fbpx

Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

To Print Pub or E-Pub? Tis NOT The Question!

digital vs printing, writing, publishing
Photo by Emilie Ogez.

Quick! Which is better: print or digital publishing?

Think about it. We’ll wait.

Okay—time’s up. The answer is…

Neither.

Now, before you starting shouting your case for one kind of publishing over the other or start hurling rotten fruit at us through your computer screen (don’t do it, trust us on this one), consider this.

Each form of publishing has its own strengths and weaknesses. Examples are in order:

  • Print journals may feel like they have a long shelf life, but that’s only on the shelf in your bedroom. Online literary journal archives are accessible to the public via the Web, often indefinitely, which means your old short story stays viable.
  • Seeing your book in print truly feels great—a one-of-a-kind experience. Seeing your online book being purchased by a significant number of additional readers because it is an e-book instead of a print book feels great too.
  • High-quality online publishers are up-and-coming—and coming up with exciting new writers who break the mold. But print has an established reputation (in some circles) as being of higher quality.

We could go on. There are pros and cons. You know that already. By having a MIX of online and print publications, you get the best of both worlds.

Here’s what could happen if you focus exclusively on print publications:

1. Literary agents and editors can’t access your work on the Web. When they Google your name (i.e., “Fanny Washer, Rose Picker, Harry Pitts”), the results aren’t exactly literary. That’s upsetting for them and you.

2. Your author website bio doesn’t link to any published examples of your published work—which stinks for readers who are going to your site because they want to get to know you and read your published work.

3. You begin to look obsolete, publishing only in old-school publications. Instead of submitting to hip, cutting-edge literary journals that are shaking things up and making waves in words, your writing languishes in all its curmudgeonly dignity on your bookshelf, inflating your ego but not your readership.

Submit to Review Board

And here’s what might happen if you focus exclusively on online publications or digital publications:

1. Libraries can’t stock your work, for the most part.

2. You don’t get the thrill of seeing your work in print.

3. You don’t get that eau-de-print cachet that the outside world (that is, the world outside of publishing) finds so mysterious and thrilling.

4. You can’t give your book to someone as a birthday present, unless they have an e-reader. And your grandparents can’t put your newest poem on their mantel unless they print it out on their dot matrix first.

So, Mix It Up!

Mixing up online and print is a smart business model: Major and minor book publishers are releasing new titles as BOTH digital and print works. Many online literary journals have anthologized print editions, and many print journals have online editions. And if mixing mediums is good enough for them…well, you know where this is going.

As people who have made a life of being writer advocates, we feel that writers should have a GOOD MIX of online and print publications (especially if the writers in question are publishing in the lit mag circuit).

Literary agents and editors look at both your print success and your online success. So have something ready to show them. Go on—get the advantages of both worlds working on your side!

Questions for WritersQUESTION: Okay—you can start throwing that fruit now (we’ve got our umbrellas ready). Are we on the money or way off base? Is one kind of publishing better than the other?

Photo by Emilie Ogez.

10 Responses to To Print Pub or E-Pub? Tis NOT The Question!

  1. @Writers Relief Staff: Nowadays the word “publishing” has a broader definition than it once did. However, the way I’d approach “mixing it up” with regards to digital vs. print is simply this: The only things I’ll ever “e-publish” will be things that were designed to be natively in digital form. Namely, all these new fidgety widgets called Blargs, Bookfaces, and Tweeters or whatever they are. I believe this is called “platform,” something I sincerely hoped had gone away with disco and eight-track tapes.

    The creative end of things stays with print, sorry to all the wannabees and newbees hoping to become the next Stephen King of the Twit-a-verse. If ever I do earn traditional representation and someday a publishing contract, I will make sure to hold onto exclusive digital rights so that I can preclude my work from being mangled and machine-eaten by the e-book monoliths. Under no circumstances will I allow myself to “publish” an e-book, and certainly not with Amazon; Create Space looks as though it’s shaping up to be the “direct to video” equivalent of the book world, while Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Random House, etc. remain the Columbia, Paramount, 20th C. Fox, et. al. of the environment. And seriously, why should I settle for the Dolph Lundgren discount bin when I have a chance at Random House Clooney Division? :-D

  2. Terry, Good question. We’ll answer it in a different post. Do keep an eye out!

    Question for all writers:

    Although many writers here are on board with a mix of online and print submissions, we know some writers who are still reluctant to publish online.

    What are your thoughts on that?

  3. And speaking of ’tis, maybe you can settle a dispute on ’til … dictionary says ’til or ’till is right… but I disagree (with my dictionary … how brash can one be!) I see ’til as a shortened form of until (with one “l”). How can ’till (which is a different word, meaning work the soil, a cash register, etc.) be right?

  4. You are right on target! I have been published in a professional journal, regularly, and while it is a thrill to hand out copies of the magazine, even autographing the page for some, it’s not like handing someone your book. And I have a website, with several written pieces, and those who don’t use laptops (and there are still some of that generation left) can’t appreciate it.

    I’ve met in the middle … I’ve written some stories and poems at my website, and then self-published some into books, which I offer as gifts or sell to friends. In time I’ll write the really big one, “with a spine” to publish and offer to school, libraries and book stores. For now, step by step, and practice makes perfect.

    I’m at AMAZON.COM (search Terry Palardy as an author of books) but haven’t sold any there. I may try releasing to Kindle next.

  5. Doing both e-books and paper books makes sense. Your comments also make me realize that I need to develop a website of my own. Thank you.

  6. As a short story writer I’ve benefitted from both printed literary magazines and on-line publication. I have stayed abreast of the trend toward e-books and know many writers who decided to bite the bullet and publish their work as an e-book. They also self-published trade paperbacks of the same work and are seeing success with sales, generating publicity through their websites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter pushes. Needless to say, it requires many hours pushing books rather than writing. But so does flying from city to city doing readings/signings. I’ve come to believe that if you want your work read, you must go where the reader is!

  7. You are right on the money indeed. The market is changing and writers should change with it, or be left behind. Eclectic has always been better; a “little bit of this, a little bit of that” will never go out of style.

  8. This makes a lot of sense. I definitely crave that wonder of seeing my work in print, but I also want to be able to link to my work on my website. For me, I think a good mix of print and online publication is definitely a good idea.

  9. Hey Writers! We know that “Tis” should get an apostrophe in our blog title. Our blog program isn’t letting us add one that curls the right way. So we opted to go without. Yes–we find this very annoying!

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



YES, IT'S MY LUCKY DAY!
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
 
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link


STOP! BEFORE YOU GO...
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
 
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link
Yes! Send My Free Guide!

Get Your FREE Goal-Oriented
Writer Guide!

We’ll send the link to this handy guide filled with
expert advice and smart tips so you can start
reaching your writing goals today!

 
Bonus: Stay updated! We’ll email you weekly links
to more great articles featuring the best writing
strategies and insider info!
close-link
Yes! Send My Free Guide!

Get Your FREE Goal-Oriented
Writer Guide!

We’ll send the link to this handy guide filled with
expert advice and smart tips so you can start
reaching your writing goals today!

 
Bonus: Stay updated! We’ll email you weekly links
to more great articles featuring the best writing
strategies and insider info!
close-link
Live Chat Software