Polly CourtneyAn interesting article came my way about a UK author who began in self-publishing, got a contract with a legacy publisher, and then returned to self-publishing afterward.

Author Polly Courtney has an interesting perspective on the ongoing ‘indie vs. traditional’ debate we’ve been having here on TeleRead this week, because she’s seen both sides. One of the arguments the pro-traditional people always make is that traditional publishing offers authors the ‘advantage’ of not having to do the editing, cover art, promotion and so on themselves.

Courteney points out that this isn’t exactly the case:

“When I signed with HarperCollins, I thought ‘Great! This is the golden ticket I’ve been waiting for!’ I thought it would be a great collaboration between me and the publisher, given my success self-publishing my first two novels. The reality was a big disappointment.”

Courteney explains that the promotion budget was pretty much zero, so she had to do that all herself anyway, just as she did when she self-published. But because the publisher had their own agenda for slotting her into a strict genre label and tailoring the cover art and editing direction accordingly, the promotion was actually harder for her. Going back to self-publishing, she found herself doing the same grunt work, but with control again.

She also points out that the idea of self-publishing as being inherently mediocre because one person can’t possibly have all the skills to do a job isn’t by default  true either. As she explains in the article:

“The term ‘self-publishing’ is a misnomer; it doesn’t mean that the author takes on all the parts of the publishing process as well as the writing. The author orchestrates the editing, cover design, production, distribution and promotion, but doesn’t need to do all of them. In fact, there are certain things that a self-publisher shouldn’t do: namely editing and cover design. What I love about self-publishing is the ability to carefully choose those third parties and to work directly with them, instead of being at the end of a long chain of faceless entities in a publishing house.”

The article is well-worth the read. And below, check out the official trailer for “Feral Youth,” the author’s newest work, and the self-published book in question. Enjoy!


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