Reasons to Brave the Indie Publishing Jungle

Selling your writing in 13 weeks -- week two.

Before you go it alone in publishing, you should consider some things -- and find a cool hat. Before you go it alone in publishing, you should consider some things -- and find a cool hat.

So, you’ve looked at your options, studied your product, and are considering just taking it indie, which for the purpose of this article means either self-published or with a small publisher.

Very well. Last week we examined the potential pros and cons of going traditional, and this week we’ll do the same for indie.

Sometimes, it’s just clear cut that you should go indie.

Some of these cases are, say, when you’re writing a book about something that doesn’t have a ready market in traditional publishing. Very often these are cross-genre things, and your reception at the two or three places you sent it to was “I love this, but I don’t see a market.” Or if there’s only one or two houses you’d consider in the field you’re writing in, and they’re known to take forever to answer or, for whatever reason, you’ve come to the conclusion you have no chance with them.

In most cases, things are not that clear cut. You’re sitting there, with your finished manuscript and considering “Indie or traditional.”

Well, traditional will give you money upfront, but after that you only get at best 8% of cover price. And your book is not fully in your control. Someone could slap an awful cover on, and nine times out of ten you have absolutely no say in it.

On the other hand, in Indie Publishing most of the time you have full control. (At least if you’re self-publishing. If you are publishing with a small press, you might still relinquish some of the control, such as you might have cover consultation, but it’s doubtful you’ll have cover decision.)

That’s good and bad.

Let’s take indie publishing pros and cons.

The most important advantage of indie publishing, at least in my opinion, is that in a market that’s as volatile and unpredictable as the publishing market is just now, you don’t stand at risk of losing the copyrights to your books to someone else’s lawsuit. (This might not be true with small presses, so investigate them carefully and, as always, have an IP attorney read any contract.)

The con in this case is that no one is going to pay you big money for the licensing of that copyright. You’ll put the book up and you might make a few thousand dollars in a year or you might only make a few hundred. There is no telling.