No doubt about it, self-publishing is not an easy route to take. But there are definite advantages. These are some of the factors that made me decide to give it a shot:
1. The Current Traditional Publishing Climate
The recession has hit the publishing industry, just like every other. Agents and publishers are less willing to nurture new talent; they’re looking for the next blockbuster, ready-made. The trouble is, blockbusters are hard to predict, and many very successful authors never produce one. Never has it been more true that rejection is not reflective of quality.
2. The Difficulty of Publishing in Certain Genres
I write fantasy fiction, which is more competitive than some other genres. A well-known American literary agent conducted a poll among her blog readers (mostly authors). 26% of those who responded wrote sci-fi/fantasy. After doing some research, the agent discovered that only 6% of fiction published in the previous year was sci-fi/fantasy. I believe this is an error on the part of big publishing houses. Writers write what they like to read, so assuming writers are representative of the population at large, there is a much larger audience for this genre than has been acknowledged in the industry.
3. Creative Control
Once you are traditionally published in a specific genre, you are locked into that genre. Yes, there are authors who have successfully published in more than one genre, but that is one of the perks of being Ken Follet, Steven King, or Anne Rice. A prolific backlist of successful titles gives you pull.
Even if you’re with a traditional publisher, you still have to do your own marketing. If you have to do the work anyway, you might as well get a better return for it.