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  1. Terry Odell's Avatar
    Just Finished Reading: Suspect, by Robert Craise
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    Default Pros and Cons of Indie Publishing Post #2

    I hope you have a better understanding of what Indie Publishing is and isn't. Today, I'll look at some of the Pros and Cons.

    1. You're your own boss
    2. You control content
    3. You control covers
    4. You control release, promotion and marketing
    5. You can track sales.

    1. You're your own boss
    2. You control content
    3. You control covers
    4. You control release, promotion and marketing
    5. You can track sales.

    I know what you're saying … but those are the SAME. She must have copied and pasted the wrong information.

    Not really—let's look at both sides of everything.

    1. You're your own boss
    . No deadlines, no rigid schedules, no stress. But the flip side is that unless you are disciplined and understand that writing is your job, it becomes easy to procrastinate. If something unexpected arises, you can say, "Oh, I'll write extra tomorrow." Without that looming deadline, it's easy to slack off the writing. And, as I'll be talking about in future posts, it's about the writing. You can't publish what you don't have.

    2. You control content
    . If you're traditionally published (or were trying to be), you might have been told, "we can't sell that kind of a book." I know I got that with my mystery, Deadly Secrets. Publishers said, "It's sort of a police procedural and sort of a cozy. Make up your mind, rewrite it, and resubmit." Publishers like labels. Or, if everyone wants a vampire or another 50 Shades of Gray rewrite, your book might be rejected. Conversely, if your book isn't marketable, you're stuck.

    While publishers might have narrow content parameters, they do know the market. Then there's the editorial content. Editors (or even agents) might tell you to make changes that you feel ruin the story you're trying to tell. If you're indie, you don't have to listen, because it's not a deal breaker. However, if they were right, there's nobody to blame but yourself.

    3. You control covers
    . If you're with a traditional publisher, they'll ask you (if you're lucky) for some input on your cover. Then it goes to their art department, and they give you the result. For the most part, if your name is spelled right, you're stuck with the cover. If you're indie, you get to make all the decisions. However, that can be a con as well, because you have to make all the decisions. If you're not a graphic designer, or good with Photoshop, you either learn new skills or hire out. Depending on who you find, this can be a good or bad thing. Also, e-book covers are a totally different game from print covers, so there's more to learn.

    4. You control release, promotion, and marketing.
    One of the big perks to indie publishing is that you set the release date. Traditional publishers might release a specific number of books a month and they might not have an opening for over a year. If you've written a book about the 100th anniversary of Jell-O, and it's right now, then a year from now, it's old news. As far as marketing and promotion—publishers have the contacts and they can get your books distributed more widely. They're likely to send copies out for review, and the books are much more likely to get picked up for professional reviews than if you tried it on your own.

    But unless you're the bread-and-butter author of your publisher, you're pretty much on your own for making yourself visible. They're not going to send you across the country on a book tour, nor arrange book signings for you. They expect you to market your own book, have a presence in social media, and do all the things you're going to have to do as an indie publisher anyway.

    5. You can track sales.
    If you write for a traditional publisher, you were probably paid an advance. Until you've sold enough books to cover that advance, you won't see a penny in royalties. (At least you don't have to give the money back if you don't.) After that, you'll be paid – usually twice a year—so there's no real way to tell which, if any, promotional efforts actually bear fruit. If you're indie, you'll get paid more often, although some e-publishers might pay monthly. Some pay quarterly, as do some indie publishers. The big indie stores pay once a month, although there's a 60 day lag, so you don't see sales immediately, and there's a minimum before they'll pay you. You'll see payments for your January sales in March. But you will know exactly how much money you'll be getting two months down the road, which can help a lot when you're dealing with taxes. (And if you go indie and make money, yes, you have to deal with self-employment taxes, etc.)

    With most of the indie-sites, such as Amazon, Smashwords, or Barnes & Noble, even though payments are delayed, you can see virtually real-time sales. If someone buys one of my books from the Amazon store, I'll know within minutes. Same goes for Smashwords. Barnes & Noble's indie publishing stats take a few hours to show up. Of course, this has its ups and downs. It's nice to get feedback that a promotional effort of some sort is driving sales. If something isn't working, at least you can adjust your plan of attack much sooner. But it can become an obsession, and you can spend far too much time checking your numbers when you should be writing.

    I'll post again either Friday or Monday. I've had a total PC crash, and this morning my laptop had startup issues. Technology and I have issues from time to time. Meanwhile, ask questions or share your own experiences, and I'll do my best to get to them promptly.
    Last edited by Karenne; February 8th, 2013 at 10:59 PM.

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