Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thinking of Going Indie?

The following post is no way is meant to encourage or discourage anyone from taking advantage of indie publishing. And for the record, I never suggest my writing students go indie first. Okay, okay. Settle down and read on.

Instead, I suggest my students try traditional, royalty paying publishers first and then work their way up the ladder to bigger and better opportunities.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't approve of indie (self-publishing). Oh, quite the contrary. I currently have back listed titles whose contracts have or will be ending soon and I've seriously entertained the idea of indie pubbing them at some point in the future. I like to have choices, but then I'm a free spirit, a bit of a rogue, and have the tenacity of a pit bull on steroids. But I digress....

So about going Indie--- Indie pubbing can be an avenue of publication for any author, new, seasoned, published or unpubbed. Today we DO have many choices and every author has to decide what is best for their product. Still, it makes good sense to learn about the business of writing, working with publishers and actually being an author before jumping off into the deep end without a having lifeguard present, don't you think?

That's why I always suggest the traditional route first. There's nothing like first hand experience to really prepare you for the eye opening reality of what you're getting into. Only when you've worked with editors, agents, and other authors do you really get the full scope of what publishing is, and is not.

I suppose what I fear might happen with the current explosion of indie titles is that readers will be barraged with manure. Now, this is where everyone who'se indie pubbed gets their knickers in a bunch, but as my dad used to say, "You can get glad again in the same pants you got mad in. "

(Don't read any further if you are having knicker problems. If thy knickers offend thee, pluck your wedgie first and then continue reading. )

Of course, among the mud and manure, you're also going to have indie gems, too--brilliant gems that were never picked up my NY publishing houses for whatever reason and really should have been tomorrow's blockbusters.

But as I said, I fear the market will be flooded with everyone who ever wrote a book (or thinks what they have IS a book), and some of those books should never see the light of day. Trust me. I still have a couple of those types of books in boxes that will never be published because they are not publishable. I know this. And I do not want to humiliate myself among my peers (whom, I kinda like most of the time when they're not pissing me off or I'm not pissing them off). And I certainly don't want to alienate, or at the most, strike fear in the hearts of any future editors or agents. In other words, I don't want them to read a piece of slop and judge my writing based on that. I am a professional and I want to be thought of as such.

Which brings me to my next thought... e-book authors struggled for years to overcome the stigma of e-publishing among peers and other industry professionals. They weren't thought of as "real" authors. Snort. In fact, in one pro organization (one whom I shall not name for fear of being bitch slapped with a red stiletto)....sorry, I couldn't resist....

Where was I....ah yes, it wasn't long ago that a certain organization didn't give the same respect to e-pubbed authors as print ones, although these e-pubs were with royalty paying publishers, were making more than traditional print authors with major houses, or were making 6 figures a year from their e-books (it's twoooooo, it's twoooooo,). But they still did not garner the respect or acceptance of their peers for many years.

So, I include the link below to the article with a caveat: be aware that there are things you can and should do if you go the indie route of publishing. First of all, make sure you have a sound, edited product and that you know what you've got, not um..."It's science fiction with dinosaurs and angsty teens who are vampires." Hmmmm. You mean as in "Jurassic Park meets Twilight?" (Sheesh. Who do you think's gonna win when they rumble in the meadow? I'm bettin' ten bucks on Barney, myself.)

Seriously, know your genre. Know your audience. Know your market. Know your limitations. Know your goals--not just how to set them but how to get where you want to go.

Indie is not for everyone, but neither is a root canal. Only you can decide.


7 Reasons Self-Published E-Books Fail

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