Publication Ponderings

So I have finally completely finished (and even revised! And had reviewed by some objective readers!) something I've written (vs. my usual tack of getting about 3/4 through and then giving up and shuffling it away because of self doubt.) And now I face the next dilemma...do I actually do something with it?

I really think this one might be worth trying to get published. And here's where I hit the current sticky wicket: do I go the traditional route or do I self-publish? There are pros and cons to both - though the stigma that used to go along with something that was self-published is in decline these days, and that was really one major con.

As far as more traditional publishing, for the market it's in, I would pretty much have to find an agent first. Every one of the publishers in that market are pretty clear that they don't accept unagented submissions. There is one caveat/workaround/what-have-you, which is a site that the publishers actually all mention that is, effectively, a "pay-per-submission" come-all-ye agenting site. But I have to say, the idea of spending money (and it's not cheap!) to essentially list my proposal on Monster-for-books doesn't sit well. That seems to me to have the flavor of vanity publications (vs. self-publishing, though if you ask me to tell you the difference, I can't come up with much concrete other than the fact that at least if you self-publish, you're not paying tons of money for the privilege.)

That said, with traditional publishing, you have the shelf-life issue. Does it really get your work into more hands than self-publishing? It's hard to say. (Probably hard, if we're honest, to really even figure out how to do that comparison.)

There are hundreds (pretty much literally) of articles out there looking at the money end of things, with various conclusions (all somewhat dependent on the original slant of the author in the first place) - and really right now for me, it's not so much about the money. Yes, I'd like to earn some money, sure. But what I really want is for people I don't to know to read it and like it and want to read more. So what I most want to figure out is: what's the best format for making that happen?

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