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Traditional Or E-Publishing: Advice For First-Time Authors

Traditional Or E-Publishing: Advice For First-Time Authors

Ultimately, the dream of every writer is to get published.

Traditional Or E-Publishing

Photo Credit: Pen Waggener via Compfight cc

But the odds just seem all ganged up against you:

  • No publisher is prepared to invest in your manuscript;
  • No veteran author is willing to give you a referral;
  • You have little or no capital to self-publish;
  • No guarantee that anyone would read your book for free, let alone buy it.

Can you relate? Then be warned: this piece may change your life forever.

Mr. first-time author, you’re disadvantaged

You know what they say about the rich getting richer and the poorer sinking deeper into penury? Sadly, it applies to authors too. Everyone wants to read big-wig authors. No one listens to the beginners, even if they write better.

There’re two alternative publishing paths you can thread as a first-time author: traditional publishing or electronic publishing.

Traditional publishing and its irony

So you’re pursuing a publishing contract or considering sponsoring yourself? You want to have your book in print in bookshops nationwide? To go for the traditional publishing, you’ll need:

  • A huge capital (or publishing contract)
  • A strong network of bookshops, literary clubs, writers’ groups, etc.
  • Lots of marketing time
  • A prominent name within the literary circle (of course it’s possible to break big into the market without this, but that’s the exception, not the rule)

My guess is: you have no huge budget, no raving fans, no publisher’s support, no connection with influencers … and no famed name in the publishing industry.

My first published book – an anthology of poems – was published traditionally. Even though the book made a great read (no bragging!), it was published on debt and it didn’t sell well. A couple of friends have tried it too and tasted failure.

Why? Because we lacked the above prerequisites of traditional publishing.

Ultimately, there’s a bitter irony about this traditional publishing: if you want publishing success, get loyal fans first; if you want loyal fans, get publishing success first. Which way out? [Tweet that]


All hope lost for you? Nope!

E-publishing: a no-luck-required path

I’ve been there, and I’ve learnt: e-publishing is the no-luck-required blueprint a first-time author can follow to go from ‘Point Zero’ to ‘Mount Hero’. But be warned: it’s neither a lazy man’s path nor a get-published-quick scheme. The gains will come slowly, but surely.

To go for e-publishing, you’ll need:

  • A platform where you build and engage with readers and fans
  • Generous and regular publishing of valuable blog posts to prove your competence
  • The patience to slowly earn the trust of your audience (the Internet is congested with bad guys; so they won’t hand you cash if they don’t trust you)

This model works excellently for first-time authors … any beginner author at all!

And going about it is simple as eating fried rice. All you need do is:

You’ll not sell up to 500 copies of the book instantly. But you’ll definitely sell an encouraging number of copies. I published my second premium book this way, and the process works so well that anyone can do it.

And your ebook can become a passive stream of income in the long run. Within few months, you could publish another ebook and still sell more.

The blog and ebooks (if they have great values) will fetch you money, raving fans, connections with publishers and influencers, and a prominent name in the literary circle … the exact prerequisites you need for traditional publishing.

Ultimately, e-publishing is antecedent and complementary to traditional publishing. It’s the surest path to traditional publishing success, aside being a great, independent publishing option in its own right.

So don’t be scared of e-publishing. It’s what works. It’s what I recommend for you. And it starts with opening a blog and giving away quality contents for free.

What question do you have about the process and challenges of getting published? Leave a comment below … I’m here to help!

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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. I have all waited in vain as none of many comments to your posts is yet to get your response/reply/reaction. Thus, I don’t feel opening up again based on this present. Maybe, you select the ‘best’ comments to react to. How I wish you remember Jesus’ parable of The Lost Sheep -where the Sheperd abandoned the 99 sheeps and went out to get the missing 1 sheep. I don’t mean to annoy you please, just try to understand my feeling. Thank you.

    • Obinna, I’m afraid I don’t know the comments you’re talking about. I respond to ALL comments that need a response, even if it’s a simple “Thank you!”

      Maybe you can say which comments exactly and where you posted them.

  2. Great piece Coach, as always. It’s a harsh world out there for first-time authors trying to make their entry into the literary circle. Some of the non-vanity publishers would not even touch your manuscript with a ten-inch pole regardless of how good it is.

    I hope you will write next on payment processors like Vogue pay. Coz after making your eBook and offering it for sale how do you get your money?

    More grace man.

    • Thanks, Segun. I’ll consider dong something on your suggestion. But before then, signing up for Voguepay is very easy. Just sign up for a business account which will require you to provide a governemennt-issued passport. And then, you can start selling products and collecting payments on your website.

      • Okay, but one more question Coach. Nigeria has been barred from PayPal yet it is still one of the payment options for your book, how come? Coz i tried to pay for something via PayPal once but could not. #pardon my ignorance #

        • Asking is not ignorance at all. 😉

          Paypal is the best payment processor ever created. Unfortunately, there’s no legal way to own a PayPal account in Nigeria because some bad guys abused it in the past. In my view, that is the greatest setback to ecommerce in Nigeria.

          But 2CheckOut is one of the payment processors I use. They accept varieties of cards and payment options including PayPal.

          So I can accept payment from PayPal into my 2CheckOut account even though I can’t own a PayPal account.

  3. Nice piece…in the end, what does matter – to borrow your words – is to trust one’s gut.

  4. Dear Coach Tosin,
    I did commented in many of your posts without getting your anticipated response. The Last post I recall was your post captioned
    ‘When You’re Afraid to Launch Your Dream, Do This’. I am just wondering if the comments of mine are too awkward that they don’t deserve your response.

    • Obinna, my sincere apologies! You’re very right. I don’t know how that comment you referred to escaped my eyes. I’ve just dropped a response on it now.

      Be rest assured, you’re a valued member of this community … I would never deliberately ignore your comment, like those of other members too. 🙂

  5. Hmmmmm. Wow, that’s nice. A smart way to maneuver the PayPal issue. Thanks. Am guessing that is what you do with your affiliate marketing stuff too since most of them pay via PayPal. Anyway, I will check ‘2CheckOut’. Thanks again..

  6. ufuoma komiti says:

    Honestly, I enjoy every bit of this information. Thanks.

  7. Olayemi Nwobodo says:

    Good one!
    I’m still turning this over in my mind: Ultimately, there’s a bitter irony about this traditional publishing: if you want publishing success, get loyal fans first; if you want loyal fans, get publishing success first. Which way out?
    I’ve also noticed the civility and good manners of readers/commenters.

    Kudos to everyone!

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