If I self-publish, does that make me a writer?

My goalToday is November 1.  November is NaNoWriMo.  You may remember that last year I began writing a book in November, and even though it’s not a novel (it is one of my apologetics lectures expanded into book form) I used the prompts from NaNoWriMo as motivation.  I never finished my book though.  I have written approximately 10 percent and I have someone who has agreed to edit it for me.  I see no reason why I cannot be finished with the entire draft stage before the month is over.  With that said, this November I don’t necessarily have the goal of finishing, but I do plan on making progress every single day of the month, including Thanksgiving. Feel free to keep me accountable towards my goal.  Text me, tweet me, leave a comment here, whatever.

My Question

Even though my book is still pretty nascent, I have considered what to do when I finish. Should I submit it to a traditional publisher, or should I have it self-published?  As I see it, there are only four advantages to traditional publishing

1.  Approval – If a traditional publisher agrees to use the resources that publishing a book requires then it means that somebody (who should know) thinks I am worth publishing.  In my estimation, this is the number one reason by a long way. In my mind, even though this is the number one reason, successful sales of the book would make this reason obsolete. 2.  Promotion - Since the company has a financial interest in the success of the book, they would have a reason to promote it.  Also, since it’s their business,  they have the know-how and resources to make it financially successful. 3.  Editing – I have someone who has agreed to edit my book and I am planning to pay her.  If a company agreed to publish the book they would have their own editor to and it would save me some money.  Speaking of money… 4.  Getting paid  - I am certain that I would make less money by going through a traditional publisher.  I am also sure I will not be happy about what happens with the rights to the book.  I am also pretty sure that I would be on the losing end of a contract.  However, there is no up-front cost.  Self publishing, at least if I decide to have print copies made, is very expensive on the front end.

That’s it, that’s the list.  And really, if I am honest, the first reason is the only reason that would motivate me to seek out traditional publishing.  In every other way I think self publishing is better.  I keep the rights, I can do what I please with it.  I will make more money if it actually generates sales.  If I were already a published author, this would not even be a question for me.  I would self-publish.

I know that technology has changed the world, and publishing is one of the areas where the impact is strongest.  There is no need to go through a traditional publisher, but if my book is self-published, I feel as if I am being dishonest by saying I am a published author.  (There is one post on this blog that has been read several thousand times and only received positive comments, so it’s not as if I have had no success at writing. It just doesn’t feel the same)

I know I often beg for comments, but I would really love to know your thoughts on this. Especially if you have been published before.

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