Are You Ready For Indie Publishing? Part I

11 Oct

Most likely, if you’re a writer, or know one, you’ve heard of indie publishing. “Indie” has become the new term for self-publishing, a shortened version of independent publishing.

I remember listening to authors, early into the indie craze, who had published books that had the rights turned back to them from publisher to author. Their comments filled one of my writers group’s email loop with tales of acquiring their covers (some did them themselves), to getting their books out there at a low price. Indie is a game changer when book prices can be at the 99 cent level. It didn’t take these writers long to say they were on the top 10, 25 or 100 lists.

I noticed something different in the October 2012 Romance Writers Report (RWR). In the SOLD! section of the magazine, four out of ten new members were listed as self-published. According to the article, that means that they made enough money to qualify for Published Authors Network (PAN) status.

Am I ready for indie publishing? Well, I didn’t, and still don’t have any back lists to work from. My books are still available, so I figured that if I went indie it’d be sometime in the distant future. Yet, this summer I hit a slump in my writing, mostly because I’d lost my father and it seemed to affect the creative part of my brain. At that time, I took a second look at being an indie writer, for at least one book.

At a book signing, I noticed an author had not only put her back list into indie e-books, but her new writing, too. All, except for a three book series she had out in paperback. I started thinking about a manuscript I’d nearly forgotten about, one that I think I could now (after many years of writing) figure out how to fix it.

As I’m going through my editing process, I’m also reading articles on indie publishing. I’m learning that publishers are starting to jump in on the action, as it seems the way of the future to some degree. Just the other day, I read that Wild Rose Publishing has created a subsidiary to address the needs of those who wish to try self-publishing. They have a price list, with or without a cover, and e-book and print choices. My publisher said that she is considering doing something similar one day, perhaps separate from her RWA approved publishing house.

I’m hearing lately that there are many indie books out there that shouldn’t be. They are not ready to publish, some say. Yet, it sounds like an excellent deal for established authors whose work has already been edited and ready to go with few updates. Further, most publishing houses nowadays don’t even offer much in the way of marketing, wanting the author to do all or more than their fair share. So, if the author is already doing the marketing there’s not much to lose and a few dollars to gain without the middleman.

What about a new writer, you say? Well, us old timers learned to write better by getting rejection letters, and then reworking the book, time and time again. We learned that sometimes we have to set that work down and start something else. Then come back later and see it with fresh eyes.

One very important thing stands out to me and that is to make sure your book is ready. Many times it’s hard for a beginning writer to know just when that manuscript is good enough to go. I know that after finishing my first manuscript, I was so in love with it that I didn’t want to change it. All these years later, I’ll change just about anything and not even flinch. I’ve learned that if you want to be published, you’ll have to make changes.

The way to find out if your manuscript is ready is by utilizing critique partners. When I first started out, I needed a handful of critique pals. You can find your critique partners within a writers group, or an online writers group. Yes, you can forego a writers group and spend money to pay an editor to help you get ready for publication, but you don’t have to do that if you can find someone with the same goals as your own.

Are you ready to go indie?


Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Idaho


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19 responses to “Are You Ready For Indie Publishing? Part I

  1. Janis McCurry

    October 11, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    Great points, Mary. I think if I went indie, I’d hire a professional editor. I don’t want my name on something that could be improved with a little judicious editing. Am I ready to do that now, no, no, no.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I know, Janis, it’s a scary thought when your name is involved.

  2. Lynn Mapp

    October 11, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Mary, I’m sending you a big thank you. I may need to talk with you about your experience.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Thanks Lynn, any time.

