There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Going the Indie Route January 23, 2013

Filed under: Publishing — thereanddraftagain @ 5:30 am
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Your writing will never chase you — you need to chase your writing. If it’s what you want, then pursue it.
~ Chuck Wendig

 I’ve been asked several times since making the announcement, why I decided to go Indie with First of Her Kind (formerly known as BD&L). The simplest answer, and probably the most basic, is that I believe in the story.

That’s it.

No matter how many times I read it, I enjoy it. The second book in the series is well underway, and I even have several scenes written for the third. Each one just gets better and better. I’m excited by where it’s going and I want to share that excitement.

Yes, I could (hopefully) do that following the traditional route as well. Originally, I was headed down that path. I slaved over a query and synopsis, made my list of dream agents and started at the top. I entered pitch contests. I did everything I could to get my manuscript in front of The Agent. The one who would connect with it. The one who would believe in it like I do.

But something happened on the way to the forum . . .

I stumbled upon some articles and research touting self-publishing and the Indie movement. I’d never really paid it a lot of mind, even knowing several authors whom I respect who had gone that route. To me, dare I say it, it was almost like giving up. If I couldn’t make it the traditional route, then maybe I wasn’t meant to make it.

The problem with that line of thought was that I just couldn’t make myself believe it. So I started doing some more research. Here are some of the things that helped shape my decision:

TIME: Finding an agent can be a long process taking anywhere from months to, yes, years. And for fantasy, the unfortunate reality is the list is not as long as some, meaning competition is much higher, and those agents that do handle the genre are bombarded with tens of thousands of queries a year. Once an agent takes you on, it’s more months (possibly years) until a publishing contract comes your way. Even after a contract is signed, it generally takes another year until your book sees the light of day. So, realistically, if I snag an agent now, and they get a publishing contract within six months, the likely scenario is that my book still wouldn’t see a release date until sometime next year.

Call me impatient, but I want it out there now. I’m ready to share it with the world.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Even though it’s not all about the money:  These days, even the major publishing houses are asking for more from their authors in terms of marketing their own books. Some, I’ve heard, are even cutting back on the editorial services they used to offer. Yet the royalties remain the same. Those royalties are about 15%. Compare that to the 70% or more available as a self-publisher and, well, seems to me, if I’m doing the work, I ought to get paid for it.

CONTROL: Okay, maybe I’m a control freak. Self-publishing puts me in charge of every aspect of my book’s success or failure. A daunting task, and not for everyone. But I enjoy it.

VALIDATION: This was a biggie — passing on the sense of validation that comes with being accepted into the traditional publishing echelon. But, really, won’t my readers provide that same sense of validation? If my book is good, the reading public will let me know. If it’s bad, I’ll find that out as well. What better way to grow as a writer?

I’ve written a few posts on my blog that outline some of these points in a little more depth. You can find them here, here, and here.

Does this mean I’ll never try the traditional route again? Heck no! In fact I’m working on an urban fantasy that may just get shopped to agents when it’s done. There’s nothing that says you have to choose one way or the other.

Who knows where the road will lead me. All I can say for sure is, “I’m going on an adventure!”


4 Responses to “Going the Indie Route”

  1. I love that the publishing industry is going through such a change at the moment, because it offers so many more opportunities for writers. Although sometimes having the choice can be daunting. Thanks for sharing your own situation and thought process, I’m really looking forward to following your journey – and especially getting my hands on First of Her Kind!

    • kathils Says:

      Thanks, Raewyn. 🙂 I just read another awesome post about self-publishing, calling indies artisans. I rather like that.

  2. jcollyer Says:

    I’m really encouraged by what you have said in this post. I’m coming into this world with my first major (also fantasy) project at a time when the internet allows you to do a lot of the work of the traditional agent/publisher by yourself. I know I don’t have the contacts like they do, but I do have facebook, wordpress and twitter. And I’ve never been interested in making money, just sharing my work.

    When I first started thinking about writing, sure I wanted an agent and a contract and all that is considered synonymous with ‘making it’, and I’m not belittling the level of expertise you would have access too and success such routes can take you to. But now that I’m getting to it I think I’d rather do it myself, give it to my friends, publicise with my own, albeit meagre (at the moment) means and hopefully let it spread under its own steam. Especially as it’s a first project.

    I’m hoping contacts will come in time as I try to never stop networking and so long as my work is out there, people can get it and, hopefully, enjoy it. And I won’t have had to rely on chances, luck and hope to get me to the point where it’s simply available.

    Of course, if I have a successful self-publication under my belt I’m also hoping this may lead to more traditional successes – but I’m glad the means available to us today means we don’t have to depend on them, especially when starting out.

    Thanks for this article. It has encouraged me further. Best of luck, though I’m sure you don’t need it.

  3. Scott Says:

    I went the indie route myself and I have no regrets. I completely agree with the point about control – nobody is going to tell me what to do with my story and/or characters. It will stand or fall on its own merits and at the end of the day, it will be my creation. I believe that it is good enough to attract readers once they are exposed to it, and thus far I have been right.

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