Proceed With Caution
I’ve been debating over this post for a while, trying to gather my thoughts together on the subject. The whole Indie vs Traditional world has exploded over the last few days. Barry Eisler turned down a $500k major deal to go rogue like his friend, JA Konrath. And then there’s Amanda Hocking who has moved from self-pubbing to signing a 4-book deal with St. Martin’s because she “just wants to write” and who can blame her?
Let’s analyze this for a second.
Write a book, send to publisher, get contract. Someone else does all the artwork for you, you have an editor, you get the book done and when it’s your release date, you promo the hell out of it.
Write a book, hire a freelance editor, hire a freelance cover artist if you don’t know jack about Photoshop, do ALL the marketing and ALL the promotion and ALL the prepping for getting it up at the various sites (Smashwords, Lulu, Kindle, PubIt, etc), release your book, then promo the hell out of it.
Yes, I know it’s not that simple. Nothing ever is. I’m not saying going direct publishing is a BAD thing. NOT AT ALL. I’m a fan. Hell, I have two stories up right now for $0.99 on Kindle and the other various outlets (yes, that was a shameless plug). I’ve been asked to be part of something totally cool that will be direct published later this year (I’m not sure if I can announce that yet, so I’m keeping it on the DL). I know several authors who have gone indie and they’re doing very well and I wish them all the luck in that. It’s hard to do that and write, not to mention the other hats we have to wear (mother, wife, employee, care-giver, etc). Direct publishing, self-publishing, whatever you want to call it gives the author more control over creative endeavor — their book.
But really? I just want to write books. I’m inherently lazy. I don’t want to promo or play with Photoshop or anything else. I don’t even want to make book trailers and I think they’re cool and fun to do. But I WILL if I feel it’s in the best interest of my career (that is if I can shove aside Lazy to get it done *grin*). I have books that are selling dismally and when I get the rights back, I intend to do something with them besides let them be out of print. For ME, I don’t want it to be the ONLY thing. And if I have success with publishing independently, then that’s awesome, too. Ultimately, I want to be with one of the Big 6. Truly.
And I will do what I think is necessary to get there. Like going with a smaller press to stay published. I’m a fan of ebooks. I have a Nook. I believe authors should be able to make good money from them. But I also think that, as a writer, I should proceed with caution when selecting an epress. There are tons of epublishers out there and more popping up every day. They’re the New Kid on the Block and they WANT us and our stories. That’s all well and good but just because something is in a pretty package doesn’t mean it’s going to sell. I’m a fan of watching and waiting to see what happens before jumping in feet first. I’ve seen too many epublishers fail in the first 6-12 months of operation. I was even offered a contract from one a while back. I turned it down and it proved to be a good decision because the publisher folded. And the thing was… I knew the story wasn’t that good. It’s still shelved, by the way. As yet unpublished.
I don’t begrudge anyone their 3-book deals or a new contract from a new publisher. Far from it. I think it’s great and I will be one of the first people to send you a congratulatory post. Who doesn’t want to be published, after all? *I* do. I want that elated feeling of getting “the call” or “the email” and signing that contract and seeing my book published. But for me, I need to wait and see what happens. Not every gamble pays off and I’d rather be one of the ones on the outside looking in waiting to see what happens.