This post has been motivated by some obstacles I’ve encountered recently regarding traditionally published authors.
It made me realize some fundamental differences between indie authors and traditionally published authors I’d like to discuss with you.
When I became a member of Goodreads some years ago I heard more and more about “indie authors”. Honestly I had no clue in the beginning what an indie author was?
Was it a special genre in books? Like indie rock is a subgenre in rock music?
Was is it a special “breed” of writers? Maybe they were members of some cult or secret society?
Was it related to the American “Indians”?
I know this is totally silly but as a reviewer you would have squeezed my nose allowing milk to flow. I was a baby. Well kind of.
Of course I learned pretty soon that indie authors were opposed to traditionally published authors.
But what are they?
Indie authors don’t go the “traditional” route. They don’t get an agent or a publisher. Of course they can use an editor, a PR firm later on, rely on beta readers, etc. They maintain complete creative control of their work that they will self-publish (companies offer these services).
Basically they coordinate everything. They are control freaks! Or beginners with no luck finding a publishing house. Or maybe both.
Decades ago indie authors were maybe not a rare breed but rather an invisible one. I think you’ve always had people financing their own book their own dream but without the resources of a publishing house I guess their reach was limited.
So what turned the tables?
I think the Technology God has blessed many aspiring authors. That and giants like Amazon opening the biggest bookstore in the world to anyone with a dream of being an author.
Technology can be a curse and a blessing but as far as books are concerned I’m convinced the e-books were the vitamin pill of many indie authors. I bet many worship technology offering their newborn story to the E-book industry. If you’re not convinced just go read Nicole @adancebetweenpages. Read it HERE very interesting post about paperback vs e-books
As a result many indie authors are now real STARS as opposed with obscure writer limited to an intellectual elite years and years and years ago.
Some indie authors do look like stars on the red carpet! Just look at some of Alessandra Torre or Leigh Shen pictures, both incredibly talented authors and you tell me if they could not rival some of our movie stars in the look department. Look, brain and talent folks!
So now what are the pros and cons of choosing either indie publishing or traditional publishing?
Let’s see from multiple POV: the author, the reader/reviewer, the blogger.
1.From the author’s POV
LET IT GO, LET IT GO!… you’re liberated, delivered, free!!!
As I said above this is the best option if you’re a control freak. Total freedom! From the book writing, the schedule, the book cover, the editing, the marketing campaign etc.
You are THE BOSS!
No one tells you to be ready at a certain date and if you’re in a dry spell (I mean blank page syndrome you naughty reader!) you can take the time to find your inner writing mojo again.
If you are not inspired by a sequel to your first book, even if it has been a huge hit you don’t have to write that sequel. Well maybe you’ll get pressure for your fans but not from your publishing house or your agent. About sequel and the disaster of pressure on writing sequel just go read Shanah’s post “Too Much Pressure”at Bionicbookwormblog.
If you want to sell only on Amazon or on Barnes and Nobles or… you can.
If you want to promote your book on huge billboards or only relying on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads be my guesst. You are in the driving seat!
You can give as many ARCs as you wish to whomever you’d like whatever the country they’re residing in (no restricted rights).
You can decide your selling price. Would you rather price your book 99 cents and gather a larger crowd (people could take a chance on your book) or price it 9,99 USD with a higher unit profit margin.
It’s the same exhilarating feeling you’ve experienced when you left your parents to live in your own apartment, drive your own car, party all night if you wish etc.
Of course it comes at a price… your time and energy!
You are alone in the boat and maybe you’re not the best captain. You’ll have to be a crew on your own rowing and guiding and…
At least until you decide to hire an assistant.
Later. When you’ll have earned big bucks. Or bought your teenage daughter with Sephora gift cards if she could give you a hand.and have to find and contact editors.
Basically you will have to:
-find the perfect editor;
– hunt the right beta readers (if you want to use some of course);
-assess your possible earnings (no advance from a publishing house for hard working you);
– either promote your book alone or use PR firms;
If you’re not a marketing guru you will probably make mistakes. You’ll need some time to take off as an author whereas some huge publishing houses could launch you in a heartbeat with a kickass marketing campaign.
If you’re an author feel free to refute some arguments or add others! I’m not the omniscient expert of publishing industry! I would gladly have your intake.
2. From the reader and reviewer POV
As a reader you might think that you’ll find more “crap” in indie books than in traditionally published books.
True to my catholic education among Jesuites I would say: yes…and no (they always want to please everyone these Jesuites)
It is certain that publishing houses won’t take chances on losing bets. I mean they are the experts in the book industry and should know what will sell and what won’t. Right? Right?
Not always! I’ve read traditionally published books just to be hugely disappointed.
On the other hand Angelfall by Susan Ee has been a huge success but began as indie.
Honestly I don’t favor one above the other as a reader. I will read the blurb, read an extract (thank you Amazon or Netgalley) ) and take a chance.
The only exception in my rule book: YA books either contemporary or fantasy. Have you noticed that they are nearly all traditionally published. Why??? Does someone know the reason to this mystery that’s been nagging at my mind relentlessly for months now? Just explain please and help me come out of my Advil addiction.
What’s your intake as a reader/reviewer? Do you prefer indie or traditionally published authors?
3.From a blogger POV
This one is easy and has motivated this post.
As a blogger I loooooooooooooooooove indie authors!
Don’t misunderstand me as a reader and a reviewer I love indie and traditionally published authors equally. The quality of their work can be stellar or total cr@p whatever their publishing choice.
But indie author have a decidedly huge asset for bloggers. And no it’s not fake boobs (that I know of) and even if they have fake boobs or butts I couldn’t care less as I’m straight.
So what do they have or rather don’t have compared with traditionally published author?
They don’t have walls!
They are not surrounded/protected by publishing houses/PR agency etc. deciding if they can answer blogger’s requests or not. Sometimes even not bothering answering said bloggers.
Except if you are like the fantastic and lucky Krysti and Sarah @YAandwine who can meet YA authors in book gathering at their incredible bookstore you rarely get words from said authors.
Yes they can tweet and give you two words. But so far every time I wanted to interview these authors I always had to go through their publishing houses or PR and rarely (if ever) got a reply.
I know it’s not these authors’s fault. I still respect and love them to pieces. I also understand they may not have time to answer my questions (see “Did your mom raised you right? Etiquette in the bookish world” about answering). But I still remain frustrated and disappointed.
If any among you has tips, ideas or is close to some YA authors and know how I could interview say: Victoria Aveyard, Sabbah Tahir, and the likes…
Only two authors replied to decline and I thank them even if I was disappointed.
I don’t even dream of interviewing Sarah J Maas or Cassandra Clare. Rather say some fantasize on rolling between the sheets with George Clooney while my own fantasy would be just to speak and ask questions to these authors. Bookgasm you said?
I have had indie authors answering my questions, offering books for giveaways, agreeing to character’s interviews, taking over my of friend’s blogs etc.
In my personal experience so far indie authors are much closer to their fan base. As a blogger it’s a decisive choice.
Are you a blogger and do you favor indie vs traditional authors? Do you have tips to have access to these authors outside book conventions? Let me know your intake.
Thank you for taking the time to read this listicle and I hope I did not bore you to death by now 😉