The decision to go into independent publishing is not one to be taken lightly. There are many reasons that any writer might choose to take on the role of their own publisher. There are also many reasons to go with traditional publishing. Each route has their own set of perks and pitfalls to overcome. So, regardless of my own decision or what arguments for going it alone I may make in this blog, I wholly advocate doing your own research on both methods before making that decision for yourself. My purpose with this post is not to advocate for or against indie-publishing. Instead I want to explain why I came to the conclusion that this was the best option for my personal plans.
I think every writer starts out with dreams of the big publishing deal at a traditional house. I know that I did. I spent years prepping query letters and submission packages, sending them off, and waiting what seemed like months for rejection letters to come. At first they were just form letters stating that my work wasn’t accepted. Then I started to get letters that wanted to see more of the work for review. When I sent it some would say that it wasn’t a good fit for them, others would tell me that their client roster was too full to accept another work of this sort or that. For me, it all seemed futile after a while. I knew that I had a story that people would respond to. I also knew that a big house putting money into someone with no track record for marketing purposes was going to be little more than a drop in the bucket if anything. So, ultimately, I was going to have to look at other options. I had to prove myself before a major house was going to accept me and put anything into building my career.
So, I started looking into the independent publishing movement. There was more to it than I originally thought. There were things like editing, formatting, and cover design to consider. Then there was the cost of getting the books to readers and ultimately how to market the book so that people would know about it. So, yes there was a lot of work involved and a lot of cost.
Then I started looking at what cut of the book I would actually make. With publishers it was pennies per book sold. Doing it myself, I retained a much bigger portion of the profits. Add to that the fact that I kept creative control over the cover, the title, and the rights to the work and I had my facts.
Yes, lots of work. Yes, there is some cost involved. But ultimately, the whole experience would give me a much better one on one with my readership as it grew and I would be able to give the readers more of what they wanted if I had that sort of control. And ultimately that’s what I wanted to do.
So after months of consideration and a few further failed attempts to submit, I decided that I would be an independent author and work on actually reaching my audience more than I would worry about reaching a publisher.
Honestly, the digital age has been a friend to writers and artists in general. Unlike in the past, the internet allows us to reach a variety of people and in ways that are far easier than mediums in the past. With email and blogs it has become easier to reach readers and make connections. While it is not an instant process, it can be done with a bit of effort and research. Since I was willing to put forth the effort, I really feel that independent authorship was for me.
I am going to start compiling the resources that I’ve used over the years. My aim is to make some posts, once a week, about writing and publishing and then compile the links and resources under a section of the blog so that other aspiring authors can have access to them.
The one thing that people ask all writers, it seems, is if they have advice for other aspiring authors. My advice is very simple. Write. Don’t get caught up in the whole publishing game until you’re ready to actually publish something. Otherwise, you’ll make yourself crazy trying to sort of what you should write and should avoid based on a company’s guidelines that may never accept your work to begin with. So, write the stories you know you have to tell. Write for yourself and for the people who may read your work instead of some corporate CEO. You’ll be happier for doing so in the long-run.