May 25, 2012

New Neighbors: Self-Published and Traditionally Published Authors

Yesterday I highlighted some wonderful moments of my Gaithersburg Book Festival weekend. Today I wanted to use my experience to highlight traditional versus self-publishing.

Years ago, there was a definite, and too often deserved, bias against self-published books. Traditional books had the benefit of professional editing, designer book covers, distribution, and marketing.

Fast forward to today. Marketing dollars are only spent on proven authors, and more specifically, the Stephen Kings of the book world. All authors can be on Amazon and other online retailers and professional editing and designer book covers are available to both.

Case in point on marketing... my booth was right next to Kathryn Johnson's, award-winning author of over 40 novels, and traditionally published. I met Kathryn Johnson when she came to my Damascus, Maryland book club to discuss The Gentleman Poet (which I gave 4.5 stars here).

A lovely lady, but there she was right next to me, a self-published author. We sold a similar amount of books, and she had several showcased compared to my one. She was delightful and very neighborly.

Then, I turned around. Right behind me was... my book, Depression Cookies! I almost fainted. A local bookseller, Novel Places, agreed to carry my book and they chose to bring it to the book festival to highlight a local author. Imagine my delight and surprise.


I was standing talking to the owner, and thanking him for bringing my book (he even sold one!), when Eleanor Brown walked up to thank him for carrying her book, Weird Sisters, a traditionally published New York Times Bestseller.

I've been eyeing this book for months (she had me at the title!), so I bought it. She signed it and took this picture with me. She even asked for my business card after we talked about books for awhile.

Not for one moment did I feel less of an author with either of these lovely women. Or at the fair. People asked about my book and my journey, but not who my publisher was.

An absolutely amazing experience. I'm honored to be an author, and a self-published one at that.

Do you think the divide between self-published and traditionally published authors is narrowing?

8 comments:

Julie Glover said...

How fascinating that you posted on this! My blog today features an article on The Hybrid Author -- which is where I think plenty of writers are going. An entire writing career might have a mixture of self, indie, and traditional publishing - depending on the season, the genre, the writer's desires, etc. I do think the line is narrowing. I love your personal story in this post. It shows that at the end of the day, however you get there, we're all writers. We like to tell stories to readers.

Jaleh D said...

Self-pubbing is definitely getting more validation now. When I finally finish one of mine, I still want to try the traditional route first, but I'll keep self-publishing as an option. One of my friends was going to self-publish her novel, and then she got picked up by Spencer Hill. Turned out to be a great match, but she could have done well on her own, too.

Tia Bach said...

Julie, I'll have to jump over and check out your post. I felt a huge difference even from last year's festival re: respect for authors outside the traditional model.

Jaleh, I will try the traditional publishing route for my next two books, too, but it sure is nice to have options.

Thanks for always being so supportive, ladies.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful experience to share!

Having a traditionally published book is still on my bucket list, though I think I might be able to finally get the Great Big Novel out of my head and onto Kindle.

It's a good time to be a writer and be able to scratch our own itch. Getting picked up by a traditional publisher is just the icing on the cake.

Great post.

Dee

Dee said...

What a wonderful experience to share!

Having a traditionally published book is still on my bucket list, though I think I might be able to finally get the Great Big Novel out of my head and onto Kindle.

It's a good time to be a writer and be able to scratch our own itch. Getting picked up by a traditional publisher is just the icing on the cake.

Great post.

Dee

mmshaunakelley said...

Definitely a timely post and trending topic, and you have some great insights.

spaciireth said...

This post is really encouraging! Thanks for sharing your experiences. :D

Tia Bach said...

Dee, Thanks for visiting! I'd still like my name on a traditionally published book, too. Just cause. And I so agree... it's a good time to be a writer!

Shauna, Next year you should come to this fair with me! Would be a blast.

Spaciireth, Glad to. I felt encouraged!

I always appreciate comments. Thanks so much.