Your success with either option relies heavily on the quality of your work, your ability to build a strong platform, and the effectiveness of your marketing plan to help build that platform.
A platform is something you stand on to be noticed, but the kind of platform we are talking about is a communication tool that you use to connect with the people who share a common interest with your message or product. Conversations, public speaking engagements, podcasts, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and almost anything else referred to as social media can be platforms. Once it is widely read, your book can become part of your platform, but its success begins with the strength of the connections, or relationships, you form directly with people. The strength of a platform is usually “measured” by the number of “followers” and “friends” you can get on social media sites because this is our best means of quantifying this abstract concept.
With this in mind, the best publishing option for you is based on your answer to this question: Do you have a social media following that numbers in the thousands? If the answer is “not yet,” then you should seriously consider self-publishing first as part of your platform building strategy. If the answer is “yes,” then start working on a query letter and book proposal to get a literary agent who will help promote your book to publishing companies.
In his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, former Thomas Nelson CEO explains why major publishers do not represent books by authors without a platform. Technology has made competition greater than ever and that people are now distracted more than ever, so starting with an author who comes with their own platform makes them more likely to make money from your book. If that is how major publishing companies think about investing in your book, what should your priority be as a self-publisher?
Still not sure which option works best for you? Choose your book publishing personality and follow the recommendation for your personality.
Based on this explanation, why do you think there are bestselling authors who self-publish some of their titles?