Short Saturday: A Considered Discussion of Traditional Versus Self

You know what I mean.

A friend of mine—a professor of English lit at a local university who is just weeks away from having her first book (traditionally published nonfiction) in her hand—recently asked me about traditional publishing as opposed self-publishing. It seems even in academia, the “publish or perish” expectation is pushing some authors toward self-publishing.

It’s a tough question, still, and will continue to be. Publishing expert and thought leader Mike Shatzkin had an interesting post this week on this very subject—and what Hugh Howey, an influencer for and successful self-published author has to say about it.

Shatzkin says,

Howey and I have had numerous private conversations over the years. He’s intelligent and sincere in his beliefs and truly devotes his energy to “industry education” motivated by his desire to help other authors. Yet there are holes in his analysis of the industry and where it is going that he doesn’t fill. Given his substantial following and obvious comfort level doing the marketing (such as it is, and it appears Howey’s success as an author hasn’t required much) for his own books as well as his commercial performance, it is easy to understand why he would never consider publishing any other way but as he has, as an indie author who is “all in” with Amazon. But he seems to think what worked well for him would work best for anybody. … It is impossible to quarrel with the fact of Howey’s success. But he makes a big mistake assuming that what worked effectively for him makes self-publishing the right path for anybody else, let alone everybody else.

Then he goes on to give a very thoughtful analysis of Howey’s points, and the publishing industry in general. Interestingly, Howey is a novelist. Yet Shatzkin’s title is “In an indie-dominant world, what happens to the high-cost non-fiction?”

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, or whether you’re simply a reader of either, you should have a look at this article.

Tweet: Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, or whether you’re simply a reader—read this.
Tweet: Traditional or self? Everyone has to decide for himself.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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One Comment

  1. Karen Clark says:

    Perfect timing! Enjoyed your post and the very informative articles. Thanks!