Traditional or Self-Publishing?
The real question you need to be asking yourself is "How much control do I really want over my project?"
For those who are okay with giving up some control and getting someone else to handle the details of publishing, they go the traditional route.
For those who don't want anyone to mess with their project at all, they go the self-publishing route.
The traditional route is a little longer with more hoops to jump through. But once you're in, you'll find it has its perks.
The self-publishing route can be done faster, with you calling every shot. You'll have to pay for the necessary services yourself and handle the legwork involved.
Let's look at each one.
There's a certain amount of credibility that comes with getting your literary agent and having a publishing company sign you. They see potential in you, they like the book you've written, and they're willing to put their brand behind your book.
It does wonders for your ego.
You'll also have your book put into their distribution and wholesale supply chains. You'll find it on the bookshelves of major retailers and outlets.
Many publishing contracts also have the caveat that they'll get first look at your next book. Meaning, you write a second book that's in the same genre as the first, and you'll have less trouble finding representation. It's a sweet deal.
You'll have to figure out how to query, how they want the query formatted and then, if they do show interest in your work, you still have to wait while the literary agent shops your book around to publishers looking for a decent deal.
If they do find one, then the publisher takes over the creative side of the project. You may have a clause in your contract that stipulates you have creative control, but for first-time authors, this is rarely the case. The book cover, interior design, and back matter may not be to your liking. But the publisher will be the one in control of it, so tough luck.
You're in control!
You get to decide on the interior design, cover art, back matter, eBook distribution, print copies, etc.
All of it!
The book will look exactly how you decide it will look and you'll have complete control over the editing and final draft approval.
You'll have to pay for all of it.
You'll need to find a reputable self-publishing service that won't rip you off, as well as deliver the product up to your specifications. And they'll be charging you for it.
Then there's the fact that you still have to market the book yourself. Again, you'll have to have a marketing plan, and it's up to you to cover every dime of those expenses.
Both paths have their perks and their downsides. It's up to you to decide which one is best for you and your book. Your ghostwriter will help you along the way in determining what's right, but if it's a good ghostwriter, they'll respect your decision either way.
Keep in mind that this post isn't meant to deter anyone from publishing their book. On the contrary, this is to encourage you to move forward with this vital step. Because if you're informed, you're going to make a better decision.
The hyperlinks above are for the Chirps I recorded on the topic. Listen to them all for more information.
And then get to writing!