Why I Chose Indie Publishing {Guest Post by Jenna Terese}

 In Kell's Blog

Today we have a guest poster talking about something very near and dear to my heart … why she chose indie publishing! Jenna Terese is listing pros & cons of self- and traditional publishing as well as her personal reasons for the decision.

Meanwhile, I’m up on Mt. Hood. I mean … *glances at watch* … not quite yet. But I will be soon! So if I don’t reply to your comments right off, that’s probably why.

No more delays. On to the post!

Why I Chose Indie Publishing

A lot of writers are confused as to which publishing path to choose. Traditional? Indie (also called self-publishing)? There are a lot of opinions out there, and they can just confuse the matter further.

Even worse, some writers write off indie as “not real publishing.” Unfortunately, some still cling to the idea that indie publishing is where you go if you couldn’t make it in the “real world.” They think the self-publishing side is filled with people who couldn’t get an agent or publishing house, who aren’t good writers, and who put out awful books.

Sadly, this used to be the case. But that was many years ago. Indie-publishing is different now. It’s changed. People are making a good go at it, some doing just as good or better than traditionally published authors.

As you might have been able to tell, I am partial to indie-publishing. I am not published yet, but I chose indie publishing.

I am by no means trying to put down traditional publishing, authors that are traditionally published, or writers who want to go that route. These are just my opinions and advice for you, because I care about those stories that you’re writing. I want them to reach the world in the best possible way.

THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

Pros

The experience of the publishing house. You have industry experts here, with years and years of combined experience ready to hone your book into an awesome product.

More resources. Publishing houses have more resources and connections to market your book well and get it out there in front of readers.

You’re left to just write. This is a big pro for some people, if you don’t want to be bothered with a lot of the business side of publishing and want to be left to just create.

The status of an “actually published author.” Sadly, if you go indie, a lot of people won’t see you as a real published author. Even though people’s minds are changing, it’s a sad truth that still lingers.

You don’t have to pay any upfront costs. You don’t have to pay a formatter, cover designer, editor, anything. Publishers’ in-house experts do these things for you.

Cons

Gatekeepers. It can be really hard to get into the traditional publishing world. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before; writers getting rejection after rejection for years. Those popular stories that are so great, had to go through a long chain of rejections first.

It’s a really long process. The long process of getting a traditional book out there can take years. It can make it hard to follow the trends in the market and publish when a book would be most successful.

You only get a small share of the profits. I don’t want to sound greedy here, but this point pretty much speaks for itself. But coupled with the experience and marketing abilities of the publishing house, it’s still possible to make good money.

You don’t really own your story anymore. Once you sign that contract (of course, the contracts probably vary somewhat), you don’t own your story like you would if you went indie. You can’t do what you want with it. Ultimately, the final decisions are not up to you, but the publisher.

PROS AND CONS OF INDIE PUBLISHING

Pros

There are no gatekeepers! You have the advantage of speed! There’s nobody holding you back from publishing your book in the indie world. You have the freedom to publish as quickly as you’d like, and can follow the trends of what’s most popular to get better sales.

You keep the profits. All that money is for you. 😉

You own the rights to your story. That story that you wrote, spent years of blood, sweat and tears on is yours. Nobody else’s. You can do with it what you want, reproduce it any other form (audiobook, film, etc.) without anyone’s permission but your own. You can tell that story however you want, and don’t have to worry about someone else wanting to change it.

Cons

There are no gatekeepers. I know, I know. This was on the pros list too. But it’s true; this can be good and bad. Because there are no gatekeepers on this side of the industry, it can let not-so-good quality-books through to be published. This is why, if you’re going indie, you make sure that you’re story is as good as it can be, polished to perfection.

There’s a ton of work involved. Indie publishing has a huge learning curve. You have to learn to do a lot of things yourself if you don’t want to hire someone for every aspect of publishing. I, personally, like doing things myself, but this doesn’t appeal to some. Plus, the costs can add up, which brings me too…

You pay for everything. There’s no publishing house with their own experts to do this for you. You have to research and choose people to hire for interior formatting, cover design, marketing, editing, etc. Of course, the more you can do (professionally) yourself the better, but costs can add up to a hefty sum, depending on who you choose to go with.

These are certainly not all the pros and cons for both of these publishing paths, but I’ve chosen what I think are the biggest ones. I hope this helps you a little bit if you are trying to decide which way to go.

