This is a post about why I decided to be an indie author. Not because I couldn’t get a publisher, because I chose not to.
For a long time, there has been a stigma about authors that publish on their own. Perhaps it was true, that more often than not, self-published authors only published because they couldn’t get an agent or a publishing house to pick them up. Today, with more and more readers preferring electronic books, authors have started to meet their readers on that platform.
When I first started to get towards the end of the road with What Little Remains, I was very set on submitting it to a literary agent. I read tons of books on how to write query letters (something that you get to avoid when you self-publish). I bought a several-hundred-page book that explained the process of writing and submitting to a literary agent. Also, it listed almost all of the literary agents in the business and what they liked to receive from writers. I painstakingly spent hours going through that book, finding all of the literary agents that would most likely accept my manuscript. I narrowed the list down to twenty, then to my top five.
I was dead set on this road, until I started to talk with another author. I was, like many, under the impression that self-published authors only self-published because they couldn’t get an agent to like their manuscript. My author friend corrected me and showed me that in today’s world, that is simply not the truth.
More and more authors are cutting out the middleman publishing house (who takes a large chuck of the profit) and publishing themselves.
And for a first time author like myself, I would still be doing most of the work I am doing as a self-published author even with a publishing house.
So there were a few main reasons why I decided that self-publishing was the right path for me:
- Authors don’t talk about this a lot of the time, but it was a big motive for me in deciding to self-publish. I didn’t think I would make tons and tons more money because I self-published. Rather, for a first time author with no fan base, I knew I had to build my platform, which meant that every single penny that I make goes back into my book. While some publishing companies might help with some promotion, they do take their part of the profit (which they are entitled to, because they did provide a service). Then a literary agent (if you have one) also takes their percent. When you run the numbers, for a first-time author like myself, it just made sense for me to self-publish.
- Creative control.
- As a self-published author, the story that you read is entirely my story. I had several editors who really helped me to hone my story, but this is my story. These are my characters and this is my plot. Not all writers that publish through traditional means have that same privilege. That is not to say that all books that are published are completely controlled by the publishing houses. I just mean that I wanted this story to be mine, entirely.
- Don’t get me wrong; there is a lot of pressure no matter how one chooses to publish. For me, there was less pressure in the long run if I made a mistake. Having my book published as an e-book means that I can go back and change minor mistakes that I made. Unfortunately, I am not perfect and neither is my editor. There are only two of us and, after reading the same material so much, occasionally mistakes slip through our notice. Having an e-book allows me to easily go back and fix my mistakes. It takes a lot of the pressure off of having to have that one perfect draft.
To self-publish or not?
Ultimately, this is a decision that every writer has to make on their own. I highly recommend doing a lot more research on the topic. Don’t just self-publish because I chose it or someone else tells you to. Do it because it is what is right for you (if it is right for you).
I will have more posts coming later this month about self-publishing and my experiences with it. Follow this blog or follow me on Twitter to get updates as I post them!
(Want to learn more about my book? What Little Remains. Check it out!)
Until next time!
(P.S. If you are an indie author, I would love to know if you relate to this or not–and what your own experiences have been like with self-publishing. Leave a comment below!)