Sunday, March 20, 2016

Indie Thoughts For Consideration

It’s real easy to say that you’ve chosen one way or the other in regards to publishing and your writing career.  Some will say, “Yes I’m going to go traditional – I want my books in Barnes & Noble.”  Others will say, “Obviously I’m going indie – I want freedom from the Big 5 publishers.”  However, I hope that those making these statements have really given though to what truly goes into each.

Time – Time is the biggest consideration when choosing, and by that I mean how you want to spend your time.  Once this becomes a profession, we quickly learn that actually writing is the fun part…and one of the parts we spend the least amount of time on.  Unless your name is Rowling or Patterson, you’re unlikely to just wake up when the sun is warm, pour a fresh cup of brew, and start cranking out your new masterpiece.  What you’re more likely to do is either do something in the query process – write your query, send our your query, polish your query, research who you should query, etc.  Whether you like it or not, this is how most writers spend their time, so decide which way you want to spend it.
Money – Money is a consideration in both methods, but it’s different in each.  With traditional publishing, you need to consider whether your effort is worth a 15% commission on a print run of 5,000 books.  Can you handle only being paid twice a year?  Do you want your agent taking 15% of your pay?  For indie, the money concerns come up front – Can you afford to buy ten ISBNs?  What will your cover cost?  How much will you have to pay an editor?  Do you have the funds available to run through each of these steps, hoping for financial success on the back side that may never materialize?
Editing – These can be an emotional topic.  If you go traditional, can you handle an editor at one of the major publishers cutting out parts of your book that you were in love with?  How will you react when they ask you to re-write parts of it(and they will)?  Are you really attached to your title?  In the indie game, how will you find an editor?  Self-editing is grand and all, but you really need an outside set of eyes to look at your stuff so you can get objective feedback.
Distribution – Do you have your heart set on getting into Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble?  If so, are you prepared for a limited print run that you will have no rights to increase or buy back once the publisher decides that novel has no more sales potential?  If you go indie, how will you get your work into the public domain?  Are you going to go exclusively with ebooks, or are you going to print hardcovers, and if so, how will you get them into stores?  What happens when you print 5,000 books and they have to sit in your garage because no one wants to sell them?
I’m not asking these questions to be a killjoy.  I simply want to make sure you understand the paths of each so you can make an informed decision.  After all, no one will care about your career as much as you do.

1 comment:

  1. What a killjoy! But you're absolutely right. So far my decision has depended on the book: My more traditional romantic comedies and short story collection were through traditional publishers, along with a history book by a specialty publisher. I self-published books that were unlikely to find a traditional publisher anyway, such as a humor collection and a local history book.