Self Publishing or Traditional Publishing? Which Way Do You Go?

In some circles, self-publishing carries a certain stigma that insinuates that the author does not “have what it takes” to produce a real book. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Some of the greatest literary works in America were self-published. Thomas Paine’s and Benjamin Franklin’s works were printed on small printing presses in the predecessor of what is today the modern garage workshop. Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Henry David Thoreau’s On Walden’s Pond were all self-published works that have stood the test of time and are recognized around the world as great standards of literature.

Your mother probably has The Joy of Cooking on her shelf. It was originally self-published in 1931. It has never gone out of print! Many authors who are turned down by agents and publishers quietly paper their study with the rejection slips as they tuck their beloved novel or non-fiction into a bottom drawer to be dusted off on rare occasion.  What a shame!

What do you get today if you sign with a major publisher? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Just because you have been turned down by your publisher does not mean your work is not worthy of an audience.

Here are some good writers who originally self-published as they had been turned down by every traditional publisher:

L. Ron Hubbard – Dianetics

James Redfield – The Celestine Prophecy

Richard Evans – The Christmas Box

Patrick Snow – Creating Your Own Destiny

Richard Nelson Bolles – What Color is Your Parachute

The list goes on and on…never give up on your writing dream or your passion. If you sell 20,000-30,000 copies of your book, you already have done better statistically than 2/3 of the authors published by traditional publishers.

Go out there and join the growing ranks of self-published authors. You will be in good company with e.e. cummings, Edgar Rice Burrows, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, and Rudyard Kipling just to list a few. 

Keep writing, have courage, be dedicated to making sure good writing (and not just popular writing) is made available to the public. Writing and promoting your book is hard work.  If you chose to self-publish and work hard for yourself, you will no doubt take great pride in not only retaining control of the content but reaping the profits as well. 

 Shannon Evans, senior editor and owner of lives with her best friend Rick on Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound just a “ferry ride from Seattle.”

She works with her two Labrador assistant editors, Mocha and Luke, and her feline copy edit assistants, Caesar and Yoda. Shannon is widely recognized as one of the top writing coaches for non-fiction authors. With over 17 years  teaching composition and technical writing to native and non-native English speaking students she knows how to help every writer make every word count.


About mywritingmentor

I am an editor, book coach, and freelance writer.
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