Thursday, June 20, 2013

Six Reasons I Write Indie

As a member of a writer's group here in my local area, I have been lucky enough to be asked to speak at events, and recently, I have also had the good fortune of doing some book signings. As my writer's group, the CBW-LA, is comprised mostly of aspiring writers, many of the Q and A sessions, as well as workshops I conduct, have been about my writing journey and my process.  The single most asked question has been why I have chosen to be an indie writer.
Of course, there are many reasons why, but for the purposes of this post, I have condensed them down to six reasons.

  1. I can publish more often
  2. My books are available very shortly after the editing process completes
  3. I have creative control over my title and cover artwork
  4. I receive comprehensive sales statements
  5. I am involved in making the book available to reviewers
  6. I, the author, receive the largest chunk of the profits of my labor.
1.  I can publish more often.  
If I were with a traditional publisher, I could expect for my book to be released between 18 months to two years after being contracted.  As an indie author, my publisher is able to release my book between three to six months after contract. This does not mean to say it is just flung into the atmosphere with little to no editing.  Au contrere, mon frer.  My books at all three publishers have gone through a thorough editing process, including a line edit, a content edit, a grammatical edit and a final edit for flow.  Normally, there are between six and ten versions before we feel we have gotten it right.  And all during this time, I am writing another.  And submitting it.  And getting ready for the process all over again.  One year, I had four books release.

2.  My books are available shortly after the editing process.Once the editing is complete, my indie publisher gives the book a final once-over.  I am usually on a release schedule at this point and we, my editor and I, are jointly working toward that same deadline.  Once we meet deadline, it's is normally only a matter of days, and never more than a couple weeks before my book becomes available to the public.

3.  I have creative control over my title and cover artwork.
During editing, I complete a cover art worksheet.  I am able to express my ideas for the cover, give my vision and help in the design.  The cover is submitted to BOTH me and the publisher for approval.  If I don't like it, we change it.  Titles are the same.  I have never had a title I created changed.  I happen to like all my titles, but if one was ever questioned by one of my publishers, I am sure we would discuss it together.  Fun fact: Did you know Twilight was originally called Forks by the author? In this case, I think the change was probably a good one.

4.  I receive comprehensive sales statements.
Each month I receive my royalties via Paypal. Along with those, I receive statements which indicate where every title was purchased.  This is invaluable information for my marketing.  By knowing in which venue I have the strongest showing, I can concentrate my precious few marketing dollars where they will have the most impact to my sales.

5.  I am involved in making the book available to reviewers.
My publishers have a gigantic list of reviewers to whom they send every single title I write for them.  However, I am also provided with a number of watermarked copies to use of my own.  I can send these titles to reviewers, or use them as gifts in giveaways in which I am involved.  And by choosing some of my own reviewer sites, I am again retaining the kind of control I could not enjoy with a traditional publisher.  I can target sites that cater to my specific genre, and therefore reach my book's target demographic.

6.  I, the author, receive the largest chunk of the profits of my labor.
This is perhaps the single most important reason I publish indie.  In most cases, I get 40% of my sales, and in some instances, 50%.  There is no traditional publisher in business today that can give me that much profit.  By targeting my marketing, as I am able to do because I have my sales statements, I can also drive my buyers to the sites that allow me the most bang for my buck.

I am not saying that this is what I will always do.  I am saying that for me, for right now, this is the best business model for my independent contracting business.  It might be best for you, too. Happy publishing!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know any of these things when I got to the point where I was ready to submit to publishers. I guess I was lucky an indie publisher accepted my work! But all these reasons are definitely why I will want to STAY with an indie. Thanks for posting - if someone asks me, I can now point to this post for reference!