Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Independent Publishing...What Do You Think?


These days there are so many options for writers. Many, I know, see major print publishers as the only way go. New authors are rejected time after time for years on end (despite the fact their work is stellar) and just keep at it, refusing to try alternative means of becoming published. Others of us saw the benefits of e-publishing years ago and are now on the fast track of a burgeoning industry that has given rise to some of the best authors to be found anywhere.

I remember how it all went down many years ago. Computers weren't in every household despite interest being very high. Readers back then would never have imagined they'd one day read books on small electronic devices that were lighter than a paperback book. It all seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie and folks had a hard time visualizing such a thing. But with the passage of time, e-book readers, tablets and smart phones have become commonplace while the cost of paper books have exploded. For the price of a big bag of paperback books, you can now pick up an e-book reader and store over a thousand books that cost much less than their paper brothers. Portable, efficient and fun. What a world!

With the e-publishing explosion, more and more authors are looking at self (or indie) publishing rather than going the more traditional routes. My friends and I have been looking at this too. Yes, we all are with reputable publishers who provide content editing, covers, distribution, etc but there's nothing wrong with looking at other avenues. From what I gather in my research, authors must find a good editor to make sure the work sparkles and shines and they must find someone to do their cover work and then they are responsible for promotion (which we all do, as a rule, anyway). I believe there is money to be made out there and a little investigation and careful study is in order to see if this might be worthwhile. Hey, I don't know why not! I have no intention of leaving my current publisher but throwing out a book or two on my own might be a pretty cool venture. Still studying the in's and out's of this whole thing. What do you think and what have you heard? There are plenty of 'boards' out there where writers are discussing this and I believe there's a wealth of information for someone who is prepared to do some checking.

If you are indi-pubbed or considering it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

21 comments:

Desiree Holt said...

I think with the money other authors are making this way we'd be foolish not to explore it. Sure it's a little more work but the $$$ rewards make up for it. Just my .02 cents.

Anonymous said...

I don't know jack from crap since I'm not published at all, but it sure sounds like something worth looking in to. Though I've heard it's more work on the author's part, the reward makes it all the sweeter. :0))

Elece

Ashlyn Chase said...

Not sure about this. Yes, some writers are making money...but not all. I put up my old romantic suspense books, but did no advertising. Very little money in that.

My agent said certain agencies are helping with cover art etc. Then taking 15%. It's still much less than a publisher's cut. I may try that route. Will let you know what happens if I do.

Harlie Reader said...

I know an author that has made quite a bit of money doing self publishing but she still publishes with her publishing houses and is quite happy with both.

Its hard work I'm sure since I'm not published but if you take the time to do it, it might be worth it.

Regina Carlysle said...

I think it's worth a shot, Des. The thing is we've been around long enough to have connections with kick ass editors and cover artists and we already spend lots of time promoting. I see a small initial investment but it's probably not all that much.

Regina Carlysle said...

Elece, I think that's the beauty of it. In your case you'd probably want to go the tradional route first, build up some name recognition and maybe THEN give indi stuff a shot. However, many first time authors are doing this and having success.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ash, I've been reading really big differences in royalties. Some are astronomical and others are small (making it seem not worth all the work and effort). I wonder if it might be a genre thing? Hmm. Would be worth investigating to see which genres are selling best among the indi books. Wonder if there is data on that yet or if it's all just too new at this point.

Harlie Reader said...

Forgot one thing....the only reason why I know this is because I've helped her with self publishing before......

Regina Carlysle said...

I hear ya, Harley. I have no interest in leaving my current publisher because I just love them but it might be worthwhile to dip some toes into this and see what happens. Think I'll try a book and just see what happens.

Regina Carlysle said...

Have you, Harley? I would be interested in talking with you to get the scoop.

Tess MacKall said...

With the new opportunities available to authors to self-publish, other opportunities are on the way. I plan on dabbling in self-publishing a bit myself.

Also, I've committed to go to work for a new company that will be debuting very soon which will offer ala carte services to authors who wish to self-publish. Everything from editing to creating blurbs, from cover art to uploading titles. All for an affordable price--something that won't break an author's back.

