A look at one author’s decision to go indie – pt. 2

Yesterday, I posted about Brenna Aubrey’s decision to go indie a year ago and took a look at the general terms of a contract she had been offered by a traditional publisher. Today, I want to discuss some of the things she’s learned over this past year. For her full post about what’s happened over the last year, check here.

One of the things she mentions in her list of things she’s learned comes from something she heard at NINC:

An editor from a traditional house made the comment, “I know you authors just really want to be read.” To that, astonished authors in the audience replied, “No, we want to be paid to be read.” Do not swallow the line that you should be in this just to be read. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be paid and wanting to earn a living at doing what you love.

That editor’s comment is exactly what is wrong with the traditional publisher-author relationship. Publishers, with very few exceptions, really do think we write simply because we want someone to read our work. The operate under the misconception that we don’t look at our writing as our profession. Following that train of thought, if we don’t think of it as a profession, why should they and why should they pay us “professional” level wages?

You need to have ice water in your veins and be willing to set aside emotions to look at your work as a business in a rational, calm way. Avoid impulsive, drastic moves based on the heat of the moment.

She nails that one. That means looking beyond the writing to promotion, accounting, production (the physical aspect of it and not just the writing) and so much more. It is our business, our profession and we have to treat it that way.

You do not need anyone’s validation but that of the readers. (And the vast majority of readers do not care how a book is published).

No matter what traditional publishers and agents say, this is the key. Readers are who we have to worry about. We need to connect with them and get their validation — ie, their money. Does anything else really matter?

In my mind, no. The fact that we are seeing so many indie titles hitting the Top 100 listings on Amazon, especially in genre fiction, shows that the publishers are not hitting the market the way they ought to. Readers vote with their dollars. I’m more than happy to do what I can to gain those “votes”.

Everyone has to make the best choices for themselves and their career.

So true. While I have chosen to go indie, I know not everyone wants or can do so. There are a number of reasons why to take either route. All you can do is look at your circumstances — which, if you are already traditionally published may include contract clauses preventing you from doing indie work — and choose what is best for you.

Read the other things Aubrey has learned. I have no real arguments with any of them. And I do applaud her for keeping her readers and fans informed of what’s happened since the day she turned down a traditional publishing contract and decided to go the indie route.

1 Comment

  1. These computations usually forget that, while applying to traditional publishers and to agents is a choice, traditional publication is NOT. Few writers get offered traditional contracts, out of the many who submit (estimates run as low as 1%).

    Therefore, being offered a traditional contract should almost serve as an automatic signal to go indie. If the writing quality is high enough to get a decent traditional offer, the quality should play well as a self-published book, and the financial rewards would be much higher.

    At least this is what my mind has settled on as the interpretation of all the self-publishing blog posts I’ve read.

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