Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Indie Authorship

When I was considering going indie, I made a list of pros and cons. I wanted to share it in case anyone was interested:

* write what you want, not 1) only what is expected to be popular in two years or 2) what agents and editors aren't sick of seeing
* no long, soul-sucking query process
* creative freedom to manage all aspects of the book yourself (title, cover art, editing, release date, subsequent sequels)
* freedom to manage your books the way you want (price, distribution, marketing)
* high royalties (as high as 70% for books of a certain price on Amazon)
* author retains all rights
* complete control of one's career
* ability to release as many books as desired according to the author's schedule, rather than only one or two a year.

Annnd then, the cons list is sort of similar in some aspects:

* no backing from a reputable publisher that might otherwise prompt people to buy your book sight unseen
* brand new ways to be rejected, through reviews, book bloggers, and people who look down on indies
* creative responsibility to manage all aspects of the book yourself (or pay someone else to do it) (title, cover art, editing, release date, etc)
* responsibility for business aspects (distribution, formatting, marketing, price)
* no advance
* lack of distribution/exposure in some places (for instance physical bookstores, libraries, school book lists)
* stigma in the minds of some people (they'll expect shoddy editing, terrible writing, etc)
* not applicable for SFWA and other writer organizations, not eligible for various prestigious awards, etc

As I see it, a lot of the pros are also cons--it just depends on the individual person. For me, the idea of being involved in the cover art and the business aspects gives me a thrill. It'll be a challenge, sure, but it sounds like a load of fun. For others, the thought of formatting their manuscript or doing all the marketing themselves might give them hives. And that's okay. It's not for everybody. I don't even know if it's for me! I have to try it first.

Some of the cons (like the lack of distribution in certain areas and the inability to be a part of certain writing organizations) are reasons I'd still like to be traditionally published too. Of course, who knows how/when that will all change in the future. Indie authors are now eligible to be on the USA Today's Bestseller List, for instance.

When it came down to it, a lot of the things that deter people from indie publishing actually attracted me. It just depends on the person and their goals and desires for their career. I don't know how this will work out, but I'm excited to give it a try.

Can you think of anything I missed?


  1. Well, if you indie publish a novel - not being as economically appealing to agents and publishers in the future.

  2. @Jaimie

    This was initially a concern of mine, but I don't know if it's really the case or not ... I don't see why a writer would be less appealing if they sold a bunch of books and developed a fan base (I do think success is important here, though). If anything, I think they'd be more appealing to the publisher, because they're less of a gamble. There was a huge bidding war for Amanda Hocking's series and she got $2 million from St. Martin's Press in the end. And that other YA indie author whose name starts with an H just got a huge deal with Random House. The attitude seems to be that publishers are happy to snap up people who've already built up a readership. It's a win win. *shrugs*

  3. i really wish you the best of luck!!! my pal emily white is in the process of taking this same kind of leap. i don't know if you're following her already or not, but if you have any questions as you start this new adventure, she's a sweetheart and i'm certain she'd be more than happy to help you out! :)

  4. @aspiring_x

    Thanks for sharing her name, I'll check her out. Your name is Victoria, right?

  5. yeppers, miss kate! my name is victoria caswell, but my friends call me vic! (so... call me vic, k? :D)


Have something to say? Leave a comment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...