Why I Accepted Two More Traditional Book Deals

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

These days, indie authors everywhere are singing the praises of self-publishing. In fact, lately I've heard a LOT of positives from those going indie.

The latest issue of the Romance Writers Report through RWA had an article titled, "On the Hunt: A Look into Indie Publishing." At least twice (if not more) the article stated something similar to this: "In all these discussions about indie publishing, not one author said she regrets her decision."

From what I can surmise, most writers who try indie publishing seem to be very satisfied with that option. Some have even gone on to be very successful, hit best seller lists, and make a good living from it.

However, for each indie best seller, there are many self-published writers who have a difficult time making headway with sales. We usually don't hear as much (if anything) about those authors. Why aren't they as vocal about their experiences (compared to those who make it big)?

Perhaps their optimism is still high. After all, the indie movement is young and the possibilities are limitless. Or perhaps those writers are less inclined to open up about failure. It's always easy to share good news. But who wants to stand up and talk about how their efforts were unfruitful?

Whatever the case, indie publishing is spoken of so highly nowadays that as a traditionally published author, sometimes I can't help second-guessing what I'm doing.

But I hesitate only for a minute, then I remind myself there aren't any perfect methods publication. There are always drawbacks to any decision. Ultimately, I have to make the choice that seems right for me personally.

All that to say, over the past five months, I've been offered and accepted publishing deals with two other traditional houses (in addition to Bethany House, the publisher I've been working with over the past few years and will continue to work with). (Many thanks to my new agent, Natasha Kern, for her hard work making it all happen!)

One of my new deals is with Harper-Collins Publishing (Zondervan division) for three young adult(YA) books. As a historical writer, I've always adored the age of daring knights, daunting castles, and the beautiful but courageous ladies who not only fought against evil but also fought to find their true love.

I'm delighted that I have the opportunity to write these exciting and adventurous "fairytale-like" stories that both teens and adults will enjoy. The first book, An Uncertain Choice, releases next spring, March 2015. Here's a sneak peek! Be looking for the full gorgeous cover reveal soon!!

The second deal I'm thrilled to announce is with Penguin Random House (Waterbrook division) for a book very dear to my heart. It's a historical that I wrote about six years ago. However, for a variety of reasons, the book just sat collecting dust.

Finally after all this time, my dream of seeing it in print is coming true! The book will release next fall, Sept. 2015. While I can't share much information about it yet, I guarantee that you'll find it fascinating (especially if you've liked my other stories inspired by real life people from history).

You might be wondering why I've chosen to continue with traditional publication, especially when so many writers are lauding self-publication. Here are a few reasons:

1. With my busy life stage raising five kids, traditional publication frees me up to focus more on my writing output. I don't have to concern myself with everything involved in publication like getting an ISBN number, writing blurbs, contracting editors or formatters or cover designers, etc. I can focus the majority of my limited work time on writing.

2. I value the input of editors within the traditional publishing industry who've been in the business for years and who have a pulse on their specific markets. Such editors are able to give big-picture/content edits that are invaluable.

3. I appreciate having the guarantee of high quality covers and books without any worry on my part. My publisher is as invested as I am in seeing that the book has an excellent cover, is formatted to perfection, and has no errors.

4. I like having my books in a physical store. Even though shelf space is shrinking, it's satisfying to know readers can browse and pick up my book from a real shelf.

5. While some libraries are opening up to self-published books, it's still not a completely open door for indies yet. Not all traditionally published books make it in to libraries either, but most libraries are willing to take requests for traditionally published books if they aren't already there.

5. Traditional publication still offers the possibility of getting reviews by major reviewers like Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Romantic Times, etc.

6. Although all writers whether self or traditionally published must market, I appreciate having the creative help of a publicist and marketing specialist along with publishing house dollars.

7. It wasn't too long ago that self-publishing contained a stigma. Even though the stigma is decreasing, unfortunately it still exists to a degree (probably because of the few who self-publish poor quality writing before they're truly ready). I like having the validation that a traditional publisher still gives.

So there you have it! That's why I accepted two more traditional publication book deals and why I'm super excited about them both!

What are your thoughts about indie versus traditional publication? What is your preference and why?

P.S. If you'd like the chance to win a copy of my newest release, make sure to check out my "Behind the Scenes of Captured by Love" blog tour happening the rest of July!

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