Friday Speak Out: Choosing a Publication Path (Part Two)

Friday, February 20, 2015
by Denise Jaden

Usually when I meet new or struggling writers, their eyes light up when I mention my experiences working with Simon & Schuster, but when I mention my other publishing routes, their eyes glaze over.

Last week, I shared about some of the benefits and challenges I have seen in working with large and small traditional publishers. This week I’ll offer some insight into Digital Imprints and Self-Publishing.

Digital Imprints:

These imprints (some birthed by The Big Five publishers) generally focus on digital versions of books. They may simultaneously produce print copies, but usually printed on demand, rather than in mass quantities. My latest young adult novel, Foreign Exchange, was published by the digital imprint Evernight Teen.

Benefits: This publishing method is fluid, and often those working behind the scenes are forward thinkers. Royalty rates are often higher. You may get to know most people at the publisher, which can feel very relational. There is a sense of openness toward new ideas for marketing and promotion, and digital publishers may be willing to take a chance on an unusual story because there is less of an investment risk to do so.

Challenges: Digital imprints may offer small to no advance payment to authors, and editing efforts will be lighter. They’re relatively unknown outside of writing/publishing circles. Review bloggers may be hesitant to review books from digital imprints, especially if it means reading via e-galley, rather than a print book. It can be more difficult to get the word out about a book with a digital imprint simply because of the lack of familiarity of the publishing name.


This includes any avenue in which the author must pay, or use their own resources, in order to have their books produced. My first nonfiction writing book, Writing with a Heavy Heart was self-published via KDP, Smashwords, and Create Space.

Benefits: Many of the benefits of self-publishing fall under the area of control. You as the author/publisher control how much and what quality of editing your books will receive, what the book will look like artistically, how and where it will be sold, and how you will promote it. Most of the profits, after expenses, will be yours alone.

Challenges: With self-publishing, many of the benefits can also be viewed as challenges. Being in control of every aspect of your books also means you are responsible for every aspect. You’ll need to hire your editors, formatters, cover designers, and promotional team, or take care of these aspects yourself. The professionals you hire do not have a vested interest in your book, so it is up to you to make decisions to give your book the best chance in the marketplace.

As you can see, publishing is no longer a one-size-publisher-fits-all landscape. Knowing the benefits and challenges ahead of time will hopefully help you navigate the changing terrain.

From your experience, are there other benefits or challenges to the publishing options I’ve listed? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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Denise Jaden's novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon & Schuster 2010), was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo. Her other fiction includes Never Enough (Simon & Schuster 2012) and Foreign Exchange (an Editor’s Pick with Evernight Teen). Her first non-fiction book for writers, Writing with a Heavy Heart, includes clear guidance and practical exercises to help writers get to the heart of their stories. Her second non-fiction book, Fast Fiction includes tips on constructing a story plan, as well as daily inspiration to keep writers writing, regardless of when the mood strikes. Denise spends most of her time home-schooling her young son (who is also a fast-drafter of fiction) and dancing with a professional Polynesian dance troupe.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Renee Roberson said...


I've really enjoyed reading both your posts about Choosing a Publication Path. As someone who is getting ready to embark upon the submission process for my YA novel, I was especially interested in learning more about digital imprints. I look forward to checking out your books, too!

Denise Jaden said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed my posts, Renee! All the very best to you in finding the perfect home for your YA novel :)

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