5 REASONS WHY I CHOSE TO GO INDIE

01. I want to be an entrepreneur

I’ve always wanted to start a business. A small one by myself and/or one with my family. And when you think about it, self-publishing is kind of like starting a business. You’re creating a product, hiring people/services, and handling all the marketing and advertising and such that goes along with the product. Business and entrepreneurial things just excite me, and I’d like to spread that passion into my writing life.

02. I’m kind of a DIYer

I like to do things myself, I like to know exactly what’s going on, and I just enjoy doing things all. by. myself. (*cough*introvert*cough*).

There isn’t much more to say on this. I’ve just always loved to learn about the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes something happen, and I like to be a part of that whenever I can.

03. I want to have more control over my book

Call me a control freak.

I’m not about everything, but I kind of am about my books. I like to know exactly how my book’s doing, and I like to be in control of where and how it’s marketed and advertised.

You see, I want to be able to choose a cover I adore instead of taking a chance that I’ll get one that I don’t really like (I do realize the importance of a cover designed for the market it’s reaching though). It makes me nervous that in the end, the publisher is the one who gets the final say in decisions. I just like to get in there and get my hands dirty and, you guessed it, do it myself.

Okay, I’m a control freak. 😛

04. Keeping all the rights for my books

I want to be able to keep all the rights to my stories. I’d prefer not to sign them away to a publisher, where their decision is final, not mine.

05. Flexibility

I like the flexibility of starting your own business. You set the hours and what/how much work you get done. I’m nervous about signing a contract with deadlines that would require me to write more than my lifestyle could hold. I want to be able to spend time with my family and enjoy other things.

By no means am I saying that I will be slacking with my work. I enjoy work (a little too much maybe). And I’m not saying that traditionally published authors are over-worked and don’t have time for family and etc. This is just what will seem to work best for me, my family, and our lifestyle.

Again, these points are just my opinion. You can take it or leave it, but I hope that it sheds a bit more light on this sometimes-confusing subject. Whichever publishing path you choose, I wish you all the best. Go out there and change the world!

And many thanks to Kellyn for allowing me to guest post on this blog and talk about a subject I’m passionate about!

Write on,

Jenna

About the Blogger

Jenna Terese has been writing since she was 7, inspired by the stories her mother read to her and her siblings when they were little. She’s never lost her passion for storytelling, and can’t imagine not being able to let out the stories bouncing around in her head. A quote from Martin Luther sums up her mission as a writer: “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” She wants to change the world for God, one heart at a time. You can find her typing away at her laptop, reading a good book, riding horses, playing some music, spending time with her family, or eating chocolate.

Follow her on…

Her blog: www.jennaterese.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jt0651/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/77394820-jenna

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TTFN!

~Kellyn Roth~

p.s.

Are you an indie kinda writer or a traditional kinda writer? (Or hybrid, I guess.) What are your thoughts on these points? How do the pros and cons balance out to you?

Let’s all give Jenna a big round of applause for sharing why she chose indie publishing – and why you might want to, as well! Always good to have a refresher, too. (At least for me!)

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Showing 6 comments
  • E.F.B.
    Reply

    Well done, Jenna! Thank you for sharing with us. I respect your decision and understand your reasoning behind choosing to be an indie author. It’s great that the industry is changing so that indies are able to make a healthy career for themselves these days. I’ve been learning a lot about the differences between traditional and self publishing recently and am personally still leaning towards traditional publishing first, but later, would not be against going hybrid if it seemed the thing to do. My reasoning is that I plain don’t have the money to go indie first and do it well. I also want the expertise of people at a publishing house as well as the expertise of a good agent to be my advocate so I can get good contracts with reputable publishers. I know some publishers have bigger marketing budgets than others, but having had to do so much of my marketing for my Etsy shop for 3 years and kind of resenting how much time it takes away from the creative side, I know I’d rather have even a little help than none when marketing a book. I also wouldn’t want to go indie first, not do well enough, and then have trouble breaking in traditionally because a publisher is judging my indie numbers. It would also be nice to save up money from when I traditionally publish so that if and when I want to go indie, I’m not having to use so much of my family’s money to do it. I’ll also have learned more about the realities of the industry by that time and can use that knowledge to help me market an indie book better.

    • Jenna Terese
      Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! That’s great that you’ve thought through publishing and what works best for you; that’s such an important step!

  • Jenna Terese
    Reply

    Thank you so much again, Kellyn, for letting me write about this topic! It was a lot of fun! 😀

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