I am an independent author.
This means that instead of following the career path of authors even five years ago, I’m using modern technology, online resources and my generous friends to publish my books myself under my own company name, Plume of Doom Publishing.
There are some advantages to this. And some disadvantages.
The Pros to Self-Publishing:
1. I have complete control. I can call myself a Christian fiction author and still use the word “badass.” I get to make the final decisions on cover design. I am the boss (well, actually, I do ask quite a bit of advice from my husband) but I have nobody over me to please.
2. I can be published faster. In the traditional publishing world, book releases take years. I can have my stories in the hands of my readers in a matter of months. The publishing resources I use: Amazon’s KDP program and Createspace are fast and easy. I’m very pleased with them.
3. I get a bigger cut. By not having a publisher and an agent, all of the profits go to yours truly. I can reinvest in myself and generate more sales and write more books.
4. I’m not a slave to the whims of the publishing industry. Every other day one publishing house is buying out another. Editors move from house to house. Relationships are shaky. There are no guarantees even after I sign a contract. With self-publishing, I’m away from that, even though my life has it’s own version of ups and downs.
1. The Buck Stops Here. All promotions, marketing and sales are my responsibility only. I have no marketing team to help me. No budget. No ads. Nuthin’. Oh, and I have to write, blog and crack wise on Facebook. Plus I have a home to keep and a family to care for. Yup. It’s a lot.
2. My books will probably never be in a real brick and mortar store. Piles of books by authors you know were put there by the publishing house. Mine will be limited to whatever online retailers I can work with, like Amazon. (If you see a copy of my book at a used books store or at a thrift store bin — BUY IT! I’ll buy it from you!)
3. I don’t really know what I’m doing. Since I don’t have an agent or a publisher, most of my decisions come from Google searches, advice my indie writer friends give me, blogs I read and my husband. I don’t have a problem with being self-taught, but when you’re on your own the stakes are higher and the mistakes could be bad.
4. I’m really not all that special. There is a legitimacy to having an agent and a publisher. Anyone, however, can publish a book. I will have to fight for readers, “likes” and followers. The self-publishing swimming pool is really, really crowded nowadays, so I have low expectations for my success.
But this is what I like about self-publishing: I like all of the people I’m meeting. I like it that I’m gaining readership based on my social media presence. I like that I’m not put in a box with other writers out there. I like it that I’m free to be myself in my books without some furrowed brow editor type looking over my shoulder. I like it that since releasing Falling For Your Madness on November 19, I’ve had a blast checking my stats, meeting readers, savoring reviews and enjoying myself. This beats writing the millionth query letter and receiving the millionth rejection letter. At this writing over 100 people have bought my book. If I had gone with a traditional publisher 100 would be a disappointing number, not a thrilling one. And it would have taken months for me to see those type of numbers because of the lengthy publishing process. And if I went with a published house, there is a constant fear that I’ll be dropped if I don’t reach certain goal. But by being indie, there’s a teensy part of me that is absolutely delighted that those 100+ readers bought my book because of my influence alone, not a publisher’s. And my favorite part is personally talking to readers, people whom I have never met, and finding out why they like my book. That probably would come too, if I signed with a publishing house, but somehow this is purer. This is better.
So for now, I’m loving being an independent author. I have plans to release another novel next fall. I’m sure in the next year I’ll learn more, make plenty of mistakes, ride the waves of sales data and be a better writer for it.
So, what do you like about being indie? What questions would you have about the self-publishing process? Can you help this indie author? Do you know what a Plume of Doom is?