and most stressful writing I've ever attempted. A fellow writer compared it to going through a root canal. I've always taken very good care of my teeth, so I've not experienced that particular procedure. However, it does require a great amount of work - and thick skin. Rejections will (and have) come. The secret is to keep trying. Edit, edit, and then edit some more. Keep honing and polishing, and hopefully have friends that will comfort and support you. I'm blessed to have such special people who give me a gentle nudge, or a swift kick in the pants, whichever is needed.
Traditional publishing is hard; it's like the major leagues of writing. I want to play with the big boys. Not that there's anything wrong with self publishing or indie presses. One can make a good living with them. In fact, a writer should choose which path to take based on their gut. Whatever is most comfortable for them. For me, that is working with a team and traditional publisher. I know it's slow and tedious, but for a perfectionist like me, it will be worth it. I saw a report that indicated that 8% of traditional publishers made $100,000 or more last year, compared to only 1% of self publishers. I like research and editing, so this seems like a great fit for me. I want to write like Karen Abbott. Her latest book, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy Four Women Undercover in the Civil War is worthy of a Pulitzer.
So, that is the quality of material I'm reading as I edit my latest manuscript. Oh, I read indie and self published works, too. But I peruse those while I'm between projects. On the days I'm writing, I read only award-winning works in the genre in which I'm writing. Paying attention to style helps me hone my voice.
So for all you writers, thank you for your books. They're an inspiration. For all of you who want to write, I say write - and read. Go with your gut. Opportunities are awaiting!