One of the earlier posts on this blog was about my thoughts on self-publishing, which were largely negative. To me, self-publishing was basically an easy way out that didn't give you any credibility, and I was annoyed by non-industry people who thought I should take that path. At the time, my stance was not unusual. But in the past couple of years, the market has shifted. The new truth is that self-publishing is a viable option that can't be ignored.
Nowadays, self-publishing is commonly referred to as "indie publishing," and it is usually done through small companies. Another option for a novel-writing career is "hybrid publishing," where you choose between indie and traditional publishing on a project-by-project basis.
Naturally, with me being as stubborn as I am, I've tried really really hard to ignore the increasing buzz about indie publishing. A big reason for this is because it really does annoy me when people ask why I don't just self-publish. But a few months ago, I went to a seminar given by Emily Tippets, a sci-fi and LDS romance writer who works under two pseudonyms. (Check out her sci-fi website here and her romance site here.) Emily is a long-time indie author. She gave a really intelligent talk about publishing of all kinds, with, of course, a focus on indie publishing. Through her seminar, I gained more respect for this career path.
A key factor Emily pointed out is how e-books have changed the industry. People can publish books for lower costs than ever before, and readers can access these books much more easily. This has opened the market to more successful indie publishing. Amazon bestseller lists now have a good percentage of indie titles as well as traditional ones.
One of the main attractions of traditional publishing is the chance to work with a team of professionals who know the market and who can manage other aspects of the process that authors are less familiar with so that authors can focus on writing. However, as traditional publishing companies turn more of the marketing responsibility over to their authors, that process becomes similar for us either way. There are also many gifted people who can be hired as part of a similar team for indie authors, including freelance editors, formatters, cover designers, marketers, and bloggers.
Many authors prefer to have a greater level of personal control over the process and would rather manage the team and the difference aspects of publishing themselves. There are definitely benefits to this, including a greater percentage of sales. It also means less rejection and being able to publish books that don't fit easily into the market the way that traditional publishers prefer.
So this is my official admission: indie publishing is legitimate. However, do be aware, as always, that there are tons of scams out there. I also need to say that I still have no intention of going the indie route. For me, traditional publishing just feels more legitimate--I know once I get accepted there, I'll have reached an appropriate level of writing skill. I won't know that if I self-publish. (There are complexities to this idea, but I hope you understand what I mean.) I'll also be more likely to see my books on library shelves and in brick-and-mortar bookstores, which is a big dream of mine. I'm now familiar with a lot of the people involved in traditional publishing, thanks to social media, and the community that surrounds traditional kid lit really means a lot to me. They're great people! Additionally, the kind of support found in traditional publishing, where I'll be working with a qualified group of people who know more than I do about the business side of writing, appeals to me. I'm okay handing over some control to them.
Then there's the fact that high-quality self-publishing, the kind you have to seek out if you're serious about your writing career, costs a lot upfront and out of pocket. I simply can't afford that. 🤷🏻♀️
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed. Tell me your thoughts on indie publishing.
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