Dissonance, Writing Process

Publishing… decisions, decisions

When I was younger, I dreamed of being one of those prestigious writers.  My books prominently displayed on the shelves of bookstores across the nation.  Sitting at home working on manuscript after manuscript drinking tea and coffee, gardening during the afternoons, and living it up.  Thinking back on my fantasy, I guess I thought writers made a lot of money.  Back then, the only way to be published was to sign a contract with a publisher.  Well I suppose you could have printed and bound the book yourself, but you’d risk everyone thinking you were some conspiracy theorist nut.

When I first started writing the Malcolm Stone series, I was still dreaming of selling my work to a big name publisher.  Who wouldn’t want their name on a book with Penguin Publishing on the spine?  I was still new on the writing scene and thought those who were going it on their own and self-publishing were merely one step above those crazy conspiracy nuts.

A lot has changed.  In the publishing world and in my own opinion.  I used to think only the people who couldn’t get a publisher to buy their manuscript self published.  I thought it was a writer’s own arrogance to publish something that was obviously not good enough for a publishing house to pick up.

A lot has changed.  After I had gotten my feet wet and started interacting with other writers, I started seeing the other side to self-publishing.  Yeah there are still a few bad eggs out there that publish their work before it’s a polished product, but that’s not the majority of writers, heck it’s probably only a small minority that is giving the rest of the self-publishing crowd a bad name.  I have since done my research on what I am giving up if I go the “traditional” route, and what I was signing up for if I went it alone.

It was probably three years into writing Reverie, when I decided I was going to forgo the traditional publishing route.  I decided I was not going to waste time by querying agents.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think my book was good enough to get picked up.  I actually think my book can sell.  My book might not be marketable to the masses in it’s current form and plot lines, but my decision runs deeper than that.  The idea of changing my book for mere sales makes my skin craw.  I don’t want to be a sell out.  I want the book with my name on it to truly be my work and not the ideas of a  marketing team.  Now, that isn’t to say that I won’t take the advice of an editor or my beta readers to adjust something to make it read better and make the story stronger, but to change just for profit.  I’ll pass.

After doing my research, I realized that a traditionally published book, once sent to a book store for sales, only has a certain amount of time on the shelves before the bookstore will return the books for a refund.  Giving my book a single chance to take off and fly, no practice flights, it’s make or break.  There is a real possibility that my book could be an out of print book after it’s first printing.  What’s the point of writing a book if readers can’t get there hands on it?  I don’t want to run the risk that my book was thrown out of the bookstores before it had a chance to really shine.  That’s the beauty of self-publishing, my book will always be in print and no one but myself holds the rights to print it or take it out of print.

All in all I guess my decision comes down to control.  I want to control my work.   I respect those who go through the struggles of procuring an agent and selling their work to a traditional publisher, having the ability to let go, but that boat is just not for me.  I do envy the team those going the traditional route will have; marketers, editors, graphic designers.  I on the other hand will have to hire a cover artist, editor, build my own marketing team, but I don’t view it as an obstacle to overcome.  I feel that it’s going to be a new challenge to succeed at and I’m looking forward to each step along the way to becoming a published author.

Maybe I’m still too new the game and too brash and arrogant, and my opinions may change after this first book, but for now self publishing is right for me.

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6 thoughts on “Publishing… decisions, decisions”

  1. A good summary. I think the last paragraph is a positive view of something I’ve been feeling. With traditional publishing, you have professionals – who know the market – given to you, but with indie publishing, you need to create that team yourself, through beggary or bribery :p

    And, I guess it will keep changing, so it’s more important than ever to keep up with the changes, and adapt as necessary.

    Great post, Amanda.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And never forget that self-publishing in no way precludes being picked up by a major publisher. there are an increasing number of stories of exactly that happening once a self-published work gains popularity. Then maybe you can turn round and say “Thanks, but no thanks,” and carry on down your own path anyway 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow. This is so exactly how I made the decision! In just over a year I’ve gone from dreaming of the now-nearly-non-existent fat contract, to having no interest in signing my rights away. I’m happy for authors who land agents and contracts if that’s what they want, but I’m not jealous. I don’t see a publishing contract as a necessary stamp of approval any more. It’s just another valid path to getting books to readers.

    I DO see a lot of independently published books that obviously didn’t have the benefit of good editing when they needed it. That is a valid criticism of some people’s work, but it doesn’t apply to all indie authors. We can do anything in that area that traditional publishers can, and there are no perfect books, no matter how they’re published. Hopefully the market will sort itself out, the highest-quality work will rise to the top, and we can lose that stigma.

    I actually liked building my own team (editor, cover designer, formatter when I couldn’t make it look good on my own). I got to choose who I wanted to work with, and reject whatever didn’t fit my vision for the book. I didn’t enjoy the expense, but that’s the trade-off. I do wish I could afford a marketer, but it doesn’t seem like what traditional publishers do for mid-list authors is enough to justify THAT trade-off. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m on my first book and I’m shying away from the big publishers. My reason is similar to yours. I don’t want rewrite after rewrite AFTER I get an acceptance from a company. I know that the story will get all twisted and not be mine anymore. Still, I know zip about publishing so I’m shooting for a small press taking me on. Sure, there may still be a couple of rewrites but I think they’re let me keep my story as I’ve written it for the most part.

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  5. Hi Amanda! I’m almost done with the edits for my 2nd book and I’ve been thinking more and more about self publishing this one.
    I queried my first book and it took me a year to get a contract with a small publishing house (Tate Publishing), and then it took me another year to publish it. They didn’t charge me any money, which is really the only good thing about the experience. I hated the book trailer they made for my book so I ended up doing my own with IBP. And I’m still waiting for other things they promised to do, which almost a year later, they haven’t done. I’m thinking of taking matters into my own hands with my next book.

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