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Archived Author Help > Why have you decided to indie-pub your novel?

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message 1: by Carol (last edited Apr 28, 2015 03:50PM) (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments I'm hoping to hear from people who have experience with either successful self-pub or with both the traditional and self-pub routes - not necessarily publication by traditional, but trying to work with the system. I'm hoping for lessons learned that can be of help to others.

Here's my personal story:

When I set out in 2002 to write down a story that had been living in my head for more than twenty years, I didn't first do any research into what publishers think they are looking for. I wrote what I had it in me to write, without any regard for publishers' expectations, and I've concluded that the resulting work would be extremely difficult to sell to a traditional publisher. This based on my efforts to find an agent for my first manuscript in 2005, as well as on everything I've heard and read since then.

First, publishers want the first book from an unknown author to be a stand-alone, but my first work of fiction is a seven-book fantasy series that is one continuous story, not a series of stand-alones. I could try to pass my first volume off as a stand-alone, but the editors would be sure to want me to cut out a lot of apparently extraneous material that relates to the longer story. Plus it would be obvious when they got to the end that there had to be more.

Publishers don't want books to be over a certain length because thicker books take up more space on bookstore shelves. Fantasy readers don't mind long books, but at 175,000 words, my first volume seriously exceeds what publishers want. I've already edited for length, and even if I decided I could cut some more, losing about a third of the text is just not going to leave the same story.

Whereas agents (and acquisition editors if the publisher accepts un-agented submissions) do eventually read manuscripts, that's not how they make their initial picks. Instead, it's done based on a query letter. Query letters had better be short and need to stand out from all the other query letters, which means you're out of luck if you don’t have a way to describe your book in one or two sentences that makes the agent say "wow!" Without that, they probably won't even read the sample pages they may have asked for. They get too many submissions and they just don't have time. (The same goes for pitching an agent in person. You're not going to get read if you don't have a dynamite hook.) This works against me because my work is really hard to describe in a nutshell. Its strength is in the characters and the details of the plot and in how I tell it. Readers who are in my target audience tend to like it, and like it a lot, but you really do have to read at least a substantial portion of it to fully appreciate it.

If the agent asks for a plot synopsis, that doesn't help either. Reducing my story to the length of a synopsis gets it down to bare bones and necessarily leaves out all the details and nuances that make the story what it is. The result inevitably tends to sound banal.

Now add to all of this the fact that publishers nowadays put minimal money into promoting first-time authors. They expect you to do the promotion. (In fact they expect you to already have a "platform" before they pick you up.) And they're likely to drop you if your first book doesn't sell several thousand copies in the first three months. I have serious doubts that I can generate those kinds of sales in that time-frame. I'm personally willing to wait longer for success, but it doesn't matter, if they aren't – and then I would have the problem of trying to recover the rights to book 1 of a seven-book series


message 2: by J.N. (last edited Apr 28, 2015 04:01PM) (new)

J.N. Bedout (jndebedout) | 115 comments I'll admit I wrestled with the option for some time. For me it boiled down to a few very simple criteria:

1) I'm a do-it-yourself-er. So the extra effort to craft and polish the book was not a deterrent.

2) I'd need an agent. I was looking to publish my first book, and finding a "respectable" agent seemed impossible. The web is littered with horror stories of scam artists cloaked as literary agents.

3) Sending emails and letters to publishers seemed pointless. There was no standard for making requests. They stated up front that they would not even bother to reply with a reject notice if they didn't like it and leave you dangling. If I take the time to send a request, the least I would expect is the etiquette of a reply.

So, for me it turned out to be an easy choice. No money up front; no deadlines, so I could dictate my own pace (important since I have a day job); no dealing with charlatans and miscreants.

Then I just had to chose between CreateSpace, smashwords, and Lulu. The other options were too expensive up front for me.


message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Jensen (kdragon) | 468 comments I made my decision to go indie while trying to find an agent. I'd only been searching for a few months when the whole process - trying to land an agent in the hopes of later landing a publisher, all hinging on writing just the right query letter and hoping beyond hope that my story struck the right cord with at least one agent - really rubbed me the wrong way. I really hated that the process of getting published was pretty much a game of roulette.

