'Hurry up and wait,' or 'wait and hurry up?'
That's an authors choice when it comes to publishing paths, according to an article called "The Business Rusch: Hurry Up. Wait."
by fiction writer and blogger Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
Self-publishing involves a lot of upfront scrambling (finishing the book, editing, cover design, distribution, etc.). Then you wait, and wait, and wait for sales — sales which trickle in month-by-month but that may add up to significant revenue in the long-run.
Indie authors need patience and must understand that they're building a readership by word-of-mouth, one person at a time. Because eBooks have no shelf-life (or more accurately, their shelf-life is forever), the smartest thing an indie author can do to increase sales is to write the NEXT book.
Traditional publishing is an almost completely opposite model. You do all the waiting upfront (months or years to place the book in the hands of an editor or agent, months to negotiate the contracts, many more months to put the book and marketing plan together, even more months of pre-publication promo/publicity work, and then finally the big day arrives when your book is released to the public).
Now comes the rush! Your success, in the eyes of your publisher, is based on your pre-sales in the months leading up to your launch and your sales for the first 1-3 months after your launch.
Those numbers will determine whether you...