Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Big Question. To Indie or Not.


A few of my writing friends are taking the self-publishing route. It is something I have thought about but???
I am not sure I would feel the self-fulfilment and achievement that I'd experience from being published by a traditional publisher. It's also self fulfillment in knowing you have delivered a story readers will enjoy, a story that readers will be entertained and satisfied. 

Therefore, I am asking INDIE authors, or those in the process of seeking this path, why are you self publishing?

·         Why do you self publish?

·         Is it for monetary gain?

·         Is it self-fulfilment?

·         Is it to see your name on an e-book?

·         What achievement or satisfaction have you received from self-publishing?

·         Do you feel competent to carry out all the marketing required?

·         What marketing do you do?

As you can see, I have a few questions. So many writers are self-publishing that I read the market is swamped with e-books. I have also learned that many of these e-books are lacking the professional editor's touch.

I have had some feedback from writers saying, if their e-book sells well hopefully one of the traditional publishers will pick it up. Is this the reason writers self publish? This perhaps would be a reason for myself to self publish but will it give me the satisfaction I seek? I'd be very appreciative if you'd leave a comment, anonymous if you prefer.

Thank you. :)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Suzanne
I have been thinking along the same lines. I'm not sure which avenue I'll take. It's an interesting post. I'm looking forward in seeing what writers have to say.

Shirley.

Tarnya said...

I did comment but it's not here and it was long. I'll go again so hope I don't double up.
I have been thinking along the same lines. I've downloaded a lot of Indie published novels and they were so hard to follow. Not only spelling mistakes, but I couldn't understand the sentences and couldn't follow the story. I have given up.

Anyone can self publish these days but I think everyone should make sure they get a professional editor to throughly go over it.

This is an interesting post.

Tarnya.

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,
Really nice website and blog. I'm new here and caught your post from Twitter. I am self published. I had a professional editor, and at least four readers go over my stories. I do a lot of marketing everything and anything I know and can do. My stories are selling well. The reason I chose Indie is that I was sick of being rejected by traditonal publishers. My readers love my stories. No larger publising house has picked up my work, but I am satisfied that I can write and have readers enjoy my work, with some financial gain as well.
It's worth thinking about.

Natasha

Maria Zannini said...

Money. Plain and simple. The residuals are better and I like having control of the end-product.

The only expensive part for me was the editing. I hired well known and excellent editors for my last two indie titles. They were worth it.

Maree Anderson said...

I wanted a change from writing erotic romance, and I had a bunch of manuscripts that had placed and finaled in various contests, but couldn't find a home. So last year I decided to give Indie-publishing a try. I must emphasize here that I wouldn't have felt at all confident self-publishing if I hadn't first worked with incredibly experienced editors who taught me my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and how to pull apart a story and put it back together again.

I'd been told by an agent I didn't have a YA voice, so it's a huge thrill for me to find readers who love my YA stories. And the first YA I published has been optioned for TV :) So indie-publishing allows me the freedom to write across genres. And for me, it was more about finding readers for my stories, than about the money--though I do make more from my self-published stories than I do from my small press published ones (those 3rd party retail electronic sales rates are a killer).

I'm blessed that my husband is an html whizz, which allows me to put out very professionally formatted ebooks. Aside from a great story, and professional formatting, IMO a great cover--professionally designed--and professional editing is a must. I'm expecting people to pay for my books. The very least I can do is present them well. Plus, some readers are hyper-critical of self-published authors, so it's important to me that my "product" is of the highest standard possible, and (hopefully) stacks up well to a "traditionally" published book.

Indie-publishing is a tough business. The buck stops with the author--there's no one else to blame if things go wrong at any stage of the process. But it gives a degree of control--and conversely, freedom, too!--that is often lacking in traditional publishing. For me, it's all about having choices while I continue to pursue traditional publishing.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Wow, Well thank you everyone.

You all have given me something to think about.

Maria, you are honest in what you say. Monetary value. I think all authors would want this, but with me it's more of achieveing something but monetary value would be nice.:)

Maree. Wow I am impressed. You certainly seem to know what you're doing and where you are headed. All the best. Thank you for your long indepth post.

Thank you Shirley, Tarnya and Natasha.

I agree with the not so professional. I think if anyone goes Indie they should make sure their editor knows what they are doing. Oh and a great cover doesn't hurt either. Which I have found out the many aspects of a digital cover. The right colours, size of print etc.

I'm doing a workshop in Nov about self publishing. A face to face group where we will all learn and be guided with the know how. I may take it up I may not.

Thanks again. :)

Sandy said...

Hi, Suzanne,

I'm also considering the Indie way as the novels I write don't fit any particular established genre. I've decided to give it until June next year to see if I can find a good traditional home for my work, then I'm off onto the Indie route. Kylie Griffin said that no-one is going to promote your work like yourself. (Or something similar). And I agree. With a lot of publishers you still have to do a lot of promoting and if they're going to be selling your book for a pittance, well, I think the whole pittance should go in your pocket and not just a percentage of it.

