I respect anyone who has the courage and tenacity to write, whether for a living or just for themselves. Sharing my writing with the world has been kind of like my first time on a nude beach: self-conscious, awkward, not sure where to look, baby steps, run into the water screaming, adjust to surroundings, then realize I’m OK.
I wrestled for many, many months on whether to submit my own novel to a traditional publishing house or to publish independently. It wasn’t easy to decide, because the publishing world is not what it used to be, and there are tons of choices.
I went to a writer’s conference, which was life changing. If you’re considering it, GO. Just GO.
I revised my book at least four times, but I kind of lost count.
Why I chose indie publishing:
- I’m optimistic. I have not submitted my debut novel, The Recollection of Trees to any traditional publishing houses, nor have I been rejected by any publisher. The first agent I met liked my writing and praised my “strong YA voice” which she said is “a skill that can’t be taught.”
- I’m a little impatient. I carefully researched the multitude of publishing options for emerging authors, and in the end it really comes down to timing. The upside of a traditional book deal is the rare possibility of a sizable advance and the support of a far-reaching network of experienced professionals. But the downside could be waiting several months or even years for the publishing house to print and release my book.
- I’m trendy, sort of. Some of my favorite bestsellers are switching from traditional to independent, and some recently successful first-time authors started indie—and some of them have even garnered movie deals. (Maybe there’s something to this indie thing?)
- It’s cool and edgy to be an indie musician, indie artist, or indie filmmaker, but there’s a weird stigma attached to indie authors. Not only would I like to help put an end to that, but being indie honors the spirit of my book, which is about a teen girl who learns to trust her inner voice on her own independent path.
- I’m the busy promoter of my book whichever way I choose—indie or traditional. So, since I’m ready now and I don’t want to wait for someone else’s timing on my big dream, I chose the indie route. That said, if a traditional publisher likes my work, I’m open to having a discussion.
So, I’ll let you know how it all turns out, and as I go through this process I will share with you any mistakes, pitfalls, successes, or just pertinent details that may help you publish your own work. Stay tuned!
related articles by me: Why I chose indie publishing
If you’d like to see some other author’s opinions on the subject, I respect and value both of these:
Bestselling author of Must Love Dogs, Claire Cook: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and New York Publishers (for now)
Author & Forbes contributor, David Vinjamuri: Publishing is Broken, We’re Drowning in Indie Books–and That’s a Good Thing