Self-publishing is a tricky double-edged sword. It can lead your book to a life of multimillions or your book can fall into the Amazonian Indie publishing trap where books are published and long forgotten. With the rise of DIY publishing and the changing state of the publishing industry, writers are left with the pressing question of which publishing avenue to take. A literary agent doesn’t always mean that you’ll become the next J.K. Rowling and a self-published ebook doesn’t necessarily transform you into E.L. James.
For writers, it can feel like they’re trapped between a rock and a hard place, and they’re too scared to make a decision because they might end up leaving the frying pan to only end up in the fire. (Okay, I’m done with the overwrought sayings—I swear). When it comes to the choice between self-publishing and traditional publishing, the choice ultimately boils down to the writers and their personal preference and experience. Yes, there are pressing changes in the traditional publishing industry, which are altering the way that books are delivered and consumed by readers. However, when publishing the focus should remain on the writers and their desires for either their book as a commodity, artistic entity, or a wonderful combination of both.
When writers are making the decision regarding whether their books should be self or traditionally published, they should remove themselves from the external influences and consider what is best for them or their work. The changes in both self and traditional publishing are blurring the lines between, which avenue is the “best”. In the end, there isn’t a right way. It’s always dependent on the writer and what he or she desires.