Is traditional publishing worth the wait?

A is for Angelica reviewed in Time Out

Those of you who’ve followed this site and the podcast for a while will know that it took some time for me to first write, then publish my first novel, A is for Angelica. Like every other author, I had to deal with life getting in the way and make a number of sacrifices. Nothing unusual about that.

Perhaps the most frustrating period was the time between getting an agent and actually selling the book to a publisher. It seemed to take forever and there were plenty of knock backs. Again, nothing unusual.

At the same time, I saw more and more people self-publish their work successfully, and with Write for Your Life (the name for this site previously) doing well, it was always a real option for me. If other writers with a similar-sized platform could make a go of it, then why shouldn't I?

Of course, the problem was, I never wanted to self-publish my novel. However tempting it might’ve been to just get the work out there, that was never my dream.

I've half-joked before about wanting to make the Booker shortlist, appear on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, or to have my fiction reviewed in the Guardian. I said that this was only possible through traditional publishing, that even then it would be unlikely, but it might just happen, it would at least, as I say, be possible.

Of course, what I really meant was that mainstream media is important to me. I think that’s why a lot of writers would still prefer to find a publisher than try it out for themselves. It’s the seeing your book in the local shop appeal. It still holds sway. It still means something.

[pullquoteright]It’s the seeing your book in the local shop appeal. It still holds sway. It still means something.[/pullquoteright]

In the last week, I've appeared on BBC Radio Sheffield and A is for Angelica has been (favourably) reviewed in Time Out magazine. This represents my first real taste of mainstream media as a published author. It’s been surreal, but I've loved every second.

Self-publishing is a legitimate and profitable choice for lots of people. But if your dream is anything like mine was, you need to know that it can come true. Writers get publishing deals every day and if you have the talent and a little good fortune, there’s no reason why you can’t be one of them.

It might take years and it might not happen in the way that you expect, but speaking from experience, which finally I can, it’s absolutely worth the wait.

Over to you

What do you think? Are you a published author and was the wait worth it or are you in the thick of it and ready to give up the ghost? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.