I'm also a bit of a control freak, and the idea of being in complete control of my book really appealed to me. The only set-back has been getting my book noticed, something I'm still working on even after a year. But I've learned quite a bit since I first published, so my hope is that my next book will have a better chance.


message 4: by M.E. (new)

M.E. Kinkade (mekinkade) | 17 comments I went the traditional route first before switching gears recently and self-publishing it via CreateSpace. There were a number of reasons:
- I'd seen people I know self-publish to strong success, and I figured if they could do it, I definitely could.
- The agents themselves (and many of the authors) at my regional writer's conference (DFW Writers' Convention) started to encourage self-publishing for those with "odd" books that may not fit in the traditional mold.
- I had a really bad experience with two agents.

The last part was the final straw. I'd had meetings with two agents at the DFW Writers' Convention--they requested full manuscripts! (That's a BIG deal!) So I sent off the manuscripts and began to wait. The first agent changed agencies within a few months, and anyone in her "to-read" pile got a rejection letter (figured out by stalking her online profile and seeing the switch announcement the week after the rejection!). The other agent still had my book though, so I wasn't worried and went about my life.
... For 10 months. I was busy with some big life events and so didn't spend as much worry on it as maybe I should have, but I finally got an email from her 10 months after meeting her... A rejection. Not even a particular reason for it, just "seems good but not for me." She also apologized for losing my manuscript.

That really turned me off. What was the point of waiting for the traditional path when I could have already been selling my book for 10 months? So I stopped waiting.


message 5: by Jenycka (new)

Jenycka Wolfe (jenyckawolfe) | 301 comments I don't work well with others. I know that about myself. So that was a deterrent to traditional publishers.

For me, there was also the factor that I wanted to write erotica. There are many indie authors in that field, and some of them make a very respectable living. It's a largely digital industry, as it's a little taboo (who wants their boss to see them reading "Boned by the Brazillian Barons" on their lunch break?), so ebooks are the way to go. Ebooks aren't difficult to do independently.

As others have said, it's tough to get noticed. But the only thing to do is to keep working at it and hope for the best.


message 6: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments My first book was a collection of literary short stories targeted at a niche market. I soon discovered that it would be practically impossible for an unknown author to go through the traditional route with a book like that. I'm a self-taught geek so the actual publishing process was easy. I have no regrets; if I ever finish a novel, I might consider a traditional publisher, but I'm convinced I made the right decision for that book.


message 7: by J. Daniel, Lurking since 2015 (new)

J. Daniel Layfield (jdaniellayfield) | 94 comments Mod
My first novel was a horror/vampire 125,000 word novel. I was told it was too long for a first time author, but I submitted to publishers anyway. At that time you headed down to the library, picked up the latest copy of Writer's Market and found suitable publishers. Many of them would not look at multiple submissions, meaning you could only send to one publisher at a time, and wait, and wait. It also meant making copies, boxing up samples, shipping them out, and waiting on that SASE. The only thing resembling a personalized response I received stated that the editor was tired of vampire novels.

Honestly, looking at it now, that novel had no business being published anyway. It is currently in the middle of a massive rewrite. I'm talking select all, delete, begin again rewrite.

My second novel is sci-fi and clocks in at 94,000 words. A much more respectable sum for an unknown author. Many more publishers and agents had online submissions when I started trying to get it published, so in some ways the waiting was much less. I received requests for sample chapters based on my queries, so I felt that showed I could successfully craft a query, but ultimately I wound up with an inbox of form rejection letters. This novel is patiently waiting for me to look at it again and decide what to do with it.

This last novel I completed is an 86,000 word fantasy. I sent it out to numerous publishers and agents I researched and determined to be reputable, but again received only form rejection letters, IF I received any response at all. This was probably the most frustrating thing about sending out queries. I understand agents receive a ton of submissions, but how hard is it to reply with a template rejection letter just so I know you received it and glanced at it. The only slightly personalized response I received was a comment that the story didn't seem unique enough.

