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Indie or Not?

The publishing market today is in a constant state of flux. Things are changing fast, and it can be difficult to keep up.

I recently attended a panel discussion, at the Desert Rose Romance Writers’ Conference, on the different options with publishing. There were six different authors and six different opinions. I thought I would share some of the pros and cons each author mentioned to help others, like myself, navigate this intricate world of publishing.

 

Virginia Nelson

She traditionally published in the past, and with three contracts in her hand decided to self publish.

Advantages: She wanted control over her product.

Disadvantages: She had a lot of research to do on self publishing. She had to initially pay out for her covers, editing and formatting, and self promotion was all on her shoulders.

Vijaya Schartz

She has published several books with small press.

Advantages: They will pay for your editors and bookcovers. Bigger royalties than larger publishing firms.

Disadvantes: No promotion or marketing. No advances.

Advice: Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Small publishers may close their doors. Do not put all your books with one publisher. (Those with a larger publishing firms agreed with this as well.)

Shelly Coriell

Shelly is an award winning author who published her young adult series with Amulet (a bigger New York publisher). She also has an adult suspense series with a different large publishing company.

Advantages: Book advances. Book tours (for her personally, not everyone). They cover all promotion. Great cover art. Three to five different editors to help perfect manuscript.

Disadvantages: No control of tour schedules. Smaller royalties because of advances. Not as much of control of book.

Advice: She was a big proponent of traditional publishing. But she does have a more personal novel that she plans to self publish so that she can have more control.

Erin Quinn

Traditional publishing for over twenty years with some independent publishing as well.

Advantages: Simon and Schuster is her publisher, and she loves their quality editing. Large publishing houses have great marketing as well.

Advice: She does publish novellas independently to supplement her other income.

Jennifer Ashley

She is a New York Times Best Selling author who has been traditionally published since 2002 and began self publishing as well in 2011. Berkley is her current publisher.

Advantages: One of the biggest advantages she discussed was that large publishing houses are able to make the back end deals no one else can. If you want your books in Costco, Walmart, Target, etc. You have to have a large publishing house to sell your books.

Disadvantages: You don’t have as much control of your book with a larger publishing company.

Advice: “Nothing sells your book like your next book” and “Your newsletter is gold.”

 

One piece of advice that several of them gave, was if you choose to go the indie route make your book the best you can. You may want to submit to agents to get feedback even if publishing yourself. Overall, self promotion and lack of professional editors seemed to be the biggest challenge to self publishing. While, lack of control was the biggest disadvantage to tradition publishing.

I hope this helps some of the newer writers out there, or those thinking of making a switch. We have of variety of publishing methods at the swamp and often discuss upcoming trends and issues. Whatever route you choose, do your research and keep asking questions.

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