A big decision – what’s next?

I’m in a bit of a dilemma. The edit of Book One is now finished and I’m a little unsure of what my next step should be. Maybe you can help – I have a couple of questions that need answering:

Do I self-publish or try to get traditionally published?

The way I see it, both have their benefits and drawbacks, and I’m juggling between whether I want to get rejected all over again by agents, and how to make the time for everything that self-publishing requires while working full time. Traditional publishing can take months/years to get off the ground, even if you’re fortunate enough to get an agent and a publisher. If I self-publish, I could have my book on the market within a couple of months. Plus self-publishing gives me a bit more freedom with regard to deadlines and schedules.

Once I get an answer to that question, I then have another:

Do I start editing Book Two in the series, the novella I have waiting in the wings (also part of the series) or push ahead with writing Book Three?

Anyone who has read this blog will know how much I’ve hated this latest bit of editing work, but to be honest I’m really intrigued to see what Book Two and the novella are like. I haven’t touched Book Two in about a year, so I have a nice bit of distance from it, and the novella was finished in August, so that’s also had some cooling off time. I also learned a lot from my recent editing stint – mostly about how not to edit a book – but that’s all part of the learning curve, isn’t it?

I had thought that answering question one would bring me to an answer for question two but it hasn’t. If I decide to self-publish surely it would be better to have a number of books to put out over the course of the next year, which argues in favour of editing. However, this would also be true of querying agents. What if they ask to see what other work I’ve produced? I wouldn’t be happy handing them work which hadn’t had the life scribbled out of it by my red pen.

So, you see my dilemma. I’d really appreciate some help with this one, so please do offer your help and advice in the comments section below, or give me a shout on Twitter (@lmmilford). Your support is always welcome!

2 thoughts on “A big decision – what’s next?

Add yours

  1. I think your first question is one that many writers ask themselves nowadays and it’s a very valid question. The options are there. Choices. I suppose only you know the true answer. Each option had it’s pros and cons. Each author that had gone a specific route will sell you on that route, but the truth is, there is viability in both and you need to know what you want out of releasing your baby into the world.

    After that – I’d probably edit so you’re prepared and then move on to the next thing. For me I love editing. It’s when I can make that terrible mix of words that is the first draft into something that resembles a story, but we’re all different. Do what feels right. And some of it goes on your first choice.

    Sorry – no answers…

  2. Based purely on my own experience, I would recommend trying to find a publisher, at least for a while. What eventually worked for me was finding a very small, local, independent publisher, but even at that level there were two big positives. The first was that I received some objective, critical advice, both about my work and about the process and mechanics of publication. Yes, you can find the latter from many other sources, but receiving advice from somebody who has something invested in you is, I think, different. The second thing is the feeling of validation you get from somebody choosing to back your work when they have no other reason to do this other than that they think it’s worth it. Even from a tiny publisher like mine, I found the strength of this feeling to be enormous, and it helped overcome much of the fear and self-doubt that followed quickly on the heels of the initial elation at being accepted.
    Having said that, I wouldn’t rule out self-publication for a future book, having learned so much the first time round. I would also note that going with a very small publisher meant the gap between acceptance and publication was only about 8 months, and quite a lot of that time was spent on a further edit. Also, as somebody with very limited time available for writing, I found that the deadlines really helped, particularly on the marketing side.
    Hope this is useful.

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