So you’re a writer. You want to be published. What are your options? You’ve probably been told publishing independently will hurt your chances of landing a contact with a traditional publishing house, you know, a “real” publisher. They won’t touch you, because Indies are not serious writers, they’re vanity publishers. You’re willing to sweat over queries and send them to hundreds of agents, and receive hundreds of rejections. Nobody wanted JK Rowling at first, did they, and look at her now! And if you do eventually find representation, you don’t mind waiting until they find a publisher.
What next? The publisher may want to make major changes to your book. You’ll be lucky to be allowed any input on the cover. Hopefully they’ll give you a professional proofreader and editor, but as publishing houses make cutbacks, that’s not always the case now. You’ll wait approximately 18 months to two years from when you sign the contract till your book appears on the shelves. If you don’t sell to expectation, the publisher – who now owns your books – may decide to stop printing and if you signed a two, three or four book deal, your other books will never see the light of day. You won’t have the right to sell your books yourself until “the rights” revert to you in three to five years.
You won’t make a lot of money, either – unless you are the next JK Rowling. Your agent will take 15% of your advance and sales; the publisher will take a huge cut, sometimes 50-60%. You won’t get a penny from sales until your book outsells the amount of your advance.
Or, you can Indie publish in paperback and e-book.
True, this puts all the pressure on you. You’ll have to edit and format your book yourself, or pay to have it done. The same applies to the cover. You’ll do all your marketing. You’ll want to build social networks, blog, Tweet, so on and so forth. You’ll upload your book to Amazon’s Createspace and your e-book to Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and Smashwords (which will put it on Kobo and a number of other online e-book bookstores.)
Then you sit back and hope for sales.
Self-published HPMallory and Amanda Hocking are best-selling authors. They receive 35-70% of sales and don’t give a cent to an agent or traditional publishing house. Mallory has a huge fan base and sold over 22,285 e-books in December alone. That adds up to beaucoup bucks, people! She sent e-mails to two agents, told them about her books and sales and they both wanted her. Just the other day, she received an email from the editor in chief of one of the Big 6 New York publishers. They want to publisher her. She sent the email to her new agent.
Times they are a changing, folks. Mallory and Hocking are not the only Indie authors whose success attracted agents and publishing houses. And Indies are weighing the odds; in the world of publishing, they control their own future. They can accept or reject contract clauses. They can negotiate. They have the confidence to walk away from a deal which is not to their advantage. Amanda Hocking recently turned down a contract with a NY publishing house.
I’m not saying publishing as an Indie works for everyone, nor am I saying everyone can make big bucks. What I am saying is publishing independently can be advantageous. If your goal is to land a contract with a trad publishing house, publishing Indie can attract attention, not repel it. The author can be earning royalties and establishing a strong fan base while he/she seeks that elusive agent and/or publisher.
Or, maybe, the publisher will seek them.
Think about it.