Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing


If anyone reading this has been following me for awhile, they know that I’ve been hanging, quite desperately, in the balance between self-publishing and traditional publishing. I’ve read up on both, but some of my hang-ups about traditional publishing were:

  1. These days, publishing companies expect you to do all the PR and marketing work. My online platform is a wee wittle one. It will grow in time, I’m sure, but for now, I’m singing on dilapidated stages with a faithful few as my enraptured (that’s you. you’re supposed to be enraptured. bibbity, bobbity, boo!) audience. Madison Square Garden is, per se, many, many leagues away right now. Also, while my family does have a platform here in Puerto Rico, it will take some time to regain it.
  2. The fact that I’m American, in Puerto Rico, writing about things that happened in Puerto Rico, creates a kind of jurisdictional question that makes me wonder how to narrow down my target audience. To me, it seems wiser to take it slow and steady, dividing and conquering. Traditional publishing won’t allow much time for that.
  3. The book rights. At this point, it’s important to me and my family to retain all of my rights.
  4. And last but not least, it never sat totally right with me. I see it in the future, sure, but not right now. I tried to. I tried to make it seem feasible and present… and all along, God waited patiently for me to catch on to what He was saying.


My hang-ups about self-publishing were these:

  1. Self-published books look like crap.
  2. They require a lot of elbow-grease and hard work to go anywhere.
  3. It’s more of a solo journey than a collaborative one. This would be a selling point for me in any other enterprise, but I am too anxious about the success of this one to allow for failure by my ineptness.

Between these two I have dithered. I have prayed and fasted and waited.

What is Your plan for this book, Lord? My heart has cried. What would You have me do?

For a long time, He was silent.


And then about a month ago, I had an eureka moment. I’ll just self-publish! I thought. I don’t remember what prompted this realization but it washed over me in one of those brilliant, clear waves. It makes so much sense! I’ll self-publish and build up my platform at my own pace. Once it picks up, I can consider approaching the big guys. The knowing was amazing: it was as if a literal lightbulb had been switched on in my brain.

Yeah, well, I was back to staring mournfully at my unfinished book proposal a week later.

The other night, I had the same exact epiphany. I was on Instagram and an author that I follow replied to one of my comments and told me she had self-published. I was amazed. Her book doesn’t look self-published. In fact, it looks very classy and very professional. Suddenly, I found myself awash in the rays of my mental lightbulb. YES. This is it.

And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.

Judges 6:17

Well, I’m a Gideon, I’m starting to learn. I need to be absolutely clear on something before I feel the confidence to go forward.

And God knows that about me. So yesterday morning, when my family and I had sat down for our daily prayer and bible study, my dad suddenly started talking about the book. About marketing and promotion and all the ideas he has. As he went on, I stood up to go to the kitchen to get water, and he suddenly exclaimed, “And we’ll self-publish!”

There went my lightbulb.

I felt almost giddy afterwards. This is it! This is the answer I’ve been waiting all these months for. This is the direction, the path God wants me to take! The peace surrounding that thought is really indescribable. It’s a peace I tried to invent when I thought about pursuing traditional publishing.

My doubts have been erased, my anxieties made null. I feel confident that this is the path that I am meant to follow in publishing my book. I feel also that traditional publishing will come in the future, in God’s perfect timing.

EEP! (Let’s take a moment to ponder together the origin of this word and why on earth I feel it’s necessary to use in expressing my excitement… have you pondered? I have. No luck. It’s a mystery even to me.)

Prepare to be inundated with all the self-publishing paraphernalia that I stumble across as I start the trek across the unknown!



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