Indie author Chris Kelly is hosting a blog carnival around the topic of “Why I went indie.” Since it’s a topic that’s really on my mind this week, it seemed an ideal post topic and a sign to participate.
I didn’t plan to go indie in the beginning. I’ve been off and on pursuing traditional publication since I was 15. Still have those first rejection letters somewhere. Of course in the intervening fifteen years, publishing changed a lot. Having a web presence and a platform became vital. So Forsaken By Shadow started out as a means to start building an audience. Originally it was going to be free. But of course you can’t release things for free on Amazon if you’re not a publisher. So I listed it for a buck. There and everywhere else.
Between making the decision to put something out there on my own and actually GETTING it out there, I got into ebooks myself as a reader. And the publishing industry started going through radical changes, even before the economy tanked. Rather than looking at ebooks as the next phase of publishing, the big houses looked at them as a threat and have done every conceivable thing to sabotage them–delaying release, pricing them ludicrously, giving authors a pittance in terms of royalties. Agents and editors started telling their existing authors, “Keep your day job.”
I think that’s part of what did it for me. I hate my day job. That was part of yesterday’s unplugging, the details of which do not belong on the internet. But end result, I hate my day job, I’m tired of working multiple jobs, and I want to write for a living. If New York’s traditional publishers are not going to enable me to do that, are going to wrest creative control from me, dick around with my rights, have final say over title and cover art, and still expect me to do all the promo, exactly WHY should I be looking at them? Yeah, I couldn’t think of any reasons either.
Going indie eliminates the wait while my book gets caught up in the cogs of the slow publishing machine (which still manages to have ridiculously short turn arounds for deadlines, I hear), such that it may be 2 or 3 years before a book that gets accepted actually gets put out. Going indie allows me to get it out 2-3 months after I finish the first draft (depending on how much is needed in revisions). Which means that in that 2 or 3 years during which New York would manage to get out ONE title, I will be able to get out at least 3+ (assuming 1 full length novel a year and not looking at all the novellas I’ve been writing lately). And maybe my following will be built grassroots style and slower, but more titles equals more exposure. And given that I get to keep a much higher percentage of my royalties and don’t have to split it with middlemen, it seems that I just might make more money faster by doing it on my own. And that means I just might be able to eventually quit the dreaded day job and work from home writing and teaching online (which has been the practical end-game all along and why I’ve been working multiple jobs for the last 4 years–well, apart from the money to pay stuff off).
Viva la revolution!