March 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm #27083
Let’s forget about the choice between indie publishing and traditional publishing for a moment. What about doing both? What are your thoughts on being a hybrid author? Too much hassle with two different systems? A good way to increase your reach?
For me it comes down to individual projects. I’ve already blogged about why indie publishing is right for me for most things. But I’m still trying to decide if that’s the best option for my children’s stories. Either I’ll publish everything independently or I’ll go the hybrid route, pitching those to agents.
What about you? Any thoughts or experiences to share?March 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm #27085
I think hybrid publishing is a great strategy for many writers. With that said, I can’t imagine a time when I would be interested in a traditional deal. I’ve never attempted to get one and I don’t foresee trying to in the future. Control is a very important aspect of my publishing career and I don’t see the benefits in giving that up. I have many friends with traditional deals and I don’t find the process to be anything I’m interested in.March 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm #27086
See, that’s how I felt too. You know my background. There is very little a traditional publisher can offer me that I can’t already provide, and probably better given how much they expect new authors (and old) to do on their own anyway.
The reason I’m undecided about the children’s books has to do with the illustrated nature of them. I don’t know yet if I’ll have the time to illustrate. And I’m a bit out of practice with that type of artwork. If I decided I can’t, or don’t want to, do it, it might be better to let a publisher play matchmaker of sorts.
The other issue is printing. It could be far more expensive to print a short book with illustrations than even a full-length novel without. So I know I’d want to go the traditional printing route if I go indie with these. It just makes better business sense. But that’s also a pretty big risk to take for a first-timer. Then again, I suppose I’ve never been afraid of taking risks.
In the end, my control freak nature about certain things (like marketing) will probably win out.March 19, 2014 at 10:18 am #27093
I’m not sure how to do both, to be honest. As Yo points out, it’s great to have control of your own destiny. That said, publishers have the connections and the marketing dollars. How do you wrest control from a publisher?
With children’s books, I know I can’t illustrate. Stick-figure books probably wouldn’t sell. 🙂 But these days, publishers want your platform — what’s your platform? How are YOU going to do the job we’re supposed to be doing? It’s tough getting publishers to take you seriously if you’re not already set up for success. And at that point, why do we need them? LOLMarch 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm #27096
Yeah, those marketing budgets just aren’t there these days, especially for new authors. It’s no wonder more are choosing the indie route when they’re expected to do most of the work anyway.
That’s exactly how I see it too. If I’ve spent years building a platform, why the hell should I use it to make money for someone else? I already have the entrepreneurial background. I have a strong network. I have a lot of marketing and PR experience when it comes to these kinds of projects. And I can afford to hire an editor — not just any editor, but the best editor for each particular project. So really, what can a publisher offer me? Not a whole hell of a lot, and certainly not enough to justify their cut.
Even with the children’s books I could hire a freelance illustrator if I had to. My concern there is that I’d find someone for the first book and they’d either disappear or try to jack up their rates on the next one, especially if I promote the first well. They should certainly be paid fairly. I just don’t know that I like the uncertainty and all the copyright issues that come along with bringing someone else in (who owns the basic character design — can they take them and run, use them in merch of their own, can someone else come in and pick up where they left off, etc.?).
That’s where a publisher might come in handy. Or a lawyer.March 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm #27103
Lawyer. For sure. 🙂
I see why indie publishing appeals. It does make much more sense to do the work AND keep the revenue from it. Maybe traditional publishing will get to a point where they’re struggling to find people willing to go that route? That’s the only way I see it changing in our favor.March 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm #27105
I doubt that would happen soon. For as many entrepreneurial writers as there are, there are still countless authors who say they “just want to write.” Maybe they’ll start to realize that’s not an option for most anymore, traditionally-published or not, and they’ll start considering indie options. But I think we have a long way to go before the old perceptions change. I suspect we’re going to move to a model where publishers are service providers and authors will be able to pick and choose what to let them handle, as opposed to them being the risk takers financing new publishing projects.March 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm #27107
I read about a self-publishing author who asked a trad publisher for the marketing plan they were going to use for her books and basically, there was none. It’s my understanding that marketing is basically a myth unless you’re already a big seller.March 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm #27109
That’s not surprising. But it was smart of that author to ask. If a publisher can’t tell you exactly what they can do for you and your book, you shouldn’t be working with them. I suspect they’ve gotten used to authors falling all over themselves to get a publishing deal. They’re not used to authors having business savvy and demanding to know these things. Hopefully they’re in for some changes and that will become the norm. It’s the only way authors are going to make more educated decisions. They have to ask.
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