Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Need a Little Understanding...

Made some really good progress at the end of the week and now I'm about halfway through my story line edits of Zyander.  Hoping to make more headway this week and spend the week after finishing up his story.  Aeris is coming together, guys!
I just want to give a shout out to all the wonderful emails I've gotten from readers in the past couple of weeks.  They have made me push through the fatigue and crank this last part out!  It is so motivating to have people write you and tell you how excited they are to read the next book.  I don't want to disappoint, and I'm working hard to make this next book the best that it can be.  So thank you, all!

Now onto this week's topic.  I've been following the writing world through the great, which is probably one of the best websites out there for people who are interested in such things.  Granted, it slants heavily toward the indie side of things, but it's always informative.

Which brings me to my questions for some of the other ROW authors out there.  Several of you are going the traditional route: querying agents, trying to get published, etc.  I just wondered why.  Just... what is your reasoning?  Have you ever considered going indie?  Does indie seem like the lazy way?  Does it feel more legit, the idea that an agent and publishing house would want you?  Does it appeal more, letting someone else handle the cover, the editing, the proofing and formatting?  Do you think you'd get a better marketing package if you went through a traditional publisher?

I used to think about trying the traditional route.  Nothing sounded better... you get an advance (most times), they handle everything, and all you have to do is write.  What could be better than that?

Then I had a kid and bought a house, and didn't feel like trying to budget in the time and money to send out queries to everyone and their brother.  So yes, that is why I put my books out there without going that route.  But it's been a year now, and I've learned a lot about the indie process.  The more that I learn, the more motivated I am to keep doing it the way I have been.  Here are a few of the reasons why:
1) I get to set the price of my ebooks.  I can make them $9.99 or $.99 cents.  I can choose what promos to put in place, whether free or half off or whatever I feel like to promote what I have out there.  In traditional publishing, they pick the price and it's usually so high it pisses readers off (sometimes higher than the HARDBACK version).  
2) I get a royalty check every month.  I get an excel spreadsheet statement every month clearly outlining each book sold, for what price, what my royalty percentage is, etc.  In traditional publishing, you get paid every 6 mths and the documentation they send you is incomprehensible(or so I've read from the authors who've commented on it).
3) No one holds the rights to MY BOOK, but ME.  I don't have to fight to take my books off a website.  I don't have to go through painful court cases or hire lawyers or send  nasty letters trying to get my book rights back when a publisher fails me.  In traditional publishing, publishers hold onto those rights like toddlers with their favorite toys.  Dorchester, just last year, totally dropped the ball with their authors, pulling books, not paying authors, etc.  And yet SOMEHOW those authors couldn't seem to get their rights back.  Not only that, but now Dorchester is selling off those book rights to the highest bidder.  Even after all that EPIC FAIL.
4) I release my books when THEY ARE FINISHED.  I don't have to wait out a schedule.  I don't have to wonder why, when I'm already on the THIRD FREAKING BOOK, my first one still has yet to be released.  And don't tell me that it's because making a book look good takes a long time.  BULL.  I can name a dozen indie writers who have clean, edited books and manage to release them in a timely manner. In traditional publishing, publishers have a QUEUE, and where you are in the food chain directly relates to how your soon your book gets released.
5) I get to choose my own cover.  Granted, I have to find a good artist and PAY that artist.  I mean, I'm fortunate that my sister is so freaking talented and pretty much uses me as a portfolio builder.

But there are some great "pre-made" covers out there that don't cost a ton and look as professional as you'd ever need.  In traditional publishing, someone else chooses the cover and maybe you get to sign off on it, maybe you don't.  Maybe the publisher tries to rip off some other artist's cover, causing a scandal that surrounds your new and highly anticipated sequel.  Maybe they pick a cover that is so out of place as to be laughable.

And I know there are benefits to be traditionally published.  People take you seriously as a writer, for instance.  I can't tell you the times I've gotten "the look" from people who find out I'm an indie.  Or when someone says to me, "Wow, that seems so easy anyone can do it."  Or "My girlfriend/wife/brother has this great idea for a book, can you tell him how you do that indie thing?"
You get an advance, which is nice.  I get nothing upfront.  On the other hand, advances for newbies are small, and you get them in pieces, and a lot of times you have to "earn" certain amounts to get the rest of your money.  That is hard to do when your publisher pulls your book off B&N shelves after a short amount of time, or lists the ebook price so high that no one will try it out.  I was shocked, SHOCKED at how many of my favorite writers are part time.  I was SHOCKED that they didn't earn enough to quit their day jobs.  I always figured that after all the time and effort and rigmarole you go through to pass through those "gatekeepers" that the payout would be better.  I mean honestly, if I had to keep my day job, I would much rather be an indie, and get my 70% royalty.  I would rather keep the rights to my book.
According to several sources, advances for newbies are now between 5-10,000.  In chunk payments, remember.  I've almost made that much.  Granted it wasn't up front, but that's still pretty good.  The more books I add, the better that will be.  Business wise, it makes so much more sense to me to put my books out there, let my readers decide if they like me, and let the publishers come to ME, if they so desire.  And if they don't... well, I'll be here, writing my next book.

So yeah... am I an idiot?  Am I looking at this all wrong?  Tell me!
Happy Reading!
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