So, I've grown tired of the blind rejections, and have decided to go the route of self-publishing. I don't think I've ever been more excited about writing since I made this decision. I'm excited to see my book in print (or e-print) and am interested to see how it is received...even if it takes years for anyone to stumble on it. I like what I've seen others say here, and I agree with them: self-publishing is a long game and I'm in it for the long haul.


message 8: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments J. wrote: "I'll admit I wrestled with the option for some time. For me it boiled down to a few very simple criteria:

1) I'm a do-it-yourself-er. So the extra effort to craft and polish the book was not a de..."


Concern about the reputability of agents? Yes, there's that. When I did my submissions I used the site Agentquery, which I read about in some writer's magazine (Don't recall which). I had to restrict myself to those who said the handled fantasy, and I went first for the one's whose websites indicated that they'd successfully agented something in that genre. Were they honest about that? I don't know. I do know that there weren't very many of them and by the the time I'd racked up generic rejections from most, I began to really wonder whether this was getting me anywhere.


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments Melissa wrote: "I made my decision to go indie while trying to find an agent. I'd only been searching for a few months when the whole process - trying to land an agent in the hopes of later landing a publisher, al..."

"I really hated that the process of getting published was pretty much a game of roulette."

Yeah, Melissa, I remember feeling pretty much the same way. I was being rejected over and over by people who hadn't read the manuscript.


message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments M.E. wrote: "I went the traditional route first before switching gears recently and self-publishing it via CreateSpace. There were a number of reasons:
- I'd seen people I know self-publish to strong success, ..."


Kudos, M.E., for getting manuscript requests! By the time I'd figured out that the conference route existed, I'd also come to realize that I had an ms that was a hard sell (maybe an "odd" book, like you said). I kind of thought J's issue of reputability wouldn't apply to getting an agent through a conference but I guess just because their reputable doesn't mean they'll treat you decently - or that they'll like your ms...


message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments Jenycka wrote: "I don't work well with others. I know that about myself. So that was a deterrent to traditional publishers.

For me, there was also the factor that I wanted to write erotica. There are many indie a..."


Sounds like good reasoning to me.


message 12: by M.E. (last edited May 05, 2015 03:06PM) (new)

M.E. Kinkade (mekinkade) | 17 comments Carol, I think they were both reputable people, but any individual author just wasn't high on their list of "importance," you know? They were concerned about their careers first; I don't blame them for that, but they can't blame me for wanting more control either!


message 13: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Carol,

Pretty much all the reasons you cited: a series, subject matter that we felt agents and publishers would be reluctant to accept, the fact our story can't be reduced to an "elevator pitch", and critically, the imperative to maintain creative control and determine the "lifespan" of our work. (We also don't always play well with others.)

Then -- although this was less of a factor at the time -- there was the economic angle: being able to set our prices, where we chose to sell, and the royalty structure.

I'm happy to report that our decisions have worked out quite well.


message 14: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) | 190 comments I have submitted several of my books to traditional publishers, getting rejections back with no reason why. Frustrating!!! I still am waiting on two publishers, a different book of mine at each one, to get back to me. One of the books is the one I self-published. Not holding my breath for a response back. It's quite rude to be like that. I found an author I like in ibooks and when I saw she was releasing a book about writing and publishing, I bought it. She was my inspiration into self-publishing. Before that I didn't know much about this area or what the hell to do, so with a little encouragement from her is what got me on this path to self-publishing. Will I still submit to traditional publishing? Maybe. That's a lot of work in itself. So we will see. I haven't sold many books this route, but it's not really about selling a lot of books for me. It's getting my work out there and finding some people who enjoy what I write. I'm happy with a few. If nothing, I entertain my family...that's okay too:)


message 15: by Igzy (new)

Igzy Dewitt (IgzyDewitt) | 148 comments All of these answers are both insightful and encouraging. Thank you to everyone who has responded so far, I'm really learning a lot from you.

