9 Reasons Why Independent Publishing is a Good Choice for an Author
And 5 caveats to consider not becoming an indie author
I used to feel embarrassed that I had never had a book published by a traditional publishing house. But now that I’ve had over 5 books self-published, I don’t feel so bad.
And there’s never been a better time to publish independently!
If you’re considering whether to go with a traditional publishing house or to take on the adventure of becoming an indie author, let me offer you 9 reasons to go the indie route:
1. Dying Traditional Houses
Your chances of being picked up by a traditional publishing house are remote. Read any news report and you will quickly notice that many traditional houses are closing. We just don’t have as many houses to choose from. The houses that are left are limiting their content and slimming their catalogs.
2. Creative Freedom
You can write what you want. Many authors find that their books don’t fit with the traditional house guidelines. Traditional houses may limit the author’s creative or theological perspective. As an indie, you can bend the rules, reach sub-niches, and write what God has placed on your heart. You get to control the content and write it in your own voice without compromising.
3. Promotional Support
You can have marketing support from other indies. You have to do your own marketing and promotion regardless of whether you’re indie or tradpub. Discoverability is an issue for all authors. However, indie authors are open to joint ventures. Joining other indies in marketing efforts helps spread the costs and you can reach new audiences.
4. Price Control
You have more control over price. You can control whether you want to give your books away as a ministry, or offer price changes for specific promotional events. You can lure readers with a lower price than traditional published books while still earning a decent royalty. And new readers can discover you with free giveaways.
5. Greater Hustle
Speed is on your side. You can write a book and have it on shelves much faster than a tradpub. This allows indie authors to react to changes more quickly. Want to respond to a current news item? Publishing independently gives you the benefit of a quick turnaround.
6. Book Rights
You keep the rights. You can update older releases to keep them relevant. You can sell international rights. You can make ebooks and audiobooks. There’s no time limit to offer your book.
7. Production Control
You have control over production. You choose your editor. You choose the release date. You even choose the cover design. Traditional authors don’t get final say on covers. Many times they get no say at all. As an indie author you can combine cover design with promotion efforts by running a competition through 99Designs and having your readers choose their favourite.
8. Distribution Control
You have control over distribution and quantity. You can sell direct (book launches, readings, and websites), feature your book at local bookstores (consignment), and offer your book print-on-demand.
9. Support Groups
You can join a supportive group of other indie authors. There’s a ton of information out there and indies are willing to share and exchange ideas. Looking to talk money? Want to learn from other author’s mistakes? It’s an open community that is transparent.
That said, I may have given the impression that to be an indie author is all sunshine and roses.
It’s a lot of work.
“I don’t recommend independent publishing if you:
1. Don’t know anything about publishing. (Know the rules before you break them.)
2. Believe your words are golden and don’t need rewriting.
3. Plan to give your money and your book to the first self-publishing company who tells you what a great writer you are and that they can make you a book.
4. Are only publishing the book in the hope that after that you’ll get a ”real” publisher. (It doesn’t normally work that way.)
5. Haven’t had a qualified editor edit your manuscript several different times (substantive, copy or line-edit, and proof-reading at the end.)”
As authors, we are in an age of opportunity! Today you have the choice to
- publish independantly,
- go the traditional publishing route,
- or become a hybrid author (an author who’s published with a traditional house and then decides to self-publish).
What route would you choose?