Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I like about being traditionally published

There is talk all over the internet about the pros and cons of self-publishing. If you think it's right for you, than by all means, do what you think is right for you.

But it bothers me when people start knocking those of us who have chosen traditional publishing and are continuing to choose, in this changing landscape, traditional publishing. So here is my top ten list of things I currently like about being traditionally published. Could this change in six months, a year, or two years? Of course.

I like:

10) Working with an agent, who is my business partner and so much more. I love having someone in my corner all the time, no matter what. Working with an editor, who is invested in my book, to make my work the very best it can be. The editor-author relationship is a special one. I think it's a little like having a really good personal trainer, who pushes you and makes you work hard because he/she knows the results are worth the hard work. Every editor I've had has made me a better writer, and has taught me something. Those are no small things.

9) Having a design team with people who are experts at design, and have studied what sells and what doesn't. I'm not artistic at all, which makes me appreciate what they do all the more. I've had so many people tell me I've been blessed in the cover department, and I couldn't agree more.

8) Having a publishing house that looks out for you and your books and submits them for awards and lists. I think it's wonderful to win awards and to be on lists! FAR FROM YOU and CHASING BROOKLYN were both chosen for the Texas Tayshas high school reading list. IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES was recently chosen as a 2011 Bank Street College of Education Best Book for 9-12 year olds.

7) Having an agent and/or publishing house who works hard at getting my books noticed overseas. CHASING BROOKLYN will be released in Korea soon and in Germany next year. I love that!

6) Getting picked up by Scholastic Book Fairs/Clubs. IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES has done extremely well in the book fairs and clubs. I'm positive that many lower-income kids, who wouldn't have otherwise had access to my book, were able to buy and read it because Scholastic picked it up after my publisher submitted it to them.

5) Having a sales team who works on my behalf to get my books in bookstores, and talks up my book to the necessary people so I don't have to worry about distribution at all.

4) Having a marketing team who sends books out to get reviewed, posts those reviews in relevant places,   and does some work on my behalf to get the word out about my book.

3) I can do as much or as little promotion as I want to. It's really the publisher's job to try and sell the book, so I think of most of the burden as being on the publisher. I do what I can, which is not a whole lot when you really get down to it. And the truth is, I don't want to do a whole lot. I really don't care for the sales part of the publishing business - it's definitely not my strength.

2) Doing school visits where kids can purchase books for me to sign so they can take them home with them. Which leads me to the number one reason.

1) Doing events where kids come with one of my books clutched tightly to their chests, the pages dog-eared, as they smily shyly and tell me how much they loved the book. Sometimes they tell me they've shared it with friends, and I like thinking about that book being passed from one set of hands to another, while the words, "You have to read this" are whispered.

I will respect your reasons if you choose to go the self-publishing route. I hope you will respect mine for choosing not to.

Wishing everyone much success, whatever path you choose!


  1. Yes, yes, and yes. I can't imagine doing this alone.

  2. You HAVE been blessed in the cover department! This is a wonderful list and it explains why so many of us are still going the traditional route.

  3. Wonderful post, Lisa! You express so well how important collaboration and partnership are at every turn of making a book.

  4. Okay, that last point is such a sweet image :3. Love it.