Traditionally, We Self-Publish

This is an Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. The IWSG is all about support, encouragement and connection with other writers as we dodge the rejection bullets together. If you’re thinking this sounds like a band of brothers you would like to join, come on over and sign up for the group here.

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IWSG is also on Twitter (@TheIWSG) and Instagram (#IWSG)

Don’t forget to hop around to the hosts for this month. Soak in their wisdom, and say thank you for hosting to Toi ThomasT. Powell ColtrinM.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler.

The question for this 5th of September is:

What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

The answer is; traditional publishing. With some caveats.

I want to traditionally publish because I need the advantage of a traditional publishing house platform. Their marketing, media, editing, designing, and support are all worth the exhausting task of querying, to me. I do not have thousands of Twitter followers, or a large, loyal Facebook group. Or, really, any readers at all, beyond the lovely people who come to this blog. (Hi guys!) A hundred, maybe two hundred readers a month if I’m lucky.

Marketing is brutal. I’ve made the analogy before, but I’ll make it again: trying to market is like standing in the middle of a jungle. Only it’s not a beautifully empty, cathedral green jungle. It’s packed FULL. You can’t toss a stick without hitting someone. And every single one of them is making their own personal noise. You’re trying to make your own special, unique noise (maybe a large macaw regurgitating fruit on a hapless tourist, kind of thing) and get noticed, but really, you’re just adding to the din. It’s purely a mess of noise.

angry dooting
accurate depiction of a marketing jungle strategy

Well, traditional publishers already have the advantage when it comes to the jungle. They have a foghorn, or a lighthouse that makes a huge boom. It’s not a guarantee, but it helps. As a teeny fish swimming in a big ocean, I need all the help I can get.

Also, if we’re being brutally honest, I’d like the gratification of making it past the gatekeepers. It would repay a million hours of querying rejection to know that a publishing house thought my manuscript was worth the investment it would take to bring it to book life. It would be like . . . *choir of bluebirds* *ray of celestial sunshine* *orchestra strikes chord for opening of big number*

calm down gif

Yes. Right. Sorry.

Anyway: caveat time. I’m also already published. Under the pen name Lili Draguer, by the small publisher eXtasy Books. They thought I was worth the investment of editing and cover design, and I want to make sure I’m worth their time so I am marketing the hell out of my books with them. It’s a bit like being a hybrid author, and I’m gaining invaluable experience, finding out all sorts of things about marketing, social media, calls to action, paid promotion. You name it, I’m learning about it.

I plan to stay with them as long as they’ll accept my work but . . . I’m also still querying. Someday I’d like to say that I’m both. A hybrid author publishing with a small house, and traditionally published.


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Karen Lynn

I thoroughly dodged this question as soon as it came up, but I think you answered it well. Congratulations on your books!

Toi Thomas

Happy IWSG Day!
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.
I love your jungle analogy. It’s great for trad publishing.
Seems like you are on the right path for you. That’s awesome.

D. R. Shoultz

The ocean is vast, and we are all teeny fish until we aren’t. Sounds like you are growing faster than most. Congratulations.


As someone who’s yet to be in the position of having something to publish, you’ve put into words both the practical and the ego-based reasons for going Traditional – thank you 🙂

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