How will you publish your work in progress? The results!

by | May 20, 2015 | Self-publishing | 7 comments

With the obvious caveats that this isn’t scientific, different audiences, etc., here are the results! How are we planning to publish our work in progress? Let’s find out.

After very similar results in 2013

And last year

We have a bit of a change this year! The number of people planning to self-publish and not even considering traditional has risen from 10% to 15%:

Though the people who are still planning to go traditional first is still roughly the same.

What do you make of these results? Will these approaches change over time or have people solidified into traditional and self-publishing camps?


  1. DD

    As time goes on I've noticed that the path to self-publishing has become clearer. When I first started learning about it, I felt like a deer in the headlights. Now it's starting to make sense. And on top of that, it's starting to sound like fun! I've been querying for several months and not getting much response, but I'm almost glad because if you do it right I think self-publishing can be a lot more personally rewarding. Possibly more financially rewarding also. Waiting around while others decide the future of your work is boring.

  2. Susan Kaye Quinn

    I'd love to see you do a poll broken down by people who have publish already (one or more books) and those who are making the decision about the path for their first book. Although I suspect the people reading your blog are in the latter category.

  3. Jeremy Myers

    I think the change is due to the fact that more and more people are realizing that even if they get published traditionally, the publisher does very little to market the book. This is still the responsibility of the author, in most cases. (This is why traditional publishers want the author to have a large platform).

    So authors follow this logic: If I publish traditionally, I still do most of the marketing for the book, but I only get a small royalty payment per book (about 10%). If, however, I self-publish, I still do the same amount of marketing, but I can get a much higher royalty percentage from each book sold (about 70%).

  4. London

    It makes sense to me that people who have decided to self-publish first would move towards a self-publish only idea. If your self-published book does poorly, traditional publishers won't want it; and if it does well, traditional publishers have much less to offer you.

    What you don't ask, but I suspect is a growing segment, is the hybrid author who publishes novels through a traditional publisher and supplemental novellas and short stories via self-publishing.

  5. Digger

    I agree with London – that has certainly been my experience. With my second novel about to go live on Amazon, and having tried (and failed) to find a traditional publisher for both, I feel the time has come for me to abandon further attempts at trad and move entirely to self-publishing.

    The joy remains in the writing. The long slog to find a publisher is no less heartbreaking each time, no less fruitless, and increasingly pointless.

  6. Pimion

    I think the results of the voting remain stable because every writer wants to publish his book by himself to make it perfect and exactly how he sees it, but scares of responsibility and lack of experience, confidence.

  7. Anonymous

    From what I've seen and heard, I actually think this information is very accurate.

    I still visit blogs sometimes where the main focus is querying and I'm just amazed at how nothing at all has changed on those blogs. The content is nothing but what has already been said for the past ten years…water is wet. The blogger hasn't grown; the people who follow the blogger, unfortunately, don't know any better. They are new to publishing and don't really grasp all the changes that have happened. At one time there was nothing wrong with that, however, I do think the publishing bloggers who aren't letting their readership know everything about publishing as it is now are highly disingenuous. I also think they do more harm now than good.

    I guess my point here is that I don't know one single writer who wouldn't be thrilled to get a deal with a big publisher, and have an agent rep him/her. However, those of us who have been around for a long time, and have been published and have started to indie publish, know and understand that the odds of getting that big book deal through the query process is slim to zero. With that said, I find it very shabby when I don't see all publishing blogs at least discussing options for authors, and even shabbier when I see publishing elitists commenting negatively on indie published authors.

    You, Nathan, are one of the few publishing bloggers who started out as an agent in a different time, and I've watched you grow and move forward. I love your books, too. I think you give your blog readers all the information, not just some of it. And I would highly recommend every new author following you as often as they can just for that reason alone.


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Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

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