Outside of creative control, and a lack of respectful or timely responses from agents, are there any other reasons that have drawn you to self publishing, or that have kept you self publishing?


message 16: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Back when I was making the first attempt at finishing a novel (2005) I planned to submit it to one specific midsized scifi publisher. But I didn't finish due to the fact that I felt too weird writing New Orleans as the location after Katrina hit. By the time I picked it up again, ebooks were commonplace and I wasn't interested in waiting the 12-18 months listed on my beloved publisher's website when I knew I had just as good odds of success on my own, so I published.
At this point in the game, it would take a lot to get me to even think about dealing with a publisher.


message 17: by Marisa (new)

Marisa (marisamohdi) | 3 comments Melissa wrote: "the whole process - trying to land an agent in the hopes of later landing a publisher, all hinging on writing just the right query letter and hoping beyond hope that my story struck the right cord with at least one agent - really rubbed me the wrong way. I really hated that the process of getting published was pretty much a game of roulette."

Thank you. This is exactly what I feel.


message 18: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Igzy wrote: "Outside of creative control, and a lack of respectful or timely responses from agents, are there any other reasons that have drawn you to self publishing, or that have kept you self publishing?"

In some genres (ours seems to be one) the playing field seems to be tilting toward indie authors. Sales and earnings by indie authors are both increasing, overall and in our genre specifically. According to what I've read from people in the industry, we've made more by going independent than the average earnings of authors in our position.

Even if that is not quite the case (that's is, if the numbers I've heard reported are sandbagged), we're making enough that it would take a very special deal to entice us to go with a traditional publisher.


message 19: by Jenycka (new)

Jenycka Wolfe (jenyckawolfe) | 301 comments Igzy wrote: "Outside of creative control, and a lack of respectful or timely responses from agents, are there any other reasons that have drawn you to self publishing, or that have kept you self publishing? "

A traditional publisher, even one specializing in erotica, would have been unlikely to accept my book for publication. It's not for lack of quality; I can write quite well, but simply the way I orientate the sexuality of my characters.

Most erotica and erotic romance publishers need to categorize their books under 'heterosexual' or 'lgbtq'.

I write high fantasy, so I get to create my own culture, and sexuality is not approached in the same way in my series that it is in our contemporary culture. Classifications of gay or straight don't necessarily exist. And I write menage (more than two people in a relationship). So it gets pretty complicated, pretty fast. If I'd gone with a traditional publisher, I would likely not have been able to express sexuality in such a fluid manner, at least not without having to make it more of a 'statement' out of it, so to speak. And I did not want to do that.

I'm not the only erotic romance author who has gone the indie route in order to avoid the categorization trap.


message 20: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Jenycka makes a good point about the "categorization trap." Some publishers may be more open to "mixed genres" but overall, I do have a pretty strong impression that if it doesn't fit in fairly neatly into a niche they recognize (and consider profitable), they won't consider it. For authors who like to blend genres (we do, as well), that can be a powerful inducement to publish independently.


message 21: by Pavan (new)

Pavan Kaur (pavankaur) | 89 comments Moving On was a story that was in my head for a while 3 years, I used to write don the things floating around in my head, and then one day I thought I have so much information, and thought I would write it into a story.
Once I had finished I started at it a thought well what now, I have spent so long writing this book what should I do with it now.

My sister said publish it and I laughed, I sat there and laughed at the idea, for me Moving On was a story that was in my head and had to get it out as so much was running through my head.

I went for self publishing because I thought I have a book, a book that I loved writing fell in love with the characters and wanted others to fall in love with them too.

There was no I need an agent or should I send it off, I wanted people to read Moving On and enjoy it just as much as I loved reading it.

I loved writing it so much that I have got two more stories for the Moving Series.

xxx


message 22: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 47 comments Simply put, I got tired of dealing with agents. I had a few really bad experiences and a lot of complete lack of interest. I had come to feel like the "agent system" was actually getting in my way.

And honestly, I think going SP was a great move for me.


message 23: by Kay (new)

Kay Botha | 31 comments I write pretty to-the-point, without over the top details or chapter long descriptions. Though agents have liked my work, my novels are always shorter than the acceptable length, for example my YA works skim the edge of 50k, which is too short by publishing standards.


message 24: by Green (new)

Green Markos I learned the rules so that I could break them. I am uninterested in literary snobbery and so I was unwilling to bend in my vision to suit others. Self publishing for me has been more than rewarding and profitable...my next release will be a self pub as well.


message 25: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Green wrote: "I learned the rules so that I could break them. I am uninterested in literary snobbery and so I was unwilling to bend in my vision to suit others. Self publishing for me has been more than rewardin..."

