Trade- vs Self-Publishing

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself since 2004 when I first learned of self-publishing. Although, what I’d been introduced to then turned out to be vanity- not self-.

And I’m not ashamed to admit that my inability to finish things was the only thing that kept me from taking a running leap at PA. In my defense, I was a teen and had no money, and they were the only ones, that came up in a quick google search, not asking for cash up front.

Nowadays I know better than to pay some outfit to stroke my ego and vanity publishing is of the table but self and trade are not. Both have their pros and cons, I know.  The big problem is figuring out which one fits my needs best. I want to be able to make a living with writing while at the same time avoiding fame as much as possible. I’m not a people person, so signing and interviews are things I dread.  In that regard, self-publishing might be the better option, but there’s marketing. I don’t think I’d be very good at that either.

And thanks to the aftereffects of a stroke when I was 21, I still don’t have anymore money than I did in’ 04, so with self-publishing my books would have to bring in enough profit to not only support me, but also themselves. There’s also the fact that I refuse to sell trash, so I don’t really want to put anything out there until I’ve made at least one sale to a magazine as proof to myself that my writing is worth money.

It’s a hard decision. that I’m currently postponing until December, when many magazine take a sort of Christmas break anyway.  Until then, I’ll keep subbing.


5 thoughts on “Trade- vs Self-Publishing

  1. I’m pondering this question a lot myself. I want the validation of traditional publishing, but the freedom of self-publishing. Which one matters more changes on a daily basis.


    1. Fully agree. Sometimes, I’m convinced that this is the story I’ll self publish. Then I start thinking, but if this is the one I sell. I can self publish if I can’t get it trade published, but I can’t really go the other way around.


  2. It’s a tricky choice to make. There’s so much crap flooding the E-book market that it’s hard to make your own work stand out, and often people don’t give new authors the benefit of the doubt, for good reason. The other day I picked ten random new authors and read the samples, just to see what folks were doing. Nine had spelling and punctuation errors on the first page! The last one wasn’t all that bad . . . so lets call it 90% rubbish and 10% acceptable. The problem with self-pubbing, especially online, is that, as you pointed out, there is no vetting process to separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff. Anyone can publish anything. For free!


    1. I’ve found some books I’ve genuinely loved under the self published ones but far more I couldn’t get through due to all the errors.
      The fear of being one of those 90% is one of the major things holding me back.


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