  3. Corina Mallory

    October 11, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Great post Mary, and my answer is: No, no, a thousand times no. As you said, I think indie publishing can be a great fit for an established writer. I need many many rejections, hopefully a few acceptances, and experience with an editor (even a bad one would be a great learning experience) before I consider indie. If I didn’t write within an established genre, if I were writing things that were so very different from what was currently being published, I would be more open to indie as a first option.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Thanks, Corina. The changes in the business are coming so suddenly. It’s a different world now, so never say never. 🙂

  4. Meredith Conner

    October 11, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    I think self-publishing opens new doors for a lot of writers, both previously published and unpublished. Yes, there are definitely some books that should not be published, but there are also a lot of books that are rejected because they are a mix of genres or for some reason don’t fit into the categories that the publishers are looking for. Publishing is a whole different animal these days. I think it is great that the option is out there.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Well said, Meredith. THanks for commenting.

  5. Judith Keim

    October 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    I personally am not ready to self-publish though I know it has brought a sense of success and happiness to many for doing so. E-books are here to stay and I have no problem with that. It’s great that you can upload a book and begin reading whenever you want, wherever you are. I don’t have a back list and I think for established writers, it’s fantastic to be able to self-pub, knowing they already have a built-in audience. I’m still sitting back, watching the outcome and sending in stuff to NY publishers, hoping to snag the right editor at the right time for the right material for the right list for the right… well, you get my point.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Thanks, Judith. I don’t think I would consider indie if I didn’t have something – this one manuscript. Unless I make more money this way, I’d rather have a publisher for the rest of my work.

  6. Peggy Staggs

    October 11, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    My goal is to have a publisher say I’m good enough to be published. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      I know what you mean, Peggy. Those who only go indie will never know the joy of the “call” and probably wonder if they’re a good enough writer.

  7. Stephanie Berget

    October 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I’ve thought about and researched indie publishing, but I’m no where near ready to try it yet. Maybe someday.

    • maryvine

      October 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Thanks, Steph. Who knows what the next best thing will be down the road, since everything has changed so much and is still changing.

  8. marsharwest

    October 11, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Interesting post, Mary. Sometime after I started writing about (about 5 1/2 years ago now), one of my sons-in-law sent me info about some guy who self-pubbed and then went on to make a mint with his book and ultimately found hmself in with one of the big publishers. I was 1) tickeled that he took the time to send me the info and 2) appalled at the idea. That was just so not okay. Self-pubbing meant you weren’t good enough for the big boys.

    Well, as you say times they have changed–not just are-a-changing. While I don’t search for agents anymore–I write romantic suspense with older heroes and heroines–I don’t fit the nitches, I’m very interested in the e-publishers. Someone told me there are 55,000 of them out there–many who make print books as well. I’m now focused on them. Ultimately, if they-re a no go then I’ll look at Indie pubbling. For the right authors and books, the money is certainly there.

    The key to success in any venue is that the book is good enough. Yes, we’ve all read the regularly pubbed books and thought, “What? How did this make it?” And we’ve read some amazing books that were e-pubbed or indie pubbed. Our goal should be to have written a great book and to have edited the heck out of it. I can’t recommend Margie Lawson’s packets and classes enough. I was fortunate to have attended one of her Immersiona classes the first part of September. My goodness what a difference she made in my writing/editing!

    I’m haven’t sold, but I’m a heck of a lot closer now than I was before this summer when I spent the whole time cuddled up to her packets. I’m not ruling out Indie, but I’m not ready to go that way. Besides the issues involved from the technical side which makes me nuts, I want that validation from somone else saying, “Hey, we’d like to publishe your book.”

    Lengthy. Sorry. Haven’t posted much lately,was working on submissions. More control next time. LOL

  9. maryvine

    October 11, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Marsha, keep making comments, I like reading them! I’m glad you found help from Lawson. I know she has some good information out there. I look forward to your first book release!

    • marsharwest

      October 11, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      Thanks, Mary. You can tell, I love y’all’s blog. 🙂

  10. maryvine

    October 11, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Aawww. Thanks, Marsha!

  11. Clarissa Southwick

    October 12, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Great post, Mary. You’ve really summed up both sides of the indie puzzle. Best of luck to everyone who’s doing it. I’m just not ready.


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