Flake-Out Friday: Impromptu Poll

Ok, so since I’ve jumped back into querying (after over 15 months away from it), I’ve been considering back up plans and options. I *know* my writing is 100% better than before, HOWEVER, there’s still the chance that I won’t get anywhere with “traditional” publishing. (Gonna give it my best, tho…I just can’t quit until I give something my best. Call it a character flaw, LOL!)

Well, what’s out there for us talented writers who happen to be “unlucky” in the query game? I know opinions vary widely, and I respect everyone’s thoughts and viewpoints. To me, you gotta do what works best for you, yes? Yes. That being said, I’m insanely curious about how people choose which avenue they pursue for publishing.

Check out this post on Nathan Bransford’s blog (thanks, Akossket, for pointing it out!)

Some options (let me know if I left something out!):

  • Traditional Publishing
  • Self-Publishing
  • Small Press

I have the following questions for you:

  • Of these choices, which do you prefer and why?
  • How did you come to this conclusion?
  • Did you try other methods first?
  • What are the pros and cons of each?

Man, heavy stuff for a flake-out Friday, right? Listen, for your hard work, I’ll leave you with the following funny:


 funny pictures - Quelle surprise.



24 comments on “Flake-Out Friday: Impromptu Poll

  1. Trisha says:

    I would prefer them in this order:

    1. Traditional publishing
    2. Small press
    3. Self publish

    Mostly because I guess I’d like to be validated by at least one other person thinking my work is worth publishing, not must myself. LOL. But I’d totally go the self-publishing route if nothing else worked out. I guess it’s just a matter of when to call it quits with the way you REALLY wanna do it, right?? I mean, do you wait till you’ve had beta readers go “this is 100% awesome and you can do it!!” and still get rejected by 100 agents? When do you give up?

    It’s the sort of question I don’t know that I can really answer.

  2. Trisha says:

    and by ‘must’ of course I meant ‘just’…’cause, ya know, that’s obvious. hehe

  3. vixter2010 says:

    I’d rather go for traditional publisher first just because I have that dream of being on the book store shelf!

  4. Kendall Grey says:

    Self-publishing all the way. I pursued the traditional route for years. Got a few nibbles here and there (NEVER from queries – all came from pitches or contests. An aside: if you pitch to an agent/editor, they will ALWAYS ask for something. I suck at pitches, but I’ve never had anyone turn me down in person. I think agents/eds feel bad for people and do it out of pity. No joke).

    I will *never* try tradional again. Self-pubbing gives me the control I crave. Yes, it’s hard work and costs money – you absolutely MUST pay for professional editing and cover design at the very least – but to me it’s worth it to see my stories in print. 99.999999% of writers will never get their work published any other way. It’s a fact of an elitist business that still puts out loads of garbage. No thanks! I could be totally off-base (probably am), but I believe my writing is better than a lot of what gets published traditionally.

    I’ll do it my way.

  5. Carradee says:

    It depends on the book. I have 2 series I’m working on, right now. One I know is structured in a way that wouldn’t probably wouldn’t work too well with a trade publisher, and the other one which I highly suspect wouldn’t work well with a trade publisher. Just with how the genre works, and how trade publishers market things, and so on.

    Besides. I actually like cover design and such.

    But I also have some works on the back burner right now that I’ll probably at least try to find a trade publisher or small press for, when I finish them, because I think they would fit those models well.

  6. Vicki Tremper says:

    I think you’ve got great opinions already. I agree with Trisha’s order, but Kendall makes a great point. You and I have both been surprised at the quality of some of our recent reads. The current publishing industry is a bit of a dinosaur, with big changes coming soon. Writers need to be willing to accept those changes.

  7. I agree with Trisha’s order for my fiction, but I plan to start with small press for my nonfiction. Niche markets and all that. 😉 But maybe fantasy has become a niche market, so I should look harder there. Agents certainly haven’t nibbled. Le sigh. I’m not up to self-publishing – I’m no good a marketing.

