As an author, the biggest dream we have is to have our work in the hands of the masses. We want others to not only read our work, but be inspired, their lives changed, their hearts warmed. Actually, for myself, I just want to know someone, anyone has read my book and enjoyed it. One of the greatest joys for my writing career thus far was finding out I had sold copies of my paranormal romance, A Repeating Life, in the UK.
So, which revenue is best for an aspiring author: traditionally using a literary agent, or self-publishing through the many resources available? There is absolutely no way for me to include all the information I found on the web in one blog...at least not without making it ten pages long. Therefore, this subject will be broken down into a few Mondays.
To start, let's look at some of the success stories. The first one who pops in my head is the infamous Joe Konrath. Mr. Konrath was traditionally published for many years before opting for self-publishing. He has been known to sell 18,000 books in one month. He broke the chains from his publisher and went off on his own. Obviously, this is an exception, not the norm, but can you imagine selling this many copies of your work without having to share your income with several others?
Another seriously noted author is Amanda Hocking. In her early twenties, she wrote a couple of books, self-published them, and - voila - she's rich and successful. Okay, that's not quite how it happened. In Ms. Hocking's situation, she continuously worked on new books, reached out for review, and constantly put out new books. Eventually, all of her hard work paid off. But, as she says here, it a whole lot of work. Of course, with a traditional publishing house you'll still be doing a lot of marketing for yourself, but not nearly as much as when you self-publishing. You do all of your own marketing, your edit all of your own work or pay someone to do it for you (way smarter than relying on your own eyes), you make your own cover art (again, pay someone else to do it unless you're a graphic art graduate), format your book for both e-book and paperback, etc, etc, etc. I think I personally spend more time on everything but writing most days.
It needs to be said that Amanda Hocking recently signed a four book deal with St. Martins recently. You can read about it here.
There are many other success stories through self-publishing, but obviously way more through traditional publishing. I am in no way pushing for one more than the other. You need to find what works best for you. Would I go traditional if I was offered a decent contract through one of the big houses? Hell yeah! But I refuse to sit around and wait for fate to come to me...I'm beating on her door demanding some attention!!!!