This month we asked nonfiction authors to answer this question: Have you been traditionally published? What have been the pros/cons?
I published my biography of Jim Penman, called Jim’s Book: The Surprising Story of Australia’s Backyard Millionaire, with Wiley. The drawbacks of publishing traditionally is that publishers can take over twelve months for your book to actually hit bookshelves, and the amount authors earn per book is very small. The positives are that you work with a professional, supportive team who not only edit and proofread your book, they design it, create an index if necessary, and then get your book into bookstores around the country. There’s nothing quite as thrilling as walking into a bookstore anywhere in Australia and seeing your book on the shelf! My experience with Wiley was fantastic, and I was lucky that Wiley have a much quicker publishing timeline: rather than over twelve months, it was under six (which is great for impatient people like me!). Website: https://catherinemoolenschot.com.au
As a Professional Ghostwriter, I’ve helped several nonfiction authors go the traditional publishing route. Whether published by a “Big Five” publisher or an independent press, my author clients have appreciated the industry credibility that a standard book deal offers. The up-front advance against royalties tastes sweet, too. With every set of pros comes cons, however. My authors aren’t happy with the low per-copy payout they get for each copy sold–or how long they have to wait after publication. I’ve also been on the receiving end of phone calls in which my authors have said, “The editor changed my words! It’s not me anymore!” An author’s voice is precious. It hurts when an acquisitions editor tells you that you can’t say X the way you want to. Overall, traditional publishing is worth it if your manuscript is industry-standard professional quality before you submit.
Joshua Lisec is the world’s only award-winning, celebrity-recommended, #1 international bestselling Certified Professional Ghostwriter. Joshua Lisec is the founder of The Entrepreneur’s Wordsmith LLC, Ohio’s first Certified Professional Ghostwriter (California State University Long Beach), a multiple time #1 International Bestselling Ghostwriter, a Forbes Contributor ghostwriter, a TEDx speaker, a leading authority on author voice authenticity, and a two-time published novelist. Since 2011, he has ghostwritten forty books. https://entrepreneurswordsmith.com/
I had a non-fiction book published by a traditional publisher and am now self-publishing my first novel.
My first book – ‘Making Babies – Personal IVF Stories’ was published by Scribe. For a first time author – I had a dream run. I submitted a sample chapter and they gave me a contract, a healthy advance and a three- month deadline to finish my manuscript. They then edited it, designed an attractive cover and best of all organised publicity. I did 14 radio interviews over two days, had a double page spread in The Age, appeared on breakfast TV and did a number of interviews for magazines and online platforms. The book helped me secure speaking roles and get a position on the IVF Australia Ethics Committee. My experience with self-publishing is very different. Although Critical Mass is very professional – I am responsible for proof reading, approving the cover design and all my own marketing.
Theresa Miller – journalist, media trainer, author. https://www.theresamiller.com.au/books
Until my memoir and first book, Depression Hates a Moving Target, was released by Mango Publishing, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about the process. Mango has the “behind-the-scenes” expertise to make my book succeed, so I’m very happy to have found a traditional publisher. Learning the “ins and outs” of self-publishing didn’t interest me. And, despite horror stories about publishers allowing authors no input, Mango has included me at nearly every turn. Shortly after we signed the contract, the Mango team invited me to help shape the publishing plan. I wrote the Amazon page, the book jacket copy, and the website description all of which my editor revised after the Mango team researched the search engine optimization. Mango allowed me to choose the cover image and to suggest the narrator for the forthcoming audiobook. Now that the book has been released, the Mango team supports my marketing efforts. Writers see how much marketing I do, and ask “You’re doing all the work yourself. Why not self-publish?” That couldn’t be further from the truth. I work in tandem with Mango. I provide material for Mango to use to promote my book. Instead of my doing 100% of the marketing, Mango has my back. This has been true throughout. I see no downside.
Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit for traditional publishing. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!