Yes, I totally agree with you 110 percent!! When I decided to publish my historical thriller, I first submitted it to a traditional publisher, but later found out that it was rejected. It's sometimes been difficult getting my book out in front of people's eyes when the book is self-published, but if I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. I too really think that traditional publishers can be snobbish, uppity, and intimidating, so that's why I decided also to go with self-publishing. It's been a process promoting my book in this way, but like I said, I'm very happy with my decision.:)


message 26: by Sam (new)

Sam Friedman (sam_ramirez) | 83 comments Good stuff for me. From my standpoint, I got enough rejections where I figured that I could make better use of my time doing more productive things (like writing content) rather than pitch to an agent, especially if the publisher owns the rights forever and do nothing to promote the work.
The thing I've noticed is still a lot of people debating over which way they should go. I would argue that, unless you have a big enough "platform", or you have the right connections into the publishing industry, your chances are close to zero. Therefore, self-publish or put the story on Wattpad, and if you get enough readers you may yet get an agent and a publishing deal if that's what you want.

I think the major frustration is not that my novels aren't good enough. If they aren't, then they won't be successful (disclosure: I have not yet published anything- my debut will go out late Summer 2015). But I felt like every time I queried I wasn't going in on equal footing with everyone else, and ultimately the agents and publishers were more concerned with my Twitter following than whether the novel idea could work.


message 27: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments Verge wrote: "Didn't even think about trad pubs when I started this journey, wrote a collection of short stories, worked with a fantastic editor, and self published it--then the crickets started to sing.

Did it..."


"They're just a bunch of gatekeepers"

You seem to be using the word "gatekeepers" in the very broadest sense of people who keep some things out and let others through, and the trad publishers certainly are that. The question is whether they filter things based on quality, which was long the perception. I think that perception is breaking down. There's a lot of the roulette factor in who gets through. Also, the quality of editing is starting to slip a little in what I see coming from the trads. Growing up, I never saw typo's in trad-published books; now I do. But the main flaw in the gatekeeper = quality control hypothesis is that the trad publishers are always more concerned about what they think will sell than about actual quality of writing. while those two things may overlap somewhat, they also clearly diverge significantly, and the truth is that the publishers don't actually know what will sell. They're guessing at best, which is one of the reasons why they aren't willing to risk money on promoting first-time authors. It's cheaper and more practical for them to publish five books and sit back to see if one or two take off (and then drop the others) than it is too pick one "winner" and put their money behind promoting it. They may not have picked a winner after all and then they've lost everything.


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments Christina wrote: "Back when I was making the first attempt at finishing a novel (2005) I planned to submit it to one specific midsized scifi publisher. But I didn't finish due to the fact that I felt too weird writi..."

" I wasn't interested in waiting the 12-18 months listed on my beloved publisher's website..."

I can relate to that, Christina. I submitted to a publisher that accepted un-agented works in my genre and promised 4-6 month response time. If you didn't hear in 6 months, you should resubmit, it said. I waited 8 months, resubmitted and received a rejection after 4 months. That's a whole year the process cost me, during which time I didn't feel I could submit anywhere else or self-publish or posts excerpts on my website - anything that might make them less likely to pick up my ms.


message 29: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 47 comments Carol wrote: "The question is whether they filter things based on quality, which was long the perception. I think that perception is breaking down..."

I agree with you 100% on this.


message 30: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments Lifetime residual income, even if it is just a trickle, is not to be discounted.

In theory, as self published authors, we could still be generating revenue decades from now.


message 31: by Carmen (new)

Carmen Charles wrote: "Lifetime residual income, even if it is just a trickle, is not to be discounted.

In theory, as self published authors, we could still be generating revenue decades from now."