  8. Melody says:

    At this point, I’m still aiming for traditional publishing. But I’m very aware that my book is odd (Edgy Christian YA), and I’m prepared to self-pub/indie-pub it as an e-book, because I think it is a good book, and that people will like it and get something out of it. But I won’t hold it against traditional publishing, because it really isn’t something that fits into the mold. If they choose it, great! But I’m not opposed to self-publishing at ALL.

  9. Lydia K says:

    I am going to try the traditional route first, but I would self publish as a back up. It’s a very, very good back up, so long as you know your MS is as good as it could be and you’re willing to do the publicity.

  10. WoMan, you’re making us think on Flake-Out-Friday! Ugh. I’m going with Trish’s order as well for some of the same reason.

    But, I wonder where does finding an agents come into play, if at all? Self published books don’t use them. Small press publishers don’t always need them. It helps if you have one for traditional publication.

  11. Olga Kotova says:

    I always love reading the impressions of the professional life of a writer. I find quite a lot in common with artists 🙂 Or with any creative profession.

  12. My hubby won’t let me go self-publishing until I’ve given traditional publishing a thorough go. I’m almost ready to start querying… eek.

  13. I will seek traditional publishing (if I ever get it FINISHED!!!). Reason: I want a traditional publisher for my first novel. I want to know that someone with a good sense of what will work is satisfied with my work. Then, if my novel is published and sells many copies and is considered a success, I might consider the other options for the next.

    I’ve heard lots of stories about many rejections finally ending in a fabulous success, so keep sending out your work. Blessings to you, Laura…

  14. I have several thoughts on this.

    Maybe there’s a reason no one is interested in a given book. It might be a simple as it’s not right for the agent or editor or publisher. But maybe, despite what you and your CPs/beta readers believe, it’s not ready to be published.

    The only time I would consider self publishing is if it came so close to being published the tradtional route, but in the end was rejected. Only then would I be 100% confident in the book.

    Small press isn’t always the best way to go (over self-publishing). I know someone in the above situation. It was close with a major publisher. In the end a small press did ofter her a contract, but she realized she was better off self-publishing. And I agree with her decision. It was the smart choice for her.

  15. Ciara Knight says:

    I believe it is a personal choice. Some people are great at promoting themselves and their work. Those people will probably do great with self-pub. Others, who don’t like promoting or are extremely shy it might not be the right choice. It is an individual decision. I’m just so glad we have choices now. 🙂

    Kendall, I have to share that my first ever face to face pitch at RWA Nationals the woman cut me off in two sentences and said. “Old news, what else you got?” No joke! I was devastated and felt like a little school girl being yelled at by her teacher.

  16. roguemutt says:

    I think Trisha is right. After you’ve struck out with the agents, try the small presses. If that fails, then go with self publishing as a last resort. It’s a lot of work and very hard to get noticed on your own.

  17. Donna Hole says:

    I know where you’re coming from Laura. The odds are so overwhelming to land the dream agent. I have a mark against me b/c I just don’t spend enough time romancing the blogs/FB/Twitter, and all the other online resources. My day job is my life; my writing is the dream.

    I put 100 percent effort into my writing though, and I get frustrated at every rejection. I’m not querying as much as most. 10-15 rejections a week would probably kill my aspirations. So I query one agent at a time. (Well, sometimes as many as three/five in a month) Not productive, but not devastating either.

    My first choice is the traditional publishing route. Agent, publishing editor, published with a nationally recognized big house. I’m dreaming the big one; wanting the big advance, national reviews, my 15 minutes on Oprah (is she still around?). I want the great American publishing dream. So I’ve been working my way through the top agents in my genre, cuz a high profile agent means a large advance, and guaranteed to attract a major publisher, and my book will sell with the hype long before it hits the shelves. And, I won’t have to leave my home to accomplish all t his publicity.

    I’m not surprised at the rejections. Really, I’ve not put enough energy into my writing to make it “the next new thing”. Hey, a miracle could happen . .

