I've combined two posts by Phoenix Sullivan here - the first is a reminder amidst all the self-publishing hype that not every method works for every writer:
Leaving aside issues of ego and desire, where some authors will only feel validated and complete when they see their physical books on physical shelves in their hometowns, let's examine the business side of traditional vs self publishing, and why going traditional is still a viable option -- for some. Interestingly, it wasn't that long ago when this examination would have been between print publishers and digital-only publishers. Consider for a moment how the very definition of "traditional" has changed in a few short years.
She lists what this means (quoted verbatim from the article):
- The Big 6 with (potentially) aggressive print and digital distribution
- The mid-size publishers (think Harlequin) with equally (potentially) aggressive print and digital distribution that caters in general to a more niche audience
- Small print-first publishers that concentrate on print distribution and supplement (often heavily) with digital
- Small digital-first publishers that concentrate on digital distribution and supplement with print-on-demand for select titles
- Small digital-only publishers that operate virtually
- Publisher coalitions that assist members primarily with digital publishing, which includes many of the recent agent/publisher models
- Self-publishers with a primary concentration in digital
Her article is detailed, examining each of these in turn, and dovetails nicely into a more recent post by Phoenix, which looks into whether small publishers might be a good fit for you:
As with most questions, the answer is ... it depends. One of two statements must be true for you to even consider it:
- You have life challenges (work, family, volunteer commitments) that preclude you from studying the book industry well enough to make savvy business decisions and/or from overseeing the details of editing, covering and publishing the book yourself.
- The small publisher offers value-add in the form of benefits that aren’t in your arsenal.
She continues, and again, it's a lengthy article that delves into that list and also analyses a handful of things to be wary of (eg. long-term commitments).
Definitely worth a read:
But everyone's situation is different, as is everyone's measure of success or degree of expectation. All I ask is that you be smart in choosing your path. And I'm betting that's what you want too.
The first article is here: http://phoenixsullivan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/some-authors-do-in-fact-need-publisher.html
And the second here: http://phoenixsullivan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/is-small-publisher-right-for-you.html