This is very true. Thanks for the encouraging post.:)


message 32: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Another factor, which bears consideration, is that in a changing market (such as we have), no one really has a good bead on things. By going independent, you maintain the flexibility to adjust, adapt, and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

If you go with a traditional publisher, you are essentially trusting them to do that for you, on the assumption that they are concerned with your welfare, as well as their own.


message 33: by Rachael (last edited May 04, 2015 03:05AM) (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 194 comments I decided to self publish when I discovered that hardly any publishing house accepted my brand of fiction - chiefly fantasy / sci fi with a strong LGBT component. Many of these places seem to be looking for the "next" JK Rowling or Stephen King, ignoring any unique qualities an author might have. It's often a case of follow the leader: after Twilight, every other book seemed to be a paranormal romance; after Gone, Girl, every other book was a punchy thriller. I have nothing against these books, some of them have merit in their own right, only the way it seems to be thumbs up or thumbs down according to how many boxes they tick.

At times I'd stand in front of the book charts in Waterstones and not find a single book I'd want to read. I couldn't be the only person who felt this way. I didn't see why gay themed books should be in some seedy corner of the bookshop, where everyone gawps at you if they catch you browsing. Since I couldn't get this out of the traditional system, I decided to go down the self pub route.


message 34: by C.B. Matson (new)

C.B. Matson | 143 comments The reason I am publishing as an indie is that in all self-honesty, my shot at conventional publishing is about zero and growing smaller daily. However, there’s more; conventional publishing involves a lot of up-front cost for the publishing house and a lot of risk for both author and publisher. Better to spend time and money promoting Lee Childs or Dan Brown who have proven track records, than try to stand up an unknown who may never find an audience. They are in business, and they have to make business decisions, it’s a natural barrier to taking risks on an unknown. One can either beat one’s head against that barrier or one can adopt some other strategy.

Therefore, I have a strategy and I’m stick’n to it. The strategy involves making all of the mistakes I possibly can. The strategy itself is probably a mistake. That’s part of the plan.

Sooo… the plan?

I’m writing for Kindle Worlds; yeah fan-fic, right down there with slash. Definitely the bilge of the indie boat. I’ve got a 512-page novel bobbing around with the other flotsam (actually, a lot of the KW stuff I’ve read is really quite good – prolly got the same plan). Not gonna stretch that boat analogy any farther, but I’ve got two sequels in the works, all for KW.

So, what does KW get me? Eyeballs. It’s hard to get found in the vast sea of independent publications (okay, there’s that boat thing again), but KW is tied to some well-known authors and they have followers… even unto the dark corridors of fan-fic. I’m getting some sales, and not just to my mom; so something is working. And I’m sticking with it through the next two novels. Won’t get rich, but I hope to get name-recognition... that’s the strategy; put the best quality writing out there that I possibly can, and get it read. I’m not so good at promoting (I know, I know) so I’m letting the built-in KW audience do that for now. I want readers to be looking for C.B. Matson to find out when my next book will be released.

Mistakes? Released too soon like any other noob. Nice thing about KDP and KW, An author can edit/revise and re-release, sort of a do-over. But note to self: next time, let the roast set before carving. Lots o’ writing errors too; passive verbs (ugh), plot holes, “huh?” moments, adverbs, awkward tags, the works. My point is, I’m really new at this craft (although I’ve got megs of personal slush pile), and know I need practice. A nice 1,200 to 1,500 page trilogy should just about do the trick (almost, I figure 750k to 1.0m words to achieve mastery of the instrument). In the long run, the mistakes will work for me.

Down-side of KW? Well, your book belongs to the original KW publication team. It’s not yours to release anywhere else (sniff). You get no say in how it’s priced or marketed online… no freebies or specials. Pricing is rather arbitrary based on word-count, so a full-length novel has a disadvantage compared with the novellas. And your share is only 35 percent. That’s what you pay to get those eyeballs.

Despite the issues, I don’t hate it. Better my stuff is out there for people to find and enjoy, then floating around in that eternal graveyard of could’a-been novels. And when I’m done, I’m gonna be a better author, and I’m gonna have readers, and I’m gonna stick with my strategy… that’s my plan.


message 35: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) C.B. Matson wrote: "The reason I am publishing as an indie is that in all self-honesty, my shot at conventional publishing is about zero and growing smaller daily. However, there’s more; conventional publishing involv..."

