Sunday, October 11, 2015

Drawbacks of Indie Publishing

For all the fanfare I give indie publishing, there are some drawbacks to going into this whole book thing without a traditional publisher.  It isn't for the feint of heart, and it's probably a good idea to review some of the potential pitfalls you'll encounter in indie publishing should you choose to go that route.

1.  There's no one to push you but the audience.  If you're a self starter, this isn't a big deal.  However, if you're the kind of person who needs someone standing over your shoulder telling you how much to write each day, then look elsewhere.  Indie is for self-starters.  You'll never succeed if you require supervision, for there is no one but you.

2.  You need a knowledge of how to run a business.  I've often said that writing is a business.  The main point, whether we like it or not, is to sell our work.  If you go with a traditional publisher, whichever house accepts you will take care of figuring out payment rates, doing cost analysis on the print price, and determining the legal hurdles you'll have to jump in order to bring your novel to market.  In indie, however, you need to research this stuff on your own.  Lots of writers go into traditional publishing precisely because they want to avoid all that boring business stuff.  If you don't want to be figuring out what your ideal profit point is, don't go into indie.

3.  Formatting and editing.  If you go to a traditional house, they'll put your book into a readable format.  Further, they'll have so many editors that their advice/recommendations will be coming out of your ears.  In indie publishing, you have to seek out editors and beta-readers.  No one is going to knock down your door and demand to read your novel so they can critique it and check the grammar.

4.  Cover art.  I personally like finding someone to do the cover art myself.  As the writer, I know what I want my cover to look like.  However, this can be a lot of extra work, so many writers prefer traditional houses that do that stuff for them.  If all you want to do is give a vague description of what you want your cover to look like while someone else coordinates it all, then seek out a traditional publishing house.

5.  Marketing.  Okay, this one isn't as prominent as it once was since most authors are expected to do a good deal of the marketing themselves.  However, there are things you won't have to worry about, like getting yourself into stores and putting them on Amazon.  Your publisher should do that  for you, just like they should get you an ISBN.  However, with indie, it's on your to find outlets for your work.  If you feel that'll distract you too much from writing, go traditional.

These are just a few things indie writers need to consider.  I personally feel the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, but that decision has to be up to each person.  If you're a self starter/control freak(like I am), then you may want to look into indie.  If that's all too much for you, try your damnedest to get a traditional publishing contract.

Next week, a refresher in indie advantages...

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