I had to learn the hard way about indie publishing and traditional publishing. I had to learn about book covers and editing and a lot of other stuff as I learned about indie publishing, but somehow I muddled through. I also had a bad experience with an agent, and have read enough horror stories by traditionally published authors to almost never want one.
My friends and I still query, though, because
- Why not?
- Self pub means having to master a LOT of stuff that’s not all easy, namely promotions
- Doing promotions kinda sucks
- Doing ads can spend a lot and not make anything back – ask anyone or almost everyone
- The pretense that others like agents and publishers may know more – too many articles indicate otherwise, but still
I had a guy, a friend of a friend, who wanted to rep me and we started down that path. It was going to take, like, 18 months OR MORE to put out a book that was ready to go, so (after 3 months of dicking around with him and nothing AT ALL happening) I eventually said I think I’ll pass, apologized to the friend – and put out 6 titles in the time it’d have taken that guy to do one.
I got a #1 bestseller in those 18 months, too. Oh wait, no- I got two.
There are pros and cons to both routes, so I still look to diversify, but I’m still impatient. I shop my next book to agents for a while and if there are no bites, off it goes to indieland where it’ll do very well. (And they’ll miss out again.)
My friend has a book selling very well that she published as an indie, while her other book has languished – you won’t believe this – for TWO YEARS with a publisher.
Two years! And it’s still not out! While her other book is kicking ass!
Pardon my French, but that’s just fucking stupid. Her indie book sells more copies IN A DAY than many authors sell in a month! Capitalize on that success = easier job for everyone. Duh! Business 101.
You will read stuff like that all the time. There are plenty of articles by traditionally published authors telling you how bad it is, but there are benefits, too. Many trad authors also self pub now. It’s a growing trend. Other BIG TIME authors quit the trad route completely and never looked back.
So I can go either way with traditional publishing or independent publishing, but being able to do it myself gives me leverage. I get to keep most of my money (instead of the publisher keeping most of it) and I have learned a few things that keep me from being taken advantage of. I’m not desperate. That’s a big advantage.
Self-publishing is a great experience that will give you an amazing education that you don’t pay for and may make money from, but it will also show you reasons why you don’t want to do it. That can help you be a better client for an agent and publisher.
What has been YOUR experience, actual or what you’ve read, and who have you seen as a good example of each?
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