Well, first off, I’d like to say that I have no real problems with Double Dragon Publishing, who published my first novel (Water Harvest). The publisher (Deron Douglas) is a nice guy; accessible and quick to respond. He also does nice cover artwork, and it’s pleasing to get the recognition of being formally “published”, even if that’s just in my own head. There were a few quirks in the process here and there, (like oddball formatting in the version that went to Kindle), which I mostly had to find and fix myself, and as best I can tell it appears that promotion of the manuscript is mostly up to the author anyway (although my book did share the limelight on the main KDP webpage for the duration of the month it was introduced). When I later became aware of the relative ease involved in self-publishing, through web-based services like Smashwords and Kindle, I decided to give it a try with my second novel and my anthology.
Indie books present an easy way to publish both major works, as well as experimental pieces freely and quickly. To reach such a wide potential readership so simply is impossible any other way. The other big benefit is the numerous methods available to introduce readers to my books with free sampling, and even free complete short stories taken from compilations. Once I have a reader who enjoys my samples, I have a customer.
Initially, I didn’t really think about indie publishing. It was something I was aware of, but I hadn’t really given it much thought. However, after releasing some short work in ebook formats and seeing what it was like, I loved it!
Due to the publishing market, and its fluctuation, I decided to try my own luck by remaining in full control of my novel, Thou Shall Not. After doing my own research over the last several years, and finding out that there are many successful indie authors, I knew that I too could proceed down this challenging but very rewarding road.
I have an agent who tried for over a year to find me a publisher. Each time she got rejected, it was for a different reason. Some editors like my two main characters, others didn’t. Of all the rejections, we couldn’t find two who agreed on why they wouldn’t commit to the book. My agent finally suggested that I self-publish. It’s interesting, now that I’m getting reviews for H10 N1, a lot of reviewers have conflicting opinions on the book, too. Everyone seems to like something different in the story.
Well, I decided to go indie because the process of finding an agent was taking FOREVER! I’d received several nice replies but no takers. It sometimes takes months to get a reply and then more queries must go out if all the replies (what few you get) are negative. I’m not getting any younger! Once I learned how quick and easy it was to upload a book on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Smashwords, I didn’t hesitate with my decision. I found an editor and once we felt the book was polished enough to share with the masses, we loaded it up and I was published! Honestly, I don’t know why any writer would not go this route. But, to each his own.
I had been published by a small publisher, and I enjoyed it, but I longed for the control and independence that comes with being an indie author. I also knew that being published by a traditional publisher whether large or small still meant doing all my own promoting. I resent the idea that I do all my own promoting and then turn around and give my publisher a large chunk of my profit. If publishers are no longer willing to put the investment in to promote their authors, what do we need them for? We used to need them for large scale printing. That’s no longer the case as we can now use print on demand and print only the number of copies we need. Even if there are editing issues, small numbers of copies printed means it is very easy to fix typos and other editing issues. And now, with Kindle, we can publish without killing a single tree. We don’t really even need Amazon, because they don’t really provide all that much more exposure, we still need to get most of our audience through our own blood, sweat and tears. So why exactly do we need publishers again?
I love the independence of that!
I wanted to have total control of my work. The royalties are of course much better when you go indie. If I obtain success as an indie, I’ll gladly accept entrance into the world of the big publishers, as long as I don’t have to give up my rights to the electronic versions of my work.
Impatience and realism ~ The chances of finding an agent in the UK is very slim.
I really just did it on a whim. I had written the novel for myself more than 20 years ago and didn’t think it would ever see the light of day. I wasn’t brave enough to start querying agents or publishers so I really did nothing with it. I didn’t know if it was good or bad and frankly, I thought anybody who read it might have thought I was crazy for imagining all this. I got an iPad last year and started downloading ebooks and then sort of stumbled on Amazon KDP and figured out I could do it too and do it under a pen name. Even after I published, I didn’t tell anyone until I started having some reasonable sales numbers and then I came clean to friends and family.
