In the last post, I shared with you my exciting news: I will be an Indie Author! I could not be more excited about my decision of choosing to be an Indie Author. In that post I explained the different types of publishing options authors have these days. As I said repeatedly, those definitions can vary depending on who you talk to; but I hope I gave you a good understanding of the different ways stories go from a writer’s heart to the book in your hands.
I left you with a question; so let’s pick up there—this time with my answer!
Be logical, Joy. Why Indie?
Fine. I can do logic. I do have three specific reasons the Indie route suits me.
I love a challenge. Many of my life choices have been the road less travelled. If you didn’t already think I am crazy, remember I homeschool my kids. It doesn’t get much nuttier than that. I used cloth diapers with my second child and made my own baby food for both. I don’t exactly take the most common routes.
A few days ago, I responded to a Twitter game question, “Your strengths as a writer,” with the following words: Discipline. Determination. Drive. Daring.
I credit my educational start as a homeschooler—I was homeschooled K-6 and 12th grades—with each of these qualities. Faced with a task, I enjoy breaking it down to smaller steps, planning out a strategy for completion, scheduling those steps and putting in the work to each one until the task is accomplished.
One piece of advice sits atop every list for how to be a successful Indie Author—produce A LOT of quality work and/or have additional sources of income: speaking, courses, nonfiction, etc. Indie Authors typically publish multiple books each year. While it feels like a daunting challenge, this approach aligns with my deepest desires—to produce as many stories as possible in my lifetime.
My soul overflows with stories, so I frantically write; for they are immortal, but I am not.
While the most common concern I hear with Indie publishing is having to market yourself, I know that traditionally published authors have to do the same thing these days. The difference is they have to market themselves how or when their publishers tell them to or at the events where their publishers want them to be.
This road won’t be an easy one, and I recognize that—none of the paths I defined last time are—but this one, with its particular challenges, is worth it for me.
I get a little giddy when I think of all the choices I’ll have with this approach. You see, I love every aspect of book publishing:
- Writing, of course!
- Design—covers, font choices and paper styles, oh my!
- Marketing—while I am least excited about having to “sell my wares,” so to speak, I believe in my stories and look forward to sharing them with all the lovely readers I hope will be fans of them one day!
- Speaking—I’m not going to lie, I’d love to be a panelist at a book festival one day. I’d also love to speak at conferences. I have experience with public speaking and teaching going all the way back to junior high, so this is an aspect I would be comfortable with for sure. While I have no idea how to get started on that path, I’m excited about the possibilities!
- Publishing—I’ll be my own publisher! With my own press name, many possibilities glisten in my future. Plus, I get to choose who I contract with for the work I won’t do on my own, such as cover designs and content editing. (Yes, editors hire other editors to edit their own work!)
A Quick Word on Publishing Companies
Before I continue in this section, I have to include a little note. Please know that I am NOT anti-publishing companies! I have great respect for them. Many of my writer friends are going that route, and I could not be more thrilled for them and proud of them. I will celebrate like a crazy person when they land agents and book deals. I’ll go to launch parties and buy their books. And, I will proudly say, “My friend is published with Such & Such Company!”
Also, not all publishers are as set in their ways or shut off to an author’s ideas as in an example I have below. These companies know the market and they know what sells and, for them, producing books must be done with the greatest chance of financial success. They are good at their job!
And, Back to our Chat on Choices …
One of the things I most worried about with traditional publishing was compromise. I know from a number of authors’ stories that the publisher has final say with titles, design, marketing and—in many ways—the presentation of the story itself. Plus, established authors’ futures often become dictated by what their publisher sees as most financially beneficial.
I know one author who wanted to write a novel outside her genre, and she had to seek out another press and use another name to do so. Also, her main series is held by her publisher with certain demands on her continuation of it. I can’t help but wonder how she would have written differently, given the choice.
Also, I want to be the final editing eyes on my work. Over the years I’ve written for multiple editors with varying styles. I didn’t always agree with their style choices, but my biggest complaint has always been how—without fail—each one would, at some point, edit my work by moving words around, cutting words, etc. and, in so doing, make some error of their own—grammar, spelling, etc.—which then went to print with my name on it. At least you’ll know any mistakes that get printed in my books will really be mine!
Yes, you read that heading right. As you may have noticed, I like alliteration—often to my husband’s chagrin. (Perhaps I can overdo it on occasion.) So, my third reason was the opportunity to leave my children more than just a legacy. I want to leave them the opportunity of a business, should one or both choose to accept it. So, a-thesaurusing I went and grabbed hold of the only “ch-” option I found!
Since this isn’t used much in daily conversation—and so you don’t think I’m buying cows—here is the first definition, according to Merriam-Webster:
Definition of Chattel:
- an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property
I have two huge possibilities that could come from being my own publisher and using my own press name, but those are a ways off and may or may not come to fruition. Suffice it to say, my children will have the option to inherit and build upon this foundation I create, if I do it right.
Next week I have one more part to this series. I’ll be sharing more about the goals I’ve made for myself this year in light of this business decision. You’ll also get more details about each of the mini-goals that will get me there and how I plan to attain each one!
Thank you for reading my three main reasons for choosing to be an Indie Author! I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions. Already I’ve been reading and listening to so many brilliant people about how to make this business work and last; but I’d love to hear more. Please share your favorite resources for Indie information!
As usual I find much to chew on with this subject. I didn’t think anyone could move me from the Traditional Pub. But as I read your words and listen to my son talk about his friend on Indie Pub. I am more and more thinking this may be the way I should go. I am a perfectionist and if I see something someone has said is wrong with my writing I go over it carefully and if it doesn’t make sense to me I’m not going to change it. If I see they are right I’ll quickly change it and thanks them. I’ve let several people now and then over the years edit my work but I have a real problem with them changing things in the story. I know where I’m going and if it works or not. I think the “end” decision being mine and the mistakes mine I’m going to be better satisfied. Not that I think I’m always right (LOL) but when I end it I want it to be what I have been driving at not the house next door, if you know what I mean.
I completely understand, Jo! I know some writers have really great relationships with the editors at their publishing companies; so not every case will be like the one I referenced. One thing is for sure, I am so thankful we have options! Not all writers have the options we do here in the U.S. I’ll be anxious to see how your decision-making process goes and which way you ultimately choose!