Patrick Greenwood - Cyclist, Writer, Espresso Lover, and Podcaster - shares his experiences with traditional vs. indie-publishing.
Publishing a novel is a significant accomplishment regardless of which direction you take. After years of brainstorming, drafting, researching, and editing, you finally reach the next stage in your life’s goal. Do you self-publish and start channeling the William Randolph Hearst in you, or inject levels of challenge emotions by jumping on the traditional publishing rollercoaster ride?
Traditions are made to be kept, well, traditional
Traditional publishing has a standard process and continues to be an old-school way of bringing a book to market. Even with the growth of Indie options, writers hope to get closer to that all-inclusive contract from known traditional publishing. After sending out countless query letters to no avail, one day, you open an email by drinking your favorite triple espresso and realize your dream has come true!
“Our committee selected you to have your work published! We have a published contract ready soon for your review. Please have your agent contact us to work out the details.”
After several laps inside your favorite coffee shop, you finally settle down and realize, “I need an agent?”
Yes, an agent. Someone who is currently not in your universe who, in a short time, will become a significant influence on your novel and your financial windfall or loss. Agents have an essential role in the publishing business. Most receive 20% of your book sales. In return, they should be out shopping your book to prospective publishers.
Wait! You already landed a publisher. Why do you need to give up 20%? Patience, there is more coming!
After you have landed the agent to negotiate your contract for your first book, the agent asks you what you need more time to be ready for. “Ah, has someone from legal reviewed your book yet? Did you register the copywriter for this work?”
While many authors are aware of these requirements when publishing a book, “Do not worry; I have a lawyer with reasonable rates,” your agent said.
What? More money? While stunned at your recent financial implications, you realize a portion of your efforts is already being spoken for.
A few weeks later, you receive your contract from the publisher; short of watching a scary movie on Netflix, your heart races out of control.
“Thank you again for creating this fantastic piece of literature. Enclosed are the terms and conditions, the percentage of royalties, and the market plans we recommend.
We have several marketing plans available to you to fit your budget. We will do our best to help promote the book with all the major distributors and outlets. Here are some plans we have available for you.
Essential marketing - press release on social media $1500.00
Mid-level marketing - 3 podcasts, three social media postings, and one press release for $5000.00.
Advanced marketing will include ten podcasts, ten social media postings, and one magazine article for $20000.00
Please have your agent review the contract and let us know if you have questions?”
Shortly, you collapse in your favorite chair and continue looking stunned beyond any level of shock. “I need to pay them, and they will keep how much?”
Welcome to the new world of traditional publishing!
Indie publishing - a new way forward
Indie publishing requires an investment of your time, including dealing with book formatting, editing, publishing setup, marketing, and legal.
You will need time and money to help promote your brand. Most people do not know who you are.
The novel is your story; own it. You deserve what you put into it. Yes, paying a publisher will give a leap into the market. You pay for access to book buyers, reviewers, and PR people. Hopefully, the publisher has those connections.
The value of a publishing consultant
Publishing consultants like Quill Hawk provide various services to help bring your novel to the marketplace. Quill Hawk’s expertise in packing your book includes help with your cover, ISBN, editing, and social media. You, as the author, need to be the work owner.
Working with publishing consultants also helps with book formatting and uploading into Amazon and IngramSpark platforms. The excellent news is Quill Hawk Publishing works solely on a fee basis; you keep all the royalties.
Indie publishing has excellent financial advantages. You must be ready to own the process even if you hire a publishing consultant. Traditional publishers may bring your work to market. However, you may need to make money!
Either direction you decide, your book deserves to be published!!
About the Author
Patrick Greenwood, after military service, embarks on a 25-year career in the information technology field working in various roles in sales, engineering, support, and design. Many of his inspirations for writing came from his business travels to places like Vietnam, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Portugal. A true believer in listening to one’s passion, Patrick began writing in early 2020 based on several trips he made while cycling in various countries. In this novel, “Sunrise in Saigon”, Patrick draws upon several non-fictional events that happened in Vietnam including the war with the US, the last days of Saigon falling, and the chaos at the US embassy. Having remembered these events as a young man, Patrick grew up wanting someday to travel to Vietnam and visit these places for himself.
In 2012, Patrick did make the first trip to Vietnam to find the lost US embassy and the catholic nuns that helped with “Operation baby lift." Patrick followed his passion for cycling by completing several bike tours in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong delta regions.
Proceeds from Patrick's book and espresso coffee sales go to "helmets for Kids in Vietnam."
Patrick is a holder of a B.S and MBA in Global Marketing along with completing several post-graduate certificate programs in information security, the Internet of things, and global management from MIT. Patrick is married and resides in Carlsbad California.