From Women Writers, Women’s Books:
I can’t tell you how often I am asked if I am self-published, and even though it’s a fair question I admit I am a bit sensitive to the assumption that I couldn’t have gotten my book published the old-fashioned way. This is because I worked pretty hard to be traditionally published and while I might self-publish someday, I’m glad I went through the traditional publishing journey.
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The traditional submission process makes your novel better. Sure, you are going to get rejected. I’ve been rejected my fair share, and so have J.K. Rowling and John Grisham, but if I had to go through all of that rejection again, I would do it. The great thing about the traditional submission process is that every time you are rejected, you have to revisit your manuscript and make it better before sending it out again. Revision is a great teacher, and I’ve learned a ton from editors who have rejected my work. If you still decide to go the self-publication route someday, you will be glad that your manuscript was read, critiqued, and rejected by editors who knew what they were doing.
Being traditionally published is a VIP Pass. If you manage to get traditionally published, it will be good for the rest of your career. Even if you self-publish or go with a small publisher later, as I have, you’ll be able to say that you were previously published by a large traditional publisher. This isn’t just for bragging rights, but so that new doors and opportunities to reach your readers will open up to you. For example, when I first queried one of the small publishers I am now with, I noticed that all of their existing authors were previously with larger legacy publishers. Well, good news. So was I. I am sure it helped my submission on some level when I was able to say I was previously published by Random House.
Link to the rest at Women Writers, Women’s Books