Question: Traditional publishing or self-publishing: what do you think?
Publishing is hard right now, no matter which adjective precedes your path, and setting traditional and self publishing as oppositional helps no one. For one, many authors coming into their careers in this moment will eventually both self (aka indie) publish and traditionally publish. We no longer have to choose and the lines are getting blurry. Take that term indie writer, for instance. It's less stigmatized than the phrase self-publishing, which is a step forward on its own, but indie is also more accurate. We live in a time when any individual writer can set up a publisher, press or cooperative and/or hire professional-level support. Indie publishing can now be professional, quality publishing that differs from trad books mostly in how profits are dispersed and books are distributed. There's no need to set in opposition publishing paths that have far more in common than many outsiders expect.
Secondly, dividing writers based on publishing path only sets up comparisons, as if one option is verifiably better and the other worse — and as if when your book doesn't perform, the answer lies in your choice of how to publish. We blame the individual. We spend endless time arguing pro-con lists and rehashing success and horror stories, as if that analysis protects us against similar failure or the inevitable next unforeseen crisis that shifts the ground beneath our feet. Yes, publishing is in upheaval. The ground is freaking quaking on both sides of this mainly ideological fence, yet we blame the fence for our distress when we should be looking upward, toward the publishing's corporate fat cats and gorillas who have slowly decreased authors' percentage of profits for years without much organized protest. (https://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/profits-publishing-authors-perspective-743226) We can't organize when we're divided.
The truth is that it's hard out there for authors, period, on both sides of the fence. We are ALL poor and frustrated and overwhelmed by the world of marketing, working our typing fingers to the bone out of passion. We're all burnt out and even burnt up, forced out of the industry and back into (cue ominous music) full-time day jobs. Publishing is not going to stop changing or challenging us, but we can stop looking down upon and comparing each other. It's all the same boat. We're all on Team Books, and if we start playing like a team, maybe we can shape the rules of the game in the future to be more just for every kind of writer.
About Kate Jonuska
Kate Jonuska (http://katejonuska.com) is a Colorado native with a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Denver who went into journalism after college to pay the rent. She has since racked up a decade of experience writing features for top-notch regional publications, specializing in food, fitness, travel, and arts and entertainment.
Her passion, however, has always been for fiction and she's seen success in that arena, as well. With a writing style best described as Margaret Atwood meets Amy Schumer, Kate's short fiction was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and her first novel, Transference, published August 2017.
When her nose isn't buried in a book, you'll find her in the kitchen or in the yoga studio. Keep up with Kate best on Twitter: @kjonuska.