What market to pitch to?

I’m wrestling with something as I edit my first novel: Do I self publish or try to go the traditional route? If I go traditional I have to find an agent (probably) or query publishers personally (probably not). It would mean that if it got picked up (who knows, possible but by no means certain) I might get lucky and get as much as 15% of the cover price of a hardcover imprint. They might market the book, or they might just put it out there. Given that this novel is horror, probably not much marketing. On the other hand, there would be an advance (not a big one, but something)… if I got published.

On the other hand, if I self publish I get a much bigger piece of any sales I make. 70% of e-book sales in most markets, 30% in smaller markets. For print books, it’s whatever I charge minus the cost to print the book. This is a shorter book, probably in the 300 page range once edited. I can charge less than a mass market paperback and personally make more per copy than I would off a hardcover. It sounds great, but if the publisher means I sell 20,000 copies and self publishing means I sell 20 that’s a big difference.

Right now I’m leaning towards self publishing, mostly because I believe in the philosophy. If it works out and I make money, great – I’m going to market the hell out of my own work, as much as I can. I’m pretty sure that from a financial perspective this is worse than getting published, but I also have no clue if I will ever get published.

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