When I wrote my first book, writers had few choices. They could submit to traditional publishers and hope and hope and hope that one of them would pick up their book. They could self-publish, which involved dealing with printers and taking on large production costs, and then hoping and hoping and hoping to find bookstores that would be willing to sell the book. (A rare and expensive option that worked best for poetry and for non-fiction aimed at a specialty audience … and not particularly effective even for them.) Or they could turn to a vanity press—which was such a bad situation for writers who fell into the clutches of the vanity presses that it could almost not even be called an option at all.
Times have changed—oh how they have changed!—and authors have many choices: traditional publishing with a large or medium size publisher, traditional publishing with a small press, self-publishing (which bears almost no resemblance to self-publishing back in the twentieth century) and a hybrid approach, combining traditional publishing with self-publishing. Each of these can lead to spectacular success or spectacular failure. Reasonable expectations, researching your options to find out exactly what is involved, hard work, and finding the right approach that works for you are key.
Four of us (Thaddeus White, Em Tett, Jo Zebedee, and I) are collaborating on a series of articles about these alternatives, the challenges involved and the opportunities. Articles will appear on our respective blogs on Fridays throughout August. Look here for links on the main page of this blog, as the articles appear.