Sounds like a good plan. In the olden days we could write short stories, send them off to magazines and let the editors judge whether or not we were good enough. A good way to learn the craft without embarassing yourself too badly. Nowadays new writers have to find other ways. Judging from your post, you're a pretty good writer already.


message 36: by C.B. Matson (new)

C.B. Matson | 143 comments Ken, thanks for the encouragement and kind words, but embarrassing myself is what I do best.


message 37: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
I'm Independently published for a lot of reasons.

The main one is the freedom one has by being self-published. I can write what I want, when I want. I don't have to adhere to guidelines. I don't have to work with deadlines imposed by a publisher.

I also like being in total control of my work. Sure, it might take a bit longer to make that first million by not having a publisher back me up, but you know, if your book doesn't do well right away with a traditional publisher, they may pull it forever. With self-publishing, it will stay out there as long as I want it to be out there.


message 38: by Carol (new)

Carol Louise (CarolLWilde) | 22 comments Yeah, Dwayne "... if your book doesn't do well right away with a traditional publisher, they may pull it forever. With self-publishing, it will stay out there as long as I want it to be out there."

This is a big one. I don't think there's anything "may" about them dropping you. I'm willing to be patient. They're trying to stay solvent. Unless you really think you can sell big right from the get-go, I don't think traditional publishers make sense, at least not the big five. I guess it's a question of whether having the prestige of traditional publication is worth the risk of having your first published work go instantly out of print. You can re-issue it independently if you can get your rights back. I honestly don't know how hard that might be. Smaller publishers might be easier to deal with, I don't know.


message 39: by Troy (new)

Troy Kechely (rottndog) | 37 comments After trying for a year to get my book traditionally published I have decided to go the self-published route. This is even after being offered a contract from a small publisher. My motivation is that with the self-publishing I have more control and unless the publisher could prove they were going to go the extra mile marketing my book then it wasn't worth the big cut they would be taking.


message 40: by A.E. (new)

A.E. Hellstorm (aehellstorm) | 196 comments Well, for me I think it comes down to two words: 'No patience'. I don't want to spend months waiting for a rejection letter, and I've never really thought about going the traditional way, since I want full control over my writing. That doesn't mean that I'm not appreciating feed-back and critique, on the contrary, but I don't want to stand before a choice of either taking away a pretty important piece of the book or not get published. *shrugs* I might not become rich or famous, but at least it will be my text, written in a way I like it.


message 41: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) For me it was having more control over the process. I decide what to write, when my production dates are, and if it needs a revision, I respond myself to feedback and personally work on a revision. I also don't come back after publication and find out someone I sold it to removed something that was important to me. If I want to take a sabbatical from writing, and do nothing but edit others manuscripts for a while, I can do that, too.

Best regards, Morris


message 42: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "They're trying to stay solvent."

Exactly. And I get that. I can't blame them. Publishing is a business. If they publish stuff that doesn't sell or is slow to take off, they will be out of business. I have no problem with that, I just don't think I will ever write the kind of stuff that is guaranteed to sell big right away. With the way I straddle and hop genres, the way I push outside the box, I know a lot of publishers would find me too risky. I'm fine with that. I went many years writing stories just to entertain myself as I knew they would not get published. Self-publishing has given me the opportunity to start putting stuff out there and make a little money off it.


message 43: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mdnightmaverick) | 4 comments Nearly nabbed a small lesbian publisher with my very first manuscript. I had spent so much effort getting to a can't put down pace that when they wanted to change that I achieved step one in losing respect for other people's respect for my literary goals ; )

Got the traditional pile of agent 'almost' rejection letters for In The Bleak December and put it aside for future tweaking. This summer, I decided to take a look at my creative inventory and see what I could get out of my house and into the universe. And Kindle Publishing made the process an easy one.

Selling is more time consuming (and difficult --- a couple of LGBTQ friendly places I'd planned to buy ads from never got back to me) than I had expected but it is nice not to be frustrated by waiting for someone else to decide on my book. I've decided to view the rollout of this book as a test run and improve from there.

Mulling putting a book of poems together. Actually did this once with a collective and grants from the state, but that's probably even a smaller initial audience than people who want a mix of gay and straight characters in a historical mystery. I am definitely in sympathy with those trying to navigate categories and genre tropes.


message 44: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Dwayne wrote: "Exactly. And I get that. I can't blame them. Publishing is a business. If they publish stuff that doesn't sell or is slow to take off, they will be o..."

