Do readers care if you’re traditionally or independently published?

Diane Lynn McGyverThe debate rages on. Which is better? Being published by a traditional company or publishing your own work?

Your answer will depend on where you are in your publishing career.

Many times, travellers on one route are looking down at the other, but there’s no reason for this. We’re all in this together, and one path is right for some while the other trail is right for others.

Unfortunately, mud-slinging has become a popular sport these days between publishers (large and independent) and between authors (both traditionally published and self-published).

What publishers and authors need to know is that readers don’t give a heck about publishing companies; most readers can’t tell you the name of the company which published their favourite books let alone which one published the last book they read. Readers care only that the story is good…that’s it…bottom line.

The argument of which type of publishing company produces better work—independent or traditional—is meaningless to readers…and readers are the most important piece in this puzzle.

Earlier this week, I read a post by Dean Wesley Smith which put a few things into perspective. For years, he was traditionally published but for the past few, he’s been self-publishing hand-over-fist and having a blast doing it.

You can read how Dean compares the two publishing worlds here: The Secret Myth of Traditional Publishing.

Do you remember the publishing company of your favourite books? How about the book you’re reading now (no peeking)?

. . . . . . . . . * . . . . . . . . .

Diane Lynn McGyver - Dancing in the ShineDancing in the Shine is available as a free-read until August 30, 2012: The short story can be found at Smashwords.

Released: June 14, 2012

Joan’s boyfriend Frank wants them to conceive a beautiful daughter he can cherish, and Joan is terrified. Will she use the information discovered at the public archives to escape a life of torture and pain? Or will she continue to be a pawn in Frank and his sister’s twisted world?

9 thoughts on “Do readers care if you’re traditionally or independently published?

  1. I agree that readers don’t even look to see what company has published a book. I think the only people who notice these things are other writers.

    I absolutely agree with you that we’re all in this together. I think it would be great if we would just support one another. 🙂


    • Until I began publishing my work, I didn’t even take note of the author’s name. I know, sad. But I didn’t. I would read a newspaper or magazine article and not even bother looking at the byline. When it came to books, I couldn’t tell you who wrote what I read (except for the few books such as Dr. Seuss). I never read a book because of the author’s name; I read a book because the subject matter interested me. Now when I’m asked which authors influenced me years ago, I say ‘that person who wrote… (fill in the book title).’

      One of my favourite books of all time was read in the early 1980s. It was called “M is for Magic”. It was about a group of kids who found an old stove and a recipe book in a shack. The recipes they cooked in the oven were filled with magic. Of course, this was a good thing until it brought trouble. Who wrote it? I don’t know. I wish I could learn the author’s name. Anyone?

      For years I thought Anne Shirley wrote Anne of Green Gables. But that’s just me not interested in the writer as much as I was interested in the story.


  2. You know what I care about, Diane? Spelling. Typos. Screaming-in-your-face missed mistakes. What I have discovered is that the self-published books are the most likely to have these. Other than that, I don’t think it matters much to me who does the publishing … as long as the work turns out as near error-free as possible. That’s just because it is a distraction to me. I am one of those persons who notices without trying to, and I end up proof-reading instead of simply reading a book to review it or enjoy it for my own reading pleasure. *sigh*
    Did I say .. it is a distraction?


    • Lynn, you’re like many other readers; we don’t care who published the book as long as it’s good and mistakes don’t throw us out of the story. I’m reading a book at the moment published by Vagrant (imprint of Nimbus) and the opening scene had me hooked. It was a little vague but as the tension grew, I was there, riding the wave. Then a mistake appeared and threw me out of the world I had entered. If the mistake had happened elsewhere in the story it wouldn’t have bothered me so much, but it happend at the very line that was suppose to peak the tension. Needless to say the bubble was broken and the author’s hardwork was lost. Still, I read on because the book is interesting and I’m interested in learning what happens to the main character.

      Thanks, Lynn.


  3. I couldn’t tell you the publishing company of my current read, but ‘A Riddle of Roses’ is published by Second Story Press — and I only know that because I was looking into submitting there! I hadn’t thought about the readers’ reactions/knowledge of the publishers of their favourite books; I’m intrigued…


    • We had a discussion last night about who pubished the Harry Potter books. No one knew, but we did know that Freisens printed them in Canada. Perhaps publishing companies should take note of this and try and change it. It would probably be to their benefit.

      Thanks for commenting, Libby.


  4. Diane, you’ve firmly hit the nail on the head. I read a lot and a lot of different authors. If my life depended on it, I couldn’t match one author to his or her publishing company with the exception of Shadows in the Stone from Quarter Castle Publishing. 🙂


    • Thanks, Art. I think many of us are in the same boat. Even when I look at who published the book, I often forget ten minutes later. I could blame it on my poor memory or the fact that the company is unimportant.


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