Two posts ago, I discussed that one of the ways to make money with your writing was to—duh!write a book. I went into the two ways to do this, either by traditional publishing, the be-all and end-all to getting your book in the hands of readers for over a century, or by yourself.

In the last decade, the rise of technology and e-readers have made self-publishing a legitimate and viable option for those who want to publish their book. There are even some (Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, and Chuck Wendig to name a few), who are making six figures or more from self-publishing their work.

This post was originally going to be about the pros and cons of both types of publishing. After doing some research however, I now want to focus on the “controversy” swirling around the publishing industry recently. Because of self-publishing’s continued rise, there have been a number of events that occurred that are interesting to the aspiring author, and will give some insight into what the industry is doing today.

Because to be honest, trying to understand what route is best for you and your work can be downright exhausting.


            …Or just maddening.



Thus, I have included these topics and links to them for your perusal, so that you can make your own educated decision about which publishing path is right for you.

1) Discussions have been had about the “favoritism” that publishing companies and booksellers show to a select few authors, with the rest who have been traditionally published having to fight for meager sales and dwindling or non-existent royalties. Here is an interesting article about how the New York Times bestseller list is really compiled (and how it doesn’t necessarily mean those books are “selling the best”).

2) Chuck Wendig’s take on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing is all about how he is himself a successful “hybrid” author that does both types of publishing.

3) An interesting article about Barnes & Nobles’ “segregation” of self-published vs. traditionally published authors by Hugh Howey, with a HILARIOUS commentary added by self-published and NYT’s bestselling author Kendall Grey near the end.

4)  A handy-dandy bar graph depicting the earnings of self-published, traditional, and hybrid authors by Harvard grad and Sociology professor Dana Beth Weinberg. Not surprisingly, self-publishers had the highest amount of $0 income for their writing, and only dominated in the earnings category for $1 to $4,999 annually. Interestingly, hybrid authors ranked highest in the $100,000+ annual income choice, and did considerably well in all other income levels compared to traditional authors.

5) A discussion about why self-published authors have the ability to market their e-books and thus make money more easily, written by Highlights for Children VP of Sales Jack W. Perry.

6) A concise article written by literary agent Rachelle Gardner about why authors benefit from working with traditional publishers,

7) USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith, who has published over 100 novels, on his thoughts about indie vs. traditional publishing (and why indie is the way to go).

8) An interesting blog post done by Smashwords, one of the main distributors of indie books, on how self-published authors are projected to hold 50% of the e-book market by 2020.

9) And finally, for those not faint of heart: An in-depth exploration by author Courtney Milan of both types that is geared to authors that have already published traditionally and are considering self-publishing.

It deals heavily with advances, royalties, and the differences between incomes that you can expect if you are contemplating differences between the two. Not as applicable to unpublished authors — but still informative.

Hopefully this is an overview into both the controversy and the changes that are taking place in the publishing industry today. And instead of feeling intimidated, feel excited! The market is changing, and these changes are all to benefit the writers!

Next post will focus on a more detailed exploration of traditional publishing, and how to go about pursuing the traditional market if that is what your heart desires. There’s no shame in wanting to feel the validation that comes with seeing your book on a Barnes & Noble shelf.

Until then, keep writing and keep dreaming!

For more information on Ashley R. Carlson, see “About the Author” below and find her dilly-dallying at her:

Twitter: @AshleyRCarlson1


Midnight Publishing offers skilled and affordable media architects for manuscript editing, self-publishing consultation and guidance, and author marketing. The ultimate role of the editor is to help the author connect with the reader. A good editor enhances that connection, providing another eye and view for the author. Our editors are artists of language, grammar, and the mechanics that help a manuscript take the journey from ordinary to great. Midnight Publishing also offers self-publishing consultation, query letter editing, graphic and web site design, business copy writing and editing, and more.

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