Going With Tradition

Some of you have recently asked why I’ve decided to try the traditional route to publishing HEMINGWAY’S GIRL after self-publishing RECEIVE ME FALLING. Here’s why I made my decision.


I self-published RECEIVE ME FALLING for a number of reasons. It was very hard for a first time novelist with no other publishing credits or audience of any kind to find an agent, especially when that novel crossed genre lines. I felt very passionately about the story, however, and had a number of friends and book clubs asking to read it. I also knew that since the book was partially set in Annapolis, I’d be able to market it successfully close to home. I knew I’d have to work very hard marketing the book whether I had a traditional publisher or not, so I decided to self-publish, see what kinds of sales and reviews I could get, and then try to get an agent in the future if I met success.

I’ve been very pleased with my decision and feel very thankful for the readers and book clubs who have so enthusiastically supported me and my book. I also couldn’t have done it without the best husband, kids, and family ever.


In the meantime, I started working on a second novel set in Hemingway’s Key West, started blogging, and started expanding my platform in writing by guest blogging, hosting litchats on Twitter, joining various writing organizations, and attending lots of writing conferences.  After about two years of writing, revising, and editing based on personal and professional editor feedback, I felt that HEMINGWAY’S GIRL was ready for publication.

I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to self-publish. On the plus side, the book would be ready to sell within a couple of months, the book clubs I attended were eager to read another novel by an author who visited them, and I had great results with local book stores (indie and chain) who were willing to stock future novels for me. On the minus side, distribution of paper books was a challenge. I also felt that HEMINGWAY’S GIRL had much broader geographic appeal that my first novel, so I wanted it in book stores nationally, or even internationally. Finally, no matter how many great reviews or positive reader letters I received, I confess that I wanted professional validation.


Something else is weighing on my mind. With the simple ebook publishing packages currently available, I foresee a flood of inferior, self-published books hitting the virtual shelves. There’s not going to be a lot of quality control out there, and I think that readers are going to look to tried and true publishers for a polished product.  I want my second book in that camp.

There are no guarantees. Even with an agent, finding an editor at a publishing house can be a challenge. Even finding an editor doesn’t make the book in print a guaranteed outcome.  All I can do is work as hard as I can to write the best book I can, and pray for a little luck.


7 thoughts on “Going With Tradition

  1. erin says:

    Good luck, Erika! Sounds like you will be successful whichever route you choose!

  2. I foresee a flood of inferior, self-published books hitting the virtual shelves. There’s not going to be a lot of quality control out there, and I think that readers are going to look to tried and true publishers for a polished product.

    I agree with you here, Erica. I think you are making a wise and well thought out decision. Best of luck to your new novel’s success!!

  3. erikarobuck says:

    Thanks so much, Ladies!

  4. I think there is another angle here that you are humbly overlooking. You are the sort of author, in my eyes, that agent’s dream about. You are hardworking, marketable, self-promoting in a good way, and connect easily with your readers.

    You are the whole package and I’m so glad that you took the steps towards traditional publishing giving you more exposure. However, i would have read whatever you put out there, self-published or traditional.

    Your work is amazing and I can’t wait to see what happens next for you. XO

  5. I’m glad you went for the traditional approach, and as a self-pubbed author myself, agree that professional validation can be extremely important. So can having a team of professionals to make the book the best it can be — and help distribute it.

    That said, I’m a little more cautious about the potential *flood of inferior, self-pubbed books,* and am always quick to point out that the line between the quality of traditionally-pubbed and self-pubbed books is blurring. As writers, I think we need to be careful not to fall into the underlying assumption that self-pubbed most often means “mediocre at best.” Just as traditionally-pubbed doesn’t always mean “good.”

  6. Erika Robuck says:

    You’re absolutely right, Sharon. Traditional doesn’t always mean quality, and self-published doesn’t always indicate an inferior product. Thanks for the comment!

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