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Self-publish or Traditional Route?

Note from the editor: Below is the text of an email I received from a member of My Memoir Education asking about which was best: self-publish or traditional route. I have edited it for brevity and to preserve the writer’s anonymity.

Dear Denis, I finally finished my manuscript. What a long journey it has been! I think it is in good shape, and I am ready to publish. However, I am finding deciding on the next step to be quite challenging.

I have received conflicting advice: some people have suggested that I find a literary agent who would then find a publisher for me to go the traditional route; others have said that this traditional route—agent or publishing house—has little chance of success unless I have a large social media following for the company to market to so I would better do the self-publishing route.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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Dear writer,

My own experience has been with self-publishing so whatever I can tell you is going to be colored by that choice.

Finding an agent

I believe a regular route for many writers is to publish with small house first and, when they have a track record, to then look for an agent. You are not however there in your publication history to be ready for the larger houses—possible but not probable.

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