On her blog, Shannon Hale shares some thoughts on traditional vs. self-publishing. Very much agree with her stance overall, especially:
“For those who are self-publishing because they’ve been rejected by professionals, I would ask, Why in such a hurry to be published? Someday you may wish you waited to put your very best work out there. And if this book is your very best work and it’s smokin’ awesome, then patience, it will find a home.
For those who prefer the control of self-publishing, I say, more power to you. It’s not the route for me, but I can see it would appeal to some.”
The control factor seems to be huge in self-publishing. If you want to be the #1 person behind your books in terms of content, marketing, and sales, go for it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s doable.
But if you’ve been rejected by lots of editors and agents already, maybe your book isn’t ready to meet its audience. There are a lot of stories I’ve worked on that haven’t come to fruition and I’m really glad they’re not out in the world for everyone to see. Does that mean writing them was a waste of time? Of course not.
Like Shannon says, this does not mean that there aren’t fantastic self-published books out there. Heck, I’ve read some pretty amazing fanfics in my day, which were certainly as well-written as any given trade fiction. But if you want to go down the self-publishing route, you need to think a lot more about how your audience will find your book and why this is the best way for you to connect with readers.
Side note: every time I type “self-publishing” I really want to type “elf-publishing,” mostly because I like the image of elves in curled-toe shoes and adorable hats making tiny books.