After seeing the success of indie writers like E.L. James and Amanda Hocking many authors are deviating from traditional brick and mortar publishing houses and flocking to self-publishing. I can’t say I blame them. Who wouldn’t want to skip years of rejection letters and get right to the fun part? We live in a time of instant gratification and the e-book and POD (Print on Demand) market is no different but don’t be so quick to hit that “Publish” button. Here are a few pros and cons that I’ve learned in my years of being an independent author:
You Control the Book
Pro: Of course you’re saying, “High five!” Isn’t that the point of being an Indie? You write a book you want, how you want, and publish it whenever you say the masterpiece is ready. You handle the cover design, set the price, and market your book to the world. Heck, according to Forbes big names like Bella Andre and Stephanie Bond left publishers to become Indies so there has to be value here, right?
Con: Marketing will cut into your writing time. You are the publisher and the author, and you have to wear both hats every day. Some of the best indie books I’ve read you may never hear about because they have low rankings based solely on units sold. Readers will never find your book if you don’t spend time getting the word out.
Investment: Time and Money
Pro: You get back what you put into your book. You must pay for the following every time you publish: Editor, book cover design (unless you’re an artist), and ISBN number. You may also consider paying a Copy Editor for final clean up. These steps show you’re a professional who cares about putting quality books in front of readers.
Con: For your first book this investment, ranging from $2,000.00 to over $32,000 according to PBS Mediashift, may be hard. Not everyone has a large savings account to dip into but if you skip these steps readers will notice and, in turn, you will receive bad reviews and never build a fan base.
Pro: It has been my experience that writers are a caring and helpful group of people. Before you publish get to know novelists either in your community or online so you have like-minded individuals to bounce book ideas off of or someone to mentor you in marketing.
Con: In some circles Indies are targets. I don’t’ like to say “Traditional vs Indie” but at times I’ve felt that way. Things are changing in the publishing world and a few are resistant so you will need thick skin to rub elbows with writers who look down on Indies.
Is Indie Publishing for you? Most will still say “Yes!” and I’m right there with them. The second you get your first five-star review or fan email you will know the dream was worth the work.