So many writers these days are still—yes, still— wondering whether to become indie published or to hang their hats on getting an agent that will sell them to a traditional publisher. We’re undecided because whether we want to believe it or not, there’s still a stigma on indie publishing. Many writers refer to it as self-publishing. Just a few weeks ago I heard a multi-published author say such a thing with derision in her voice.
Yes, sadly, that stigma comes from other writers—our peers. Why? Because we writers have a lot of pride, and to be honest, we’re snobs when it comes to our publishers, our agents and our writing.
Self-publishing has always been the underdog in the publishing world, even though we all know there have been some very successful self-published books. Self-publishing has always been associated with vanity publishing. The phrase ‘vanity publishing’ even sounds hateful, doesn’t it?
The term “indie writer” usually means a writer who is totally independent, one who buys their own ISBNs, determines their cover, their release date, everything– and maybe even starts their own publishing company. They’re dependent on no one but themselves.
Regardless of definitions, the fact is you should never let labels influence you when it comes to achieving your goals and dreams. If you wrestle with whether you should go indie or traditional, the truth is: you should do both.
Readers are our best friends. They don’t often know the different publishers or even care about them. They want good stories and great characters they can identify with. Make them happy with a fantastic story or series, and they’ll follow you anywhere!
Traditional publishers have editors, cover artists, proof readers and publicists, to name only a few who are involved in the production of a book. As an indie writer, you’re taking on each of those jobs yourself—unless you hire some contract freelancers to do it for you.
My main point is: don’t be undecided when it comes to your writing and publishing career. Don’t let labels discourage you. Be intentional, but do yourself a favor: Fulfill your responsibility to your reader and make all writers proud.
How do you define indie publishing and self-publishing? Have you set your heart on traditional? Tell us your story.
Angie Kay Dilmore says
I have zero books published. I’ve always wanted to publish traditionally, at least a first book. But I admit, I have not done the hard work that avenue often requires to get there. I’m warming to the idea of indie-publishing. We’ll see.
Jessica Ferguson says
Angie, there are positives and negatives with each. I’ve been turned off with traditional publishing for a long time for a number of reasons–one being that it takes more than a year for the book to hit the stands, and secondly, the rights thing. They tie up your rights for years … sometimes forever. 🙁 With both, you still have to promote yourself. But, most writers say… do both.
Michelle Wallace says
I do have pieces published online, both traditionally (by this I’m referring to flash fiction pieces submitted to e-zines and haikus submitted to the haiku journal) and non-traditionally (anthology stories via invitation)
I haven’t published a full length novella/novel…yet.
I’m not sure which route to go.
The fact that I’m not lazy or scared of hard work means that self-publishing is an option, especially the collection of short stories that I’m working on.
Having said that, there is a WIP, that would be better suited to a more traditional form of publishing.
I don’t know. We’ll see.
When the time comes, I’ll make the appropriate decision, which will also be based on the ever-changing nature of the publishing landscape…and hope it’s the right move. We never know for sure, do we?
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
Writer In Transit
From experience in all areas of life, my husband and I have realized that doing things ourselves will give us the best results and the most satisfaction. Let alone, it being the cheapest option. That being said, being a total newbie makes is hard to battle all aspects of publishing. So, while self-publishing would be “my thing”, based on my personality, I feel like publishing my first book the traditional way, might be the way to go for now. Of course, that first book will have to get written first!
Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary