E.L James, Adam Croft and Amanda Hocking did and look where they ended up!
Not that I expect to hit the bigtime at this point in my career, but having been published traditionally, and now as an indie author, I do know that whichever route you take, success lies in the doing.
We all know about the famous ones who kept sending out their work until either an agent or a publisher recognized its potential and it became an “overnight” bestseller. But let’s face it, unless you’re as brilliant, and determined, as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, those stories are few and far between.
The good news is: there’s no need to confine an unwanted manuscript to the bottom drawer if you truly believe in your story.
Here are a few of the many reasons for deciding to publish a book yourself.
1. The clock is ticking…suffice to say my children now have small children of their own, and having a major publisher dangle a carrot and then sit on the manuscript for a year is extremely frustrating. But, you’re a writer. You carry on with another project, and if the publisher takes a pass, pay attention to the reasons why, and move forward.
2. You own the rights…if you’ve been traditionally published and your book is now out of print, ask for your rights back. Not only do you have a brand-new audience, thanks to the advent of electronic publishing, you have a chance to update your original material for another generation.
3. You’re in charge. It’s your decision (depending on your budget and level of expertise) whether or not you need a professional editor, a designer (for cover & layout) as well as marketing assistance. (Friends and family can be an asset, but approach with caution!)
And on the downside:
1. You’re in charge. Which makes you totally responsible for any errors or omissions, typos, grammar mistakes and, of course, content. Not to mention any “additional” information: copyright page; ISBN registration; table of contents; author bio, and the all-important back-cover blurb!
2. The cost of publishing can be quite high for an indie author, particularly if you have to rely on a team of outside talent (see above), but the rewards aren’t all about fame and fortune. Taking your story from idea to finished book and then publishing it is, in itself, a major accomplishment.
3. Making money, however, remains the ultimate measure of success for most writers. Ebooks with their higher royalty rates will net you more per book than traditional publishing, but should you decide to go beyond print-on-demand, and approach your local bookstores, be prepared for consignment rates that vary from 30 to 45%.
The general rule is that it takes at least three books to know whether or not being an indie author is for you. Even traditionally-published authors are expected to have a social media presence, and many are working fulltime at other jobs. Managing your time, your budget and your books is key – so is continuing to write!
The Mysterious Mr. Moon, originally published by Stoddart-General, was reissued on the 15th of February…by yours truly, Indie Author!