Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: How Do I Decide? Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing by Rachelle Gardner

I believe the publishing world has always been confusing and unpredictable for aspiring, new and even well-established authors. Now, with the advent of self-publishing and the thousands of advice-givers clamoring for our attention and business on the internet, it's downright noisy out there.

Addressing an author's need for clear and concise guidance, well-established literary agent Rachelle Gardner of Books and Such Literary Agency has launched a series of field guides for authors. The first, released January 22, 2013, is How Do I Decide? (Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing), a succinct 58 pages long and available as a Kindle book for $3.99.

Gardner's blog receives over a million page views a year. She has worked in a variety of facets of the publishing industry since 1995, publishing eight books and editing more than 100. As an agent since 2007, she has negotiated more than 120 book deals. Now that we've established her credentials, which are impressive indeed, let's get specific about her book, How Do I Decide?

The format is straightforward and streamlined. In a logical progression Gardner defines, in clear and simple terms, the many aspects of publishing writers must understand and weigh before determining which course is right for them. Each section has a checklist which can be used as part of the writer's decision-making process, and then, in conclusion, the pros and cons are summarized in simple, effective chart form.

In addition to the business aspect of the industry, this virtual guide encourages authors to examine their own goals, styles, talents and personalities in order to make the best and most rewarding choices for their own careers. Those choices may be clear-cut for many, though Gardner also notes that even successful and prolific traditionally published authors are finding ways to use a "hybrid" combination which includes self-publishing to advance their careers, options that weren't readily available until just a few years ago.

How Do I Decide? contains perspectives from successful authors James Scott Bell, Addison Moore, Jennie Nash, and Scott Appleton. At the end is a section of links to resources which by itself is well worth the reasonable price of the book, saving writers endless hours of confusing internet searches.

Upcoming titles in this series include: Successful Blogging (The Best Tricks for Building and Growing your Blog); Where Do I Start? (Getting Your Writing Career off the Ground); and How Do I Get an Agent? (What to Do and What to Expect).

Just as I don't leave home without my faithful GPS, I believe writers of all genres, backgrounds and experience will find this field guide invaluable.

Author Rachelle Gardner

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