So, my plan is to pitch to good agents and publishing houses with good reputations.

If I have no luck by June next year, I'm off down the Indie track and part of my 'team' will include a professional editor and a graphic designer.

One of the things I like about Indie is that I can set my own release dates. (I presume)

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Sandy,
Thank you. It's a big world out there and anything is possible. Good luck with your venture. It is appealing but I may keep at it for a time.
Thank you for stopping by. :)

Autumn said...

Suzanne, I'm chewing over the same question.

On one side I'm seeing many writers I know who've been working on their writing for about the same length of time as me (though to be honest, probably working a lot harder than I have!)getting accepted by big romance publishers. I love sharing in the excitement of their Call Stories and seeing their books on the shelf in shiny pretty covers.

But it's unlikely my stories will be accepted by a tradtional publisher or a bigger e-publisher. They just don't fit. Too long, too short, too sweet, too sexy, wrong country, hero not rich enough, pace not fast enough. I don't naturally write stories that work for any of the publishers' lines, and when I try the stories are unnatural and stilted. It would be lovely to get The Call, but I'm not sure keeping on trying will be worth it for me.

On the self-publishing side, there are the huge massively publicised success stories like John Locke and Amanda Hocking and Fifty Shades, but also so many poor quality self-published books which are unlikely to sell more than a handful of copies. Yet even those books must give their writers some sense of satisfaction.

We hear less about the quietly successful self-publishers like Maria, Natasha, and Maree. These are the voices I want to listen to, and I'm so glad they commented! I've read and enjoyed many self-published books.

We need to each decide what "success" as a writer means for us. Is it a traditional contract? Is it ten five star reviews on Amazon? Is it selling so many thousand books? Is it getting emails from readers who loved your story?

If a writer really and truly knows only that traditional contract will do it for her, that's where her efforts need to focus. A good story well self-published can potentially achieve all the rest.

I need to earn some income from writing, AND I want as many happy readers as I can. Getting published traditionally is less important to me if I can have those two things. I'm thinking more and more lately that self-publishing may be right for me. Not as a way to get a traditional publishing contract, but as a end in itself.

The thought of being completely responsible for all aspects of the finished product is massively scary but also exhilarating. I'm 99% sure that's where I'm headed.

I hope you enjoy your writing journey whichever path you go for, Suzanne!

Autumn said...

Suzanne, one thing I wnated to ask, I know you are multi-published with a smaller publisher. What's your experience been with that?

To me, I'd rather self-publish than go that route. But I'd be interested to hear what you've found the benefits of publsihing that way.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Autumn,
I think being an INDIE publisher you have more control over the final outcome, cover edits, promotion, reveiws etc, oh, and you also don't have to pay the middle man.

With a small press publisher you have to give them a certain percent, and then sometimes you may not be happy with the cover or the editing.

There have been a few aspects of e publishing with a publisher I haven't been happy with but I won't go into it. :)If you would like to email me from my addy on my website I'd be more than happy to answer your questions.

My stories also fall between two genres and I was told by a senior editor of an Australian Publishing house that they didn't know where to place it or how to market it.

I want to see my book on the shelf in OZ, although it is on the shelf overseas at a few selected places. But going indie could also open many doors. Yes, writers have a lot to contemplate when swimming this journey.

As I said, I'll keep writing for the time being and see which direction I'll take, as I have no idea at present. Maybe the Gods will have an answer for me soon.

Thank you for calling in Autumn, and good luck with your stories. :)

Louisa Mack said...

Hi Suzanne,
I went the Indie path because I'd flogged my book to endless agents and publishers and though they all said they liked my writing, they also said my book didn't fit what they were looking for so it was either throw it away or indie publish.
I agree with the others that you need a good editor.
Check out other books they've edited to make sure you trust them. I paid my editor to check the story as well as do a copy edit.
You also need a good cover that reflects your story and looks professional. Both these expenses are worth every cent. They allow you to be proud of your book when it's up there and proud to promote it.
The nice thing about Indie publishing is that the promotion and writing the next book are at your discretion and therefore in your control.
I also had my book professionally formatted because I was nervous to trust my html skills but I think it's not too hard.
All the best,
Louisa

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Louisa,

Thank you for your input. It may not only help me but other's trying to sort out what direction they will take.

As for me. I'll hang in for a while longer. I believe in my suspense thrillers, love them. I am hoping a special editor, well a certain editor will also like them.

Thank you for stopping by. :)

J Q Rose said...

Thanks, Suzanne, for adding me to your Google circle. The discussion on going indie is timely for me as I just uploaded my file for my first self-pubbed book to Amazon and Smashwords. I am with a small press for mystery stories, but this e-book is very special one to me. It is non-fiction written for middle grade girls. Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. I queried many publishers, but I don't think non-fiction is a money maker. I received many compliments and positives, but noone was interested. One pub said because the women in the book were not nationally known e.g. Miley Cyrus. Ha. That was the point of the book--real women are the stars. I begin my book tour in November in this new market. I am so excited and look forward to interacting and hopefully inspiring girls.