Traditional vs. Indie: What Should You Do?
The topic always comes up at our meetings. Reach for the stars and snag a literary agent who will negotiate a deal with a Big House publishing company? Or go it alone and join the throng of independent authors who self-publish? What should you do? I know, it’s a lot of information to absorb. Here are a few main points to consider as you move closer to publication in 2018.
If you have a high concept book theme or genre, the urgency of publication is not an issue, and you are willing to relinquish the rights to said work, then Traditional Publishing is your best option. This will require you to sign with a literary agent who will “shop” your manuscript to the five publishing houses which are closed to un-agented submissions. This process takes years. Dollars are well spent in attending conferences to network with agents and editors. Practice your pitch.
If you have a polished manuscript ready to go, a clear idea of your genre and target market, and a Type A personality that likes the control, then becoming an Indie Author and self-publishing your work is the perfect fit. In this option, you can do as much or as little of the process that you want. Dollars are well spent in hiring the professionals to do the work that you don’t want to learn. Become proficient on social media.
The point is, don’t get discouraged and don’t stress. Take one step at a time. Honestly, both options will sometimes move at a snail’s pace.
My body of work languished with a NYC literary agent who I met at a conference in Oklahoma City. The hardest part was not knowing the status. I got a report as to which houses had my book, but had any editor like it? How could I make it better? Maybe I should revamp my website? I should send an email to my agent, or maybe just call him? My husband finally told me, “Leave the man alone and let him do his job.”
The entire process stretched over six years and then I decided to make a change and become an Indie Author. I like knowing the exact status of my manuscripts. Although it is hard work and long hours, I am able to juggle writing and marketing around the day job. Prioritizing is key. Formatting for wide distribution in Mobi, ePub and PDF blows my mind, so a reasonably priced professional does that job. I also pay for a professional editor who checks grammar, but not plot or structure which costs more.
The point is that writers have so many choices and options for running their business these days. Either option requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It is a great time to be a creator of new and original content.
Below are links to two podcasts that have provided a wealth of information for me in my understanding of the publishing environment of today. There are several years of back logs covering a variety of topics.
The Creative Penn https://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/ with Joanna Penn
Self-Publishing Formula https://selfpublishingformula.com/category/podcast/
Mark Dawson has done it all himself and is now negotiating a movie deal.
Save the Date: July 21 in Amarillo
Wordsmith Six blogger Rory C. Keel and I will be on a panel with other Indies in July to talk about Indie Authors, small presses, and self-publishing. Hosted by the Texas High Plains Writers group, we’ll be meeting in downtown Amarillo at the Amarillo Tower on the 9th Floor.
I’ll be asking the panel questions which will cover the entire process from spark to book-in-hand. We’ll find out why they went Indie, what’s so great about having control, and what they hate about their decision.
No RSVP required, nonmembers are welcome. Our meetings are open to the public and guests may attend for a small $10 fee. It all starts at 10:00 AM and you’re invited! Hope to see you in July in Amarillo. www.texashighplainswriters.com