Today I have a guest blogger – Amy Rose Davis. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by 🙂
When I first decided to pursue publication as an independent author, I was met with some… interesting comments. Most of my family and friends thought it was a great plan.Many of my commercial writing cohorts encouraged me as well, seeing it as a natural extension of what I was already doing (freelance commercial writing).
But within the writing community, I got a lot of German Shepherd looks. You know—head tipped to one side, confused, with an ear cocked up, wondering what language I was speaking. “Don’t give up on publication—keep querying. You might be lucky. And what about editing? You need editing. Everyone does. And people don’t buy self-published books. There’s too much crap out there.”
Well…. I’m two months into my indie author journey (almost—my novella Silver Thaw went live on December 15, 2010), and people are… Buying my books. And giving them good reviews. And talking about me and recommending me to their friends.
So, in keeping with Cassie’s ABC Challenge this year (I was the “D” on her list), I thought I’d take a moment to try to dispel some of the myths around indie authors.
Myth: Self-publishing is a last resort. Actually, although I made a very few brief attempts at querying last spring, I decided to go the independent route fairly early in my publication journey. I started reading about people like Joe Konrath, Karen McQuestion,Colleen Houck, Zoe Winters, Brian S. Pratt, and the like, and I thought if they could have some success, then I could, too.
Myth: People who self-publish are bitter about publishing in general. No, not really. I’m not bitter. I think the query system is outdated. I think the publishing industry as awhole operates on a largely inefficient and broken business model. I think traditional publishers are slow to adapt. But I’m not bitter. I just made a choice about what I thought was the best route for my own work. There are some bitter authors who self-publish, but there are bitter traditionally published authors, too.
Myth: Self-published authors can’t write. This one is tricky, but it’s a huge generalization based on the work churned out by vanity presses over the years. Yes, itis true that there is a LOT of self-published stuff out there that is very low quality, but that is changing rapidly. There are a lot of very competent writers out there who have chosen to go independent for a huge variety of reasons. Many of these folks have had short stories published in traditional publications. I did. Plus, I worked for several yearsas a freelance commercial writer. I know a lot of indies have experience as marketers, ghostwriters, and other such folk in the writing world.
Myth: Self-published authors just slap up the first piece of junk that exudes from their deluded minds. Let’s call this the corollary to the myth above. I know there is a lot of self-published junk out there, and it’s quite possible that much of that junk is first draft quality from people who have a lot to learn about writing. But, all of the independent authors I know take great pride and care in putting out the best stories they possibly can.They have beta readers, critique partners, and editors. Those folks may be unpaid—probably are—and they may also be unpracticed in craft, but it’s unfair to say that indie authors don’t bother to polish their work.
Myth: People who self-publish spend thousands of dollars to put out their own work. Not true. So far, with a block of 10 ISBNs, a couple of copyright registrations, a few stock images, and a little bit to a brilliant graphic designer, I’ve spent less than$1,000 in out-of-pocket dollars. Far less, in fact. Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes &Noble make it really easy to upload your work. With a little time and a good guide, even the most technically ungifted (like me!) can upload a professional-quality manuscript and begin selling right away.
Myth: Self-publishing is the easy way out. Holy cow, I want this one to die a horrible and painful death! No, no, no—a thousand times, no! The concept that people who self-publish are just looking for an easy path or just want to skip all the “hard stuff” is so false it’s not even funny. The indie authors I know—the ones who are making it—spend huge amounts of time on things that aren’t even related to writing. They see this route as a business that requires marketing, accounting, advertising, branding, managing, sub-contracting, and on and on. Being a serious indie author who is dedicated to success is not for the faint of heart.
Two months into my journey, and I’m not getting rich (yet!). But, Ravenmarked is selling, and it is getting good reviews. So far, no one has said I can’t write and I need an editor. If I were querying, I’d not have sold a single book yet. And my novella? There are very few markets even willing to look at stories of that length anymore. Self-publishing is helping stories of unusual lengths find homes they might not have found otherwise.
Is being an indie author for everyone? Nope. I have a lot of friends who would rather pursue traditional routes to publication, and I’m fine with that. It’s a very personal decision, because going indie is not an easy road. For me, it was a natural fit. I have creative control, I get better royalties, and I feel like I’m driving my own destiny.
Amy Rose Davis is an independent epic fantasy author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Bryce, and their four children. Bryce provides comic relief, editing, and inspiration, and regularly talks her off the various ledges she climbs onto.
Amy is an unapologetic coffee addict, but her other vices include chocolate, margaritas, and whiskey. She prefers cats to dogs (but houses both), loves the color green, and enjoys the smell of new pencils and crayons. She has eclectic tastes in friends, music, and books, and is as likely to watch 300 as Becoming Jane.
Amy’s books are available in all major e-bookstores.