I think a lot that can be laid at the feet of consolidation. Back in the 70s (and before), I recall editors and publishers having more flexibility to seek talent and nurture it in ways, that a massive corp. with massive burdens does not have the agility to do. In that sense, it might be a bit a misnomer to call what we call "traditional" publishing traditional, since many aspect came about by the winnowing of the field.

I believe there is a future in "traditional" publishing, but I hope it will be small, agile publishers who believe in their authors, and don't merely feed off them.


message 45: by Juliette (new)

Juliette Power (theaussieauthor) | 12 comments Interesting and varied comments. I am not trying the traditional way. Independent gives me complete control over my creativity & success. I like that.


message 46: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Self-pub here, but not exaclty what you call successful yet (after 2 years!).

a) Too many cooks spoiling my broth aspect; to get a publisher you need an agent, that's x2 lots of people taking great chunks out of any book income; ouch!

b) I wanted artistic license, and not get caught up in a paired down version of my work, which could become unrecognisable if boxed into a formulaic mess.

c) No bugger would have me!! ;-P

Self-pub is a flipping tough route though. ALL the promo is off your own back, and there's still editing/cover design/ad fees to pay for. And Amazon have you over a barrel, and don't help publicise really.


message 47: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 39 comments I had several articles and a couple of short stories published "traditionally". Pleasing validation but little money. When I finished (kinda) my novel I spent several months looking for agents in my genre (HF). Glutted, no legitimate agency was taking on new clients. So I took advantage of amazon's KDP. Knew nothing about anything so made most of the known mistakes. Poor proofing, over spamming in the wrong places, indifferent cover (which I've yet to change), etc. Got some great reviews, 4's & 5's, and met some great folks to network with. Even sold copies in the three figures. Gave away a couple of thousand on a couple of freedays. To my surprise, I did not garner one review from anyone getting it free. I think my freedays are over.

Finally spent the money on a professional edit and a proof after getting a 3 Star for "a good story made hard to read for the errors" review. They did great jobs but no one has reviewed since saying the edits showed. Next step is a cover redo.

The learning curve is huge but I advise newbies to learn the ropes from here on Goodreads, and on Google + and Kindle Boards. Amazon Author boards are good also but watch the "haters". Pay attention to marketing advice but don't believe everything you see.

Since pulling the trigger I've had a couple of things published traditionally but for my books I'm staying with indie publishing. Who needs fame and fortune. If I wanted to be rich I'd have gone to med school - it's easier.


message 48: by Liza (new)

Liza Dora I self-published a children's book. Different from a novel, for sure, but some of the same perks. I felt like I was on my own time and I really liked being in control of every aspect of the project. No waiting for rejection letters and no querying--just writing (and illustrating in my case). Also, the income stream is a nice thought.

My little book has done well in its first two weeks, and I'm proud to have done it all myself :).

I blogged about my self-publishing process on my website if you are at all interested. Good Luck!!

http://www.lizadora.com/is-lena-prett...


message 49: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments I'm old. Frank Herbert had his novel Dune rejected by 20 publishers before he found one who would buy it. And he was already a published author (and parts of Dune had been serialized as shorter works already).

Nowadays, with the response rates I've seen from publishers who infuriatingly demand "no simultaneous submissions"...I'd be nearly 80 years old before I got my 20th rejection notice!

Agents are as notoriously hard to find in this challenging and changing environment.

So I don't feel I have the time go through the traditional publishing mill, nor the faith in traditional publishers to treat me as anything other than grist for that mill.

So indie publishing is the side-step around that. Which isn't the greatest thing in the world...In the age of universal access, distribution has become fully democratized, while discoverability has almost disappeared.

It's the price we pay for our amount of control.


message 50: by Ben (new)

Ben Wise | 4 comments Here in aussieland (and no doubt everywhere else), the big publishers seem to only want authors with a pre-existing audience. i.e. you're already a famous author or famous for something else and looking to cross over.

Agents are less of a done thing.

I focused on a few of the relevant boutiques shops but that was fruitless.

So I realised my focus was better spent building my own audience, self publishing let me start working on that as quickly as possible.


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