I had a bad experience with my last publishing company and most of the books that I read are from indie authors. I decided to go that route myself and loved it.
I decided to publish independently for various reasons, however the deciding factors for me were time and control. At one point I had several agents that seemed interested, made suggestions dealing with my first manuscript, however none of them panned out. I did not like the process of submitting to agents only to wait (sometimes for months) for a reply, and even at one point got a mass email (that was meant as an inner office joke) from one agency where they bulk rejected several hundred authors including myself without so much as reading a single submittal. Apparently someone (who I will not name here) should learn what “reply all” means. That was the real turning point for me, however the ability to control the entire publishing process myself was a great bonus as well.
I was at a writers’ conference in Portland. My writing buddy and I both pitched our books to one agent. A week or two later we both got rejections from her. Here’s the punch line. For two different genres and two very different writing styles, she sent the exact same rejection note. Also, at the conference there was a lot of talk about self-publishing. One speaker said, “It’s taken me two years to get my client’s book published. Do it yourself, it will take two months.” We both thought, “Why not?”
I tried traditional publishing in the past and found out it was hard for a new author to be noticed that way. The indie movement gave me the opportunity to reach people all over the world. I can share with them my ideas, my interests, my reviews, ask them for help and help them in return. I think it is wonderful. That’s my favourite part of indie publishing.
For me there was nothing else I ever wanted to do. It took me a while to get over the despair even after the market opened up on Amazon – the feeling was that only mainstream authors were ‘real authors’. So, for me the real task has been changing my view of success. Really I have to give some credit here to Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn because she is always positive and realistic about indie publishing and marketing even when others aren’t.
The seeds for writing were planted when I was 10 and I started writing comic books just for myself. Then when I saw Jurassic Park I wanted to write a novel so bad I tried writing one about the same subject. I wrote my first full length novel when I was 18 and tried my hand at self publishing on Lulu. It was so bad that I stopped thinking about being a professional writer in any capacity. I didn’t start trying again until I was in college and found out about writing articles for money online. At that point I had a blog and was studying Visual Communications so the seeds were sprouted…
I decided that after a massive amount of research (mostly through JA Konrath’s blog) that traditional publishing wasn’t for me. I spent years trying to write better books, better query letters, better research and after all of this effort, I just got more and more frustrated. I know I’m a talented and committed writer. Why wasn’t I able to get published?
So, after some pushy and strong arguments from my professor, I checked out JA Konrath’s blog and read more compelling arguments. The choice was clear: either I continued to do the same thing and try even harder to break into the traditional publishing industry, or I could try a different tactic and self-publish my books. Needless to say, I chose self-publishing and never looked back.
I actually turned down a publishing contract to go indie. Why? Because I’m slightly crazy. My publisher was a small one, and they had originally given me a contract for both paperback and eBook, but halfway through the process they restructured and changed to eBook only. They still wanted to publish my book but gave me the option of taking back the rights. It was around the time self-pubbing went crazy so I’d been researching it. I thought to myself, “I’m sure I could do this myself. Sounds like hard work but fun!” So I got the rights back and did it myself. And yes, it was hard work and fun. Time is yet to prove if it was crazy!
I felt that my book was ready to be published and it was taking too long to find a large publishing house to print it. I’m also working on the sequel and figured I’d better get book 1 out there soon or the series would start backing up and feel dated.
After over 25 years of working on the manuscript, I simply wanted to get the book out into the world. The closest thing I can compare it to is being “pregnant” for that long and just wanting to give birth. I have poured my heart and soul into Task Force: Gaea, and going indie felt like the right thing to do. If a traditional published saw the novel and wanted to publish/promote it, that would be grand, but if not—then indie I shall be.
To be quite honest, I went indie because after sending out dozens of query letters to agents and publishers and getting nowhere, I decided that if I wanted to publish my books, I’d have to do it myself. I haven’t regretted it at all. It’s the best decision I could have made.