    My second choice is small press. I like small business attitudes and energy. I like the personal attention, the willingness to take a risk. They are as eager as I am. Not well connected, but it only takes one or two best selling authors to raise the publishing house’s status. Mutual benefits. I like the idea.

    The drawback here is that the publisher is so focused on story concept they forget to focus on writing skill and basic composition. The self editing required of a small press is amazingly lax. Unless the author is proficient in grammar, spelling, structure, etc; the good story may be unread due to reader fatigue. Still, there is a comfort in knowing someone in the publishing business, who doesn’t know you personally (this includes long time followers) has taken an interest in your writing.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever consider the self/inde pubbed route. I’ve seen too many blogger on-line excerpts that are awesome for the few lines of the scene, but the overall book concept can’t support the few excellent glimpses. I’m afraid I’ll fall into the over-confidence that all my writing is underappreciated by the publishing houses.

    I need an industry professional to tell me I’m worthy of publication. I’ve got my eye on a few small presses that are doing well; and publishing polished works, offering some amount of publicity, stretching their limited resources. They are as hungry as the authors, but not willing to settle just to have something to publish.

    LOL; I guess I should call myself a snob. A good writing concept doesn’t make a good writer. Maybe you’ve talked me into contacting them (small presses) now, instead of making my slow plodding way through the high profile agents that need a previoulsy published history before they look at your submitted query.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post Laura.


  18. I’m still trying to go the traditional publishing w/ agent route. Just got my first query acceptance reply, so hopefully that will lead to an actual agent-client relationship. (Woohoo!) But even if not, I just feel like I would have absolutely no idea what to do about anything really without an agent, so yeah…it seems sort of like a necessity for me.

    Good luck!

    ❤ Gina Blechman

  19. Nas says:

    It was interesting reading through your post and then through everyone else’s perspective.

    Earlier I came across this post and the hard work in even self-publishing as described by this friend is enormous.


  20. Catherine Johnson says:

    I’m a bit with Melody, my book is a little odd too in that it is an MG novel in rhyming verse and they are quite rare. I really don’t see myself going self-publishing route so it’s going to be the long haul for me I’m afraid. I believe that as writers our next piece is always better so its not a case of trying another avenue rather another story.

  21. Kari Marie says:

    This has been so interesting reading everyone’s responses. I don’t think I would try self-publishing only because I know my limits and I’m not a great marketer of myself. I haven’t thought much about small presses, but I might agree with Stina, that if I wasn’t getting serious interest from agents/publishers, I might set the book aside.

  22. Hi Laura,

    I’m in the same position as you right now. I began querying a few weeks ago after an eighteen month lapse. Lots and LOTs of revisions on my first novel.

    I would certainly like traditional….. My story word work best mainstream, but the odds are well you know.

    Small press next. This could give the individual attention it needs to really be a success, but they might not be able to get it where it needs to be.

    Self publish as a last resort… because it NEEDS to be read.

  23. Linda Gray says:

    You’ve zeroed in on our publishing top-of-mind issue these days, Laura, that’s for sure! I’m still most interested in traditional publishing, but with a small press, i.e. the kind of small press that has a big reputation and does a lot to support its authors–e.g. Algonquin, Minotaur, Soho. Best of both worlds, unless you can’t live w/o the relatively big advance you might negotiate from one of the Big 6. (I think the big advance is becoming a myth these days, except for the anointed few).

    Self-pubbing is making huge strides, though, so we all might be taking a more appreciative look at some of the efforts in that category soon (like Abbott from Writer’s Digest, where, I understand, really good programs of support and interaction are not just a myth, but a fact).

  24. I prefer the traditional rout. Because I believe that publishers are much better at getting books out there and getting publicity. I have not tried any of these methods yet because I am only on my first book and it isn’t ready for querying yet.

    I know there are pros to self publishing, but I want to try the traditional rout first.

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