So the face of publishing is definitely changing.

Regina Carlysle said...

I would definitely love to hear more about this company Tess. I think an all in one place where authors could get help and guidance is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Add in going after pirates and sending out takedown notices when you consider it. I have a friend who complains all the time about how time consuming that is and how a lot of the sites won't listen to an independant author. He says half the time he has to send them dozens of emails before they even respond. I think I'd consider it if I ever wanted to write something really outside of the box. LOL. I'd get an editor for sure! I think that's the only smart way to go about it.

Regina Carlysle said...

I agree. You just HAVE to put out a professional product and editing is a must. Word gets around fast about authors who don't deliver a polished book. So I think, if you have a care for your reputation, this isn't something to do unless you can make the investment to do it properly.

As to pirates? Can I say ARRRRRRRRR. They suck but word on the streets is crackdowns are coming about intellectual theft. I'm lucky that my publisher has someone on staff who deals with these creeps. It might be a tougher thing for an indi author.

Marie Rose Dufour said...

Author Marie Force gave a talk at my local chapter of romance writers about this. She says the first step is to get a few books published through a publisher to get a following (most of you don't have a problem with this). Then have get an independent editor and cover artists. She says that it cost her about $300 in total for the two. She published herself on all of the e-pubs. You get about 70% of all of your royalties. She made $35,000 between November and February! It is definitely something to look into if you have a stable fan base.

Jen B. said...

I am not an author (not by any stretch) but I follow a lot or blogs and I read a ton. I agree about the indie books needing to be polished. When I read indie books, I don't want to keep thinking "oh yeah, this is an indie book". I want to fall into the story and get swept away. I have to admit, I would be scared to death to self publish. So much goes into publishing a book, it is just overwhelming. However, I think it is the future. If an author can embrace it now and learn how to work the system I think they can be very successful. I suspect that an entire industry will develop over the next few years. I imagine indie publishers and editors and cover artist that are able to help an author produce a product that is no different from the product produced by the big publishing houses. Good luck with your self-publishing. Just post the info here and I am sure a lot of us will check it out! Afterall, there is no loss in trying.

Regina Carlysle said...

This is good information to have, Marie. I believe as you do that to be really successful, it would be best to already have a fan base in place. I know unknown, first time authors have done great but it's still risky.

Regina Carlysle said...

Jen, you're right. If i were shopping I would be drawn to authors whom I'm already familiar with unles the blurb just knocked my socks off. Good editing is a must IMO.

Minx Malone said...

I love it but having books out with an established epub first certainly helps. It's much harder I think when you have zero name recognition.

Having said that, it's a lot of work! But keeping more of the royalties makes me feel better about that part :)

Valerie Douglas aka V. J. Devereaux said...

Okay - to clear one thing up right away, it doesn't have to cost a lot to self-publish, depending on whether you want e-books or print.
In fact, I wrote a blog about it http://valeriedouglasbooks.blogspot.com/2011/04/cost-of-self-publishing-not-as-scary-as.html
I published my first, Song of the Fairy Queen, for $3.00 (to buy the cover art from a stock photo site) and small cut of the proceeds. The rest I did myself.

Cover art can cost as little as that or as much as you're willing to pay. There are several avenues creating your own if you're even slightly creative and use existing books as a template.

I started self-publishing a few months back as an adjunct to trying to get some of my fantasy, suspense, and romance novels published through more traditional means.

All of the major outlets - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance e-Books, and Smashwords (for Sony e-readers, et al.) take a very small percentage in exchange, and uploading a reasonable novel is dead easy. I'd be glad to help anyone who wants to try it. (gratis, btw)

Am I making money? YUP. Bundles? Nope, not yet...but this month's check was four times what I made in the first quarter. So, it's growing. Will I stop submitting traditionally. No. And there are some suggestions right now that indie publishing may be the new query letter. We'll have to see.
If you want to see some samples, just go to my www.valeriedouglasbooks.com website

Regina Carlysle said...

This is what I've been thinking too, Minx. I think we'd have better luck having some name recognition.