Malika Gandhi tells us her publishing story.
For many years, I have self-published my books using the Amazon platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have had highs and lows, and I’ve had fun too. But it has been a hard slog. Let me tell you a little about self-publishing, traditional publishing, and why I am choosing to transfer from self-publishing to traditional publishing.
Self-publishing means what it says on the tin. You do everything yourself, from writing, editing, proofreading, publishing, and then marketing. It can be a lonely business if you don’t have the support.
You use your own resources to pay for the services such as editing, and marketing too. It can become a very expensive business and you need a tough skin to take on board such a huge investment of your time and money.
One of the great things with self-publishing is that you have complete control over your projects, and you get to keep your rights. The downside is that you are alone in this journey and you have to pay upfront costs from your own pocket.
Here is some more information on the pros and cons of self-publishing.
Traditional Publishing is very different and it can take 1-3 years to have your book hit the shops after you have signed a contract with a publisher, and even longer to even be accepted by a literary agent. You have to be persistent and be willing to wait.
What traditional publishing can get you:
- An agent who will be your go-to person, who will negotiate contracts for you, and look at rights, subsidiaries etc
- A team of editors
- Some, if not all, marketing help
- A person from the publishing side who will be there for you
- No up-front costs or expenses
- Book deals
Here is some more information on traditional publishing.
My personal journey
I began writing my first book twenty-odd years ago. I remember it well; it was an exciting time because it was new to me. I wanted to go down the traditional publishing route like other aspiring authors.
After finishing the book, I approached many publishers and agents and I got rejection after rejection. Then I discovered self-publishing and published my first book, Freedom of the Monsoon (later retitled as Love in the Time of the Monsoon). I sold a few here and there but not enough. I then went on to publish two more titles—Where the Secret Lies, and Lost Soul (now called Aanchal).
During that time, due to lack of sales, I changed the cover of my books many times and changed the titles too. It didn’t change a thing, but I did love my covers and the name changes.
I received a lot of encouragement from my peers, family, and friends as I wrote those stories. It was a great time to be self-published. But then something changed in the self-publishing world. My sales dropped; I felt alone. I began to second guess myself and my ability to write good, publishable books. Perhaps it was just the marketing. I was always trying to find ways to get more readers and reviews. And I was exhausted.
I wrote in different genres in that time, historical fiction, two paranormal romances, and recently a rom com. However, I now feel the time to change has come for me. The burn to be traditional published has stayed with me.
I want to have the feel of a traditional published book in my hands, I want a literary agent who becomes my friend, my encourager, my go-to person who I can bounce ideas off. I believe they are the experts, and they know what may work and what won’t.
So now, I have decided to take that route. I will be writing a YA Fantasy book for the traditional publishing route.
To follow my writing, come and join my Facebook group.