We talked about indie publishing at last week’s Gettysburg Writer’s Brigade meeting. We have both indie and traditional authors in our group so we were able to get insight from both sides.
I’m an indie author, and I love it. I used to be traditionally published, but two things led to me making the jump to indie author.
The first thing is that I didn’t make a lot from my traditionally published novels. For instance, my first novel retailed for $9.95. I was paid a royalty based on what the publisher sold the book for. I can still remember that I earned an average for 50 cents a copy. During the three years the book was in print, I earned $5,000. You can’t make a living on that.
The second thing that to me making the indie jump was that when I decided to write a historical fiction novel, I was going to have to find a new publisher. It had taken me a long time to get a publisher for my YA novel, and I wasn’t looking forward to the search.
I knew someone who had been doing indie publishing in the 1980s and used the income to put his kids through college. As I talked to him about what he did, I realized that the only part of the of the process that I couldn’t do myself or hire someone to do was the distribution of the book. At the time, I had no clue about how to get the book into bookstores. However, I realized that the primary markets for my novel were places that I could drive to and talk to bookstore owners myself.
So I took the jump into indie publishing, and I loved it. As I learned more about the process, I became better at it and was able to expand the markets for my novels. Also, I can now earn a living as an author.
That’s not to say that I wouldn’t jump at a contract with a $100,000 advance, but now I have a knowledge base and an author platform that makes it more likely that a publisher would offer me that type of deal. I don’t go out looking for one, though. I enjoy
I don’t go out looking for one, though. I enjoy being able to control what my books look like. I like the fact that they are all still in print even when they are 10 or more years old. More importantly, those older books continue to sell well as I learn more about how to market them.
Yes, indie publishing is a lot of work, but if you believe in your book when no one else seems to, it might be the path for you.