Which is the most important part of the equation? Money? Creativity? Books?

Sunday, March 29, 2009
For two weeks, I've been in the throes of working out a collaboration agreement for a nonfiction book proposal, not to mention the pitch and the proposal. At one point I spoke to a creative person/writer friend about what a collaboration agreement entails and how to shepherd the work into print.
It seems every discussion of traditional publishing (which is the avenue I'm following) leads to a discussion of self-publishing (which my friend is considering). Often, it seems, financial considerations recede as a creative person "just wants to get my work into the hands of my readers." Oddly, when I've held a book to which I've contributed, it has been a thrill...but I've never actually met anyone who has read one of those books. The check for those works were maybe less thrilling and sometimes, in those books, my creativity might have taken a secondary role to my skills as a writer.
Fortunately, as I spend time Twittering or blogging, I believe I am able to reach my readers and I'm able to tap into my creativity. Not having an editor can be a fabulous feeling, but I cannot physically hold my work--I've even settle for reading one of my books in a Amazon Kindle. But, then again, when I look at the analysis of the locations of blog readers, I'm amazed at how far my reach can be on the Internet.
So, in the mish-mash of this post, I guess I'm trying to sort out which is most important: to keep plugging away at writing for traditional publishing? To write your heart out and self-publish to reach your audience (including writing rambling posts like this one)? To keep your eye on the financial bottom line? And where does creativity enter the equation? What are your thoughts?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a creativity coach and the moderator/main blogger for CoastalCarolinaMoms. She is also a freelance writer and ponders daily doses of creativity at TheWriteElizabeth. Once she shakes away all these ponderous questions about publishing, she plans on returning her focus to the book proposal. Really. Well, maybe, she might have to think about what to eat for lunch.


Margo Dill said...

The way I look at this debate is what is the purpose of your work. If you are writing a memoir or the history of your town, and you want to share it with your friends and family (and anyone else who wants to read it), then self-publishing may be the way to go. Self-publishing may also work if you have the funds and you know what you are doing with marketing and have the time to do it. For me, I want a traditional publisher, and I found a small one, and I am still waiting for my children's book to come out due to the economy. But that's okay with me. I just continue to work on other projects and TRY not to worry about it. So, I am blabbering too, but I think the underline thing you have to ask yourself is: Why am I writing this book? How can it best reach the people it needs to? Do I want the support of a publishing company (even if it's not much?) or do I want to do it on my own? I've heard a lot of self-published authors say it is EXTREMELY HARD work to self-publish a book correctly and successfully, but it can be done.

That's my two cents.
Margo :)

LuAnn said...

I've been struggling with this same question, myself. I would like to write a couple history-type books, but what do I do with them when I'm done? I certainly can't afford to self-publish, that's a given, but how many publishing companies would put out the money for those types of projects? The solution may be a university publishing house in the area where the book's focus is.

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