At least once a week I’ll come across an email, article, or blog post debating the merits of being a traditionally published author or an Indie author. It seems everyone has an opinion on which is best; yet it seems it is always all one or the other. Certainly, there are merits for the both sides of the argument, but I can’t help wondering why authors feel there is only one right choice for all their work.
I have four children, and my husband and I did everything we thought best to raise them. Even as babies, it was apparent that they weren’t all alike; each had a different timeline for walking and talking, different interests, and very different personalities. We fed them, clothed them, taught them manners and (hopefully) empathy for others. We saw to their education, and advised them when they had issues with friends, school, jobs, and other life issues. As they grew towards adulthood, they learned differently and have had different career paths. Sometimes those journeys veered away from the intended goal to morph into something totally different. Yet, each has succeeded in their own way and they are all productive adults.
My writing is similar to my children. (There is a reason we call our books our babies!) I try to capture each piece of information, each thought on the page; then I rewrite, edit, and polish until I think it is the best I can do. This may take weeks, months, or even years to complete, but at the end I know I’ve “raised” it to be the best it can be. Then it is time to let it out into the world.
Each book or piece has its own journey, its own path to being. And consequently, the route to being published is different for each. Blog posts have their home on the web; articles are sent to suitable magazines; books also need their appropriate place, but again, each will be different.
At HWA, we do not believe there is only one “right” way for your book’s path. Our goal is to provide informative sessions and articles that will help you craft the best work possible, find information on all the various types of publication, and help you promote your work, and provide and identify opportunities, whether it is finding an agent, working with editors, or pinpointing marketing opportunities. The HWA community can provide intellectual and emotional support for you, the writer, as you go through the journey, but ultimately, only you and the individual work can determine the best path. We at HWA are excited to be on the journey with you!
Soni (Theresa Guzman Stokes) is Executive Director of the Historical Writers of America (HWA).