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Phase 6: Time To Publish

Your novel is written, edited and polished.

Your pitch is slick, entertaining and captures the imagination.

Your bio is brief, interesting and showcases your commitment.

You stand at an intersection in the process. A crossroads.

Which do you choose? Traditional or self-publishing?

There are loads of experts with websites out there distilling the benefits of each path, and what may be appropriate for some may be inappropriate for others.

Go find these experts. Learn from these gurus.

Since pennies are abolished in Canada, I'll have to round up my two cents to a lone nickel:


The traditional route involves connecting with the proper publishing house. This may require having an agent already, ready to advocate for you and trumpet your accolades, or in rare circumstances getting your foot in the door unsolicited.

The self-publishing route has come a long way in the past 10 years. This may require you to be more technically adept at formatting, cover art and the like.

Either way, make sure your work is good and polished before showing anyone!

Each route has its pro's and con's.



- Structure in the process.

- Quality editorial input and garnering of reviews.

- Meaningful guidance through the legal and marketing landscape.

- Advocacy with book retailers and representation at author festivals.

- Industry credibility.


- Tough to break into, with strict requirements on how to approach them and often months-long waits to hear back from them.

- Legal expertise required (yourself or your representation); which rights will you insist on retaining, and which are you willing to surrender (e.g. last say on cover image)?

- Royalties typically at the lower end of the spectrum.

- Timeline is determined by their line-up / pipeline of projects.

- You often do much of the marketing legwork yourself.

If you're interested in traditional publishing or acquiring an agent, check out the annual Writer's Market books (recently purchased by Penguin Random House) for insight on what houses are looking for, and who to contact.

Here's the link to Robert Lee Brewer on - a helpful collection of Market books:



- Quality options have grown massively in the last decade.

- Set your own timeline.

- Control your own rights, such as price-points, international exposure, cover art, etc.

- Depending on platform, royalty rates are often better than traditional.

- Updating your material is usually quick and easy, and - more often than not - free.


- You do the legwork of formatting, uploading, monitoring publication quality.

- Your own network of solid editors and reviewers is required to ensure quality is high.

- Marketing and sales reflect your willingness to invest time and effort.

- You may need to contract, or pay royalties to, other artists for cover art.

- Not as inherently credible as traditional.

If you are interested in pursuing the self-publishing path, you'll find quality insights from the insightful and generous Joanna Penn at

Self-publishing has come a long way from the days of vanity presses. Today, this is a viable, practical path for many a career writer.


Me, I went the self-publishing route.

Although I wanted the credibility of the traditional publishing house, and to stand in the midst of experts who have made crafting novels for consumption their life's work, I was intrigued by the opportunity to do most of the heavy lifting myself, and was not willing to surrender my hard-won momentum by approaching houses with cold queries.

I did my own editing, supported by several trusted readers who helped me test my story.

I formatted my work for all platforms, using my skillset in MicroSoft products to full effect.

I created my own jacket art, employing my skills in Adobe Illustrator to bring life to my vision.

I've generated my own website - - and created all content, including this blog.

I've kickstarted a community of artists with shared interests - - known as the Lost Artists. We work and play at writing, video and photography.

Why wouldn't I bring these myriad talents to bear on my preferred profession?

Would be nice to get some professional accolades, though; I will admit that. Thus, I'm using my published status to approach industry mentors in search of healthy guidance.


You've worked hard to get your novel to be the best it can be.

It deserves the best chance it can get to be seen and read by many.

Do your research. Talk to other writers who have been published. Investigate the options.

This takes time.

It takes time to publish.

Invest your time wisely - your "future writing self" depends on it!


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