Monday 30 April 2018

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Is It Right For You?


Something I've been asked a lot is why I chose the self-published/indie route. I did a video about this on my YouTube channel at the beginning of the month, but along with that question, I get another: is it right for me? My simple answer is: No idea, I'm not you! But I thought I would touch on a few ways you can maybe help decide if going indie is right for you.


One thing that is very clear from the indie route is that you have more control. I decide release dates, who I go with as an editor, my cover designer, the formats, the price (some what) and the list goes on. If you're someone who's happy to hand that over to someone else, who doesn't what that level of responsibility on their shoulders, then the indie route might not be for you.

This can apply to both routes if I'm honest. There's a lot of marketing that will fall in your lap even if you choose to go the traditional route. Part of being indie is being your own PR company and making sure the word is spread about releases, cover reveals and all of that. You want to have some idea of how to do a marketing plan and have the knowledge on implementing it. You need to have the know-how when it comes to researching companies that you may use to help you on that task. It's daunting and terrifying. You have to do a lot of the legwork yourself and if you're someone who'd rather rely on having other people on your team, the traditional route might be better for you. Though unless you're a big name, some of that is still going to be down to you.

I'm not saying that you have to sink millions into a book launch, but you do need to have some funds to pay for editors and the like. All of that is going to come out of your pocket, whereas the traditional route will generally take care of those costs. It is possible to do a book launch and not spend an enormous amount, but you're going to need to put money into it, to be able to get started and moving. That's just a fact of life, businesses take money and this is, by all accounts, a business.

I know that a lot of writers work in a regular job, and it's a commonplace thing since most people don't make enough money writing to call it a full-time job. Being indie or traditional isn't going to make you rich overnight and a lot of writers and authors will continue to work outside of their writing. However, writing takes time, as does promotion and releases. Yes, it is possible to do alongside a 9 to 5 job and many many indie authors do manage it, but what you need to be asking yourself is if you can manage it. There's so much work that goes into it behind the scenes that it's not for everyone. Yes, you can hire a PA and other people to help you, and I honestly take my hat off to anyone who can do this job and work another job as well. I'm very lucky in that it's my only job and even then I struggle from time to time.

This might seem like a strange one because everyone who writes and publishes does so because they want to, right? Well yes, mostly. I write because if I didn't, I don't think I'd still be here. I publish because I want to share my work. I do it for the love of the written word and my characters and their stories. And I guarantee you that 99% of indie authors feel the same. But everyone has a different idea of what publishing means. This question is simply to ask yourself, what do you want to achieve? If you're after just getting your work out there, then the indie route is a good one to take. If you're looking to hit the best sellers list and sit back and let the royalties roll in, then I'd say that neither route is going to work for you. Not because indie author's don't win awards, but because we all work hard to get where we are. That means promotion and all of that.

The long and short of it is, no one can tell you which route is best for you, for your book, for your brand and all of that. I chose to go indie for a number of reasons and bar something drastic changing in my life, I will stay indie. That said, just because it's not the right route for everyone, doesn't mean you can't give it a go. Traditional publishing is just as good, and I don't ever think there is a better or worse situation between the two. Each path will appeal to different people and that's okay. You gotta do what works for you.

What are your thoughts on the indie route? Did it work for you? Are you traditional and have something to add? Let me know in the comments!

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