On July 10, 2014, I posted this on my old blog, and this is one of the posts that I think still has some value, in that it explains a bit of who I am, and why I have chosen to self-publish instead of going the more traditional route for authors. So if you didn’t read this a year ago, here’s your chance!
Indies are changing the face of publishing! (and music, and movies)
When I started writing, I very early on decided not to query publishers. Several reasons for that, really, but mainly it was a straight up business decision. By my reasoning, I couldn’t see what value a publisher would add, that justified paying 75% to 95% of the earnings for, besides giving up ownership of the all rights, possibly forever. And the non- compete clauses, which have become more or less the standard in traditional contracts, would make it impossible to write anything in a world that I created, unless the publisher gave me permission! Asking for permission to write my own characters? In my own world? And not being able to publish those stories however I damned well feel like? To me, that’s a deal breaker.
So I chose self- publishing, or to use the term adopted from the music and movie world, I went indie.
Some people might say, “but what about editing?” or “a publisher would market your book” or “self- published books look unprofessional” .
Well, first of all, these questions show a lack of understanding of current publishing trends. Avaliable data show that indies are capturing a growing share of the total number of books, especially on Amazon, which is the biggest book store and retailer in the world. In electronic format there’s no stopping the indies, and this is where the real growth is. I’m Norwegian, and most people here haven’t even read an ebook before (Norwegian publisher are WAY behind in this area, and the publishers own the brick and mortar stores… AND they are protected by politicians from left to right, so don’t expect any development from this corner of the world…), so they may have a hard time understanding this. Expect Norway to adopt ebooks when we run out of trees!
But back to the indies. In certain genres, such as Science Fiction, Indies account for more than 50% of the titles in the top 100 list! So it is definitely a preferred option by many, and readers don’t care about the publisher; they care about a good story, good editing, and good formatting. A great cover that draws attention, is an absolute must.
Does self- publishing mean going it alone then? Heck no. Not if you want your books to sell, and be read. Not if you want great reviews and readers who crave your stories.
So I do have a team. I wouldn’t want to do this without one. I do have an excellent editor, carefully selected among many other great professionals. And I have several awesome cover designers, who work with me on making covers that convey genre, sets the books apart- covers that sell books. And I have advertising partners, venues that helps me reach hundreds of thousands of potential readers, mostly genre specific. And let me tell you this: no traditionally published books by unknown authors get much advertising anyway. You have to step up and do most of the marketing yourself, whether you’re trad published or indie.
I pay every one of my “team members” and business partners a fair price. I never skimp on quality. But I don’t give away the rights to my works, or a percentage of earnings (which could be anywhere from a few measly bucks to thousands of dollars throughout the years).
Instead, I am independent. I own all rights, and I owe no one anything. And for as long as my works are on the market (ebooks and print on demand books never go out of print…), they will be a possible source of income, for the rest of my life and 70 years beyond.
So, going indie is a sound business decision. The article above from Forbes tells us that more and more people are beginning to see it the same way.
I never even considered the alternative…
(Note: This post has been slightly edited. For instance, at the time of writing, I only worked with one cover designer, while today I have several.)