Sunday, October 18, 2015

Advantages of Indie Publishing

Since I went over the drawbacks of indie publishing last week, I felt it only fair to revisit the good that indie publishing provides for writers.  I still think it's the wave of the future, and the future is now.

1.  You have control.  As I said last week, it's all on you.  Some folks don't like that, but I'm not one of them.  In indie, I get to decide things like my work schedule, my cover art, and my marketing strategy.  If something doesn't work, I can change it.  If I like something, I can try it.  I'm not reliant on anybody else having a greater say in my own work than me.

2.  You retain rights and profits.  I've heard story after story of authors fighting to get the rights back to their work after their publisher made the arbitrary decision to stop their print run.  As an indie writer, it's on you to decide if your work shows promise to continue to market, and you don't have to beg someone else's permission to use your own stuff.  Better than that is that all the money you make beyond overhead and startup costs is yours.  You needn't worry about royalty rates and checks every six months; you get to put all that profit right back into your bank account.

3.  Edits.  Any writer worth his or her salt wants to show the work to someone else for feedback.  If you don't do this, you're an idiot.  However, as an indie author, you get to decide if you want to incorporate feedback rather than yielding that decision to an editor in New York.  Perhaps there are things in there that I put in there on purpose.  Maybe they give it form and help shape the story I want to tell.  In traditional publishing, you have to accept the "suggested" edits of your literary agent, publishing editors, and publishing executives, or you find yourself with no prospects unless your name is King, Rowling, or Patterson.

4.  What's your best medium?  Again, back to the control thing.  Do you want to publish exclusively in ebook format?  How many copies do you want to print?  Is this Kindle exclusive, or do you want to branch out into Smashwords?  In indie, you get to make these decisions.

5.  Getting past the gate.  The biggest frustration for new authors is getting past the gatekeepers in publishing.  We all want our work out there, but traditional publishing acts as a gatekeeper that hems in new writers when it should be the market that does that.  With indie, you can publish and let readers decide if you've got the chops.

Suffice to say that I'm still big on the indie bandwagon.  With the contraction of the traditional publishing model and the expansion of technology that lets us bypass them, indie is how things are going to be done.  Unless you strike gold under a full moon, your chances for success are better in indie.

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