Tuesday, May 28, 2013

From Traditional Wannabe to Indie Pit Bull

The five of you that have followed this blog since the beginning know that I once started out as most every other writer does.  I wanted to find an agent and sign that multi-book deal from a major publisher so that I could follow in the footsteps of Dan Brown or Stephanie Meyer.  I viewed self publishing, as I called it back then, as the last resort of those losers who couldn't make it in the world of those rightly recognized for their ability.

Wow...what a difference a little bit of time makes.

So, how did I go from a traditional wannabe to a pit bull who is fully on board with the indie route?  It started with recognition that the book market was changing, and in some cases it was changing so quickly that it was impossible to keep up with the latest trends.  Along the way, I started doing some real research into traditional publishing, and the more I read, the less I liked it.  New authors were treated terribly by large publishers, with no push and even more onerous contract terms.  If there hadn't been any other options, it might have discouraged me right out of publishing altogether.
(Are you truly exploring all options on where to put your stuff?)
But in a hilarious twist of fate, as traditional publishers were getting more constrictive, indie options were opening up for the entrepreneurial minded.  Where in the past a self published writer had to put together a crappy looking product or pay thousands of dollars he likely didn't have, the rise of print on demand, as well as the e-book, mostly under the tuteledge of Amazon, gave writers a new outlet.  Further, the bevy of independent artists out there who could provide professional covers gave indie writers the look they needed to compete with products put out by traditional publishers.

The only thing missing was the distribution large publishers provided, and that means less than it used to.  Indie writers are finding their way into bookstores again, and if that takes off, it removes the last barrier traditional publishers had to the indie movement.

One would think that such a thing would give traditional publishers pause about the changing landscape, perhaps forcing them to revamp their business styles.  Instead, they've hunkered down and declared that any going the indie route was a low class hack who couldn't make it with "real" publishers.  They tightened up their contracts and refused to see the forest for the trees.

It was this level of hubris that finally pushed me over the edge.  Coupled with understanding that I would have tons more control over my career by going indie than I would by landing a traditional publishing deal, I jumped into indie with both feet, and I haven't looked back.  That means it all depends on me, but I'm much more comfortable with that than I am turning over control to a bunch of people I don't know, many of whom I know I'll never meet.

Since I don't do things halfway - my personality can't do that - I've become a huge defender of the indie movement as well, castigating those who hold onto the old ways as relics of a bygone era.  Plus, the success stories in indie publishing are no longer the rare exception they once were.  Indeed, those stories are now becoming more prevalent than success in the traditional world.

Retaining control and greater chances of success?  That should be enough to convince anybody.

No comments:

Post a Comment