Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Traditional Publishing Vs Self-Publishing Discussion With Cynthia Sax

by Cynthia Sax

I started my SciFi romance writing career with a large digital first publisher. Self-publishing was an option at the time but not the best choice for me.


Because I didn’t know anything about covers, writing blurbs, what SciFi romance readers are looking for (even though I was a SciFi romance reader myself), etc. I didn’t have a readership base, a street team, relationships with reviewers or bloggers.

My publisher paired me with an editor who specialized in SciFi romance. She not only taught me about reader expectations, about how to thread in the science and the world building, but she also taught me how to write blurbs, that all important back cover copy that drives sales.

My first release occurred before Amazon took over the world. My publisher still had a large number of readers buying directly from the website. Many of the SciFi romance readers bought EVERY release in the genre, including mine. I wasn’t starting from zero readers.

My publisher had established relationships with reviewers. I got reviews! Woot! And yes, many of those reviewers review my books today.

Everything was groovy for a while. Then this publisher began having financial difficulties. My beloved editor and many of the staff were let go. Royalty payments were sent later and later.

I was very lucky. My fourth SciFi romance series ended right before the publisher’s issues came to light. But it scared me. I don’t ever want to leave a series unfinished.

I wrote Releasing Rage, my cyborg SciFi romance, without knowing where I’d publish it. It is a dark, raw, emotional story. When I pitched it to my agent, she told me she couldn’t sell it.

A part of me was relieved. I wanted total control of this series. I wanted to decide how many stories I’d write in it (traditional publishers usually decide this and this decision is almost always based on the previous release’s sales). I didn’t want anyone to smooth the edges off this story.

I now had the contacts to self-publish. I knew a great cover artist, a great freelance editor, a great formatter. I also had the experience. I had written over 80 blurbs. I had a street team, the reviewer contacts, a base of readers.

Most importantly, I had the confidence. I didn’t need an editor to tell me the story was great (though she did). I knew it in my bones. I knew if I didn’t publish this story, I’d regret it.

I love self-publishing. Having control over my work is wonderful. So is the ability to see my daily sales, instead of waiting three months or more for a grouped unit and dollar amount. I can run a promotion and see immediately if it is working or not. Blurbs can be tweaked after they’ve gone live. I can insert my own key words and tags.

Would I work with a traditional publisher again? If they offered me something I couldn’t provide for myself, absolutely. Until then, I’m happy to be self-publishing.



Releasing Rage
Half Man. Half Machine. All Hers.

Rage, the Humanoid Alliance's most primitive cyborg, has two goals--kill all of the humans on his battle station and escape to the Homeland. The warrior has seen the darkness in others and in himself. He believes that's all he's been programmed to experience.

Until he meets Joan.

Joan, the battle station's first female engineer, has one goal--survive long enough to help the big sexy cyborg plotting to kill her. Rage might not trust her but he wants her. She sees the passion in his eyes, the caring in his battle-worn hands, the gruff emotion in his voice.

When Joan survives the unthinkable, Rage's priorities are tested. Is there enough room in this cyborg's heart for both love and revenge?

Buy Now:
On Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Releasing-Rage-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZOL1DRO

On Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ZOL1DRO/

On ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-releasingrage-1850041-340.html

On B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/releasing-rage-cynthia-sax/1122455646



About Cynthia Sax
USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.
Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com

Website: CynthiaSax.com

Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Facebook: facebook.com/cynthia.sax

Twitter: @CynthiaSax

Blog: TasteOfCyn.com

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this post are the views of the author and not the views of the SFR Brigade.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today. I'm excited to hear about everyone's experiences with self publishing vs traditional publishing.

  2. I went Indie after publishing 15 books with a traditional publisher and never looked back. I love the control too.

    Do you have the rights back to your other series? Do you plan to re-release them as Indie publications?

    1. I don't have the rights back, unfortunately. I sell too many copies for them to transfer back via the contract. I've requested to buy them back but the publisher isn't responding to me.

  3. I went indie after my second book. I love it, and now I have both my early books back, so I'm totally in control of my world. I'll end this year with 18 books and have an exciting year planned ahead.

    1. That's super, Liza! I love hearing stories like yours!

  4. I started out indie. When I was still writing my first book, I went to a writer conference and heard several literary agents at a roundtable mutually sneer at cross-genre books, and specifically call out science fiction romance as the worst of the worst. From all I'd been reading online, I'd been leaning toward going independent, but that experience sealed the deal.

    I'm still learning, and I wish I could write faster so I'd have the back catalog that Cynthia, Cara, and Liza have, but I *love* being in charge of my own destiny. I pay for the failures, and am rewarded for the successes.

    Would I go with a publisher? Definitely not for my current series, and probably not for any other series. If I have to build the platform, do the marketing, arrange for interviews, and convince my local bookstores to carry my books, what is the publisher doing to earn the lion's share of the royalties and years of tying up the rights? Readers don't ask who publishes my books; they ask "when is the next one coming out?"

    --Carol Van Natta

    1. Yes, I've never had a reader ask me who I'm published with. I write shorter. My previous SciFi releases were all novellas (25,000 words). My cyborg stories are longer (50,000 words and up). That's why I have so many stories. I like writing and reading short and when I started, there weren't many shorter works available. Now, funnily enough, they're super popular. I was trendy and didn't even know it. (grins)


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