Writers–We’re Just Like Rabbits

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With the advent of self-publishing, we’ve become a dime a dozen…or free a dozen:) It’s become a mixed bag. Anyone who has any aspirations at all of writing, no matter the level of competence, can get published. This ability has created a market that’s flooded. Some of my books have moved from the hundred thousands into the millions. But even though it means–for some of us–being one small fish swimming with a gazillion other small fish, the bottom line is that anyone can now realize their dreams and if it makes sales harder to come by so be it. Getting published is a gift. Back in the day when there were only trad houses, many of us got reeled in, looked at, then tossed back. The acceptance level was limited and extremely difficult to achieve. Then came small press and the publishing doors were thrown open. And today anyone can create a quality product in e and paper. So while self-publishing has made life more challenging, to my way of thinking the positives far outweigh the negatives. What’s your take?

Sandra Cox

 

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18 thoughts on “Writers–We’re Just Like Rabbits

  1. As others before me have said, I enjoy the freedom I have as an Indie, but there are times I ponder moving into ‘hybrid’ territory. These days, there’s no reason why authors can’t go that route.
    I too, have read a lot of free and cheap crap, and it’s true that you only get one chance to make a first impression. I’m very proud of my short story ‘If It’s Easy’. I know how much sweat and effort I put into it, and I approached the polishing and editing with a reader’s eye. One that is tired of reading crap. So I put my best effort into it, and I’m being rewarded by more sales than I expected.
    No matter how uncertain this ride is, I’m loving it!

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  2. What a great little post, Sandra! And some wonderful discussion. For me, I like the indie route because of the flexibility it gives me; however, I’m useless at marketing, so that’s definitely a downside to having to do it all. I believe that as long as an author gets their book professionally edited and proofed, then there isn’t so much difference in quality between trad and indie. I’ve read some truly awful trad books and wonder how they ever got published in the first place, and then I’ve read some absolute gems of books that are indie published. Of course, the reverse is also true! I’m always open to the trad route, but would need a good deal to sweeten the loss of so much control, lols. 🙂

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  3. My take is simple. I was 69 years old before I wrote (and self-published) my first book. I’m 72 now, and on Book 6. That would NEVER have happened pursuing the traditional route.

    I don’t have decades in which to tell my stories, so I can’t wait months or even years to be accepted by a traditional publisher. I knew going in it would self-publishing all the way, and I don’t regret it. Maybe I’ll never sell as many books this way, who knows? But the point is, I AM selling, rather than checking the mailbox every day waiting for that acceptance letter. And I love it. So glad I took the reins myself. I also like being in total creative control. For instance, I am very, very picky about what I want on my covers. For better or worse, I want the way my books look to be my decision.

    Mae Clair, I can’t agree with you enough about editing, and doing your best to provide a quality product. You only get one shot to hook that reader. Yes, there’s a lot of junk out there, but in recent years. trad publishers have been cutting back more and more on the services they offer, and I’ve been noticing errors in books by best selling authors. Quite a few of them, actually.

    I have a theory that time will eventually weed out the self-published writers not willing to make the extra effort, and that the quality of self-published books, which has already improved, will continue to do so until there will be very little difference between them and trad pubs. Truthfully, not all traditionally published books are great ones, anyway. Even some big name writers have flops. I’ve also noticed a few writers who had been doing well traditionally, begin switching over to self-publishing their newer books, in order to have more freedom to pursue the stories they really want to write, and not those the publisher wants to produce.

    And Coldhand . . . I could be wrong, but I suspect overnight success is highly overrated. 🙂

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  4. Great post. After i sent out my submissions and collected my rejection letters, I had to make a decision. Had I gained any success at submission, I might still be there. After self publishing, I don’t see myself waiting years to get a product to market. It’s easier to keep the train moving than it is to start it again. I increase my footprint with every release, but would still like something a bit larger. It is a mountain of work, but that’s no surprise. Everything of value in my life has required hard work.

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  5. Ooo, I like this post, and it opens so many doors for discussion, I’m a hybrid author (and I know you are too, Sandra), which means I have some indie releases out there and some that have been traditionally published. I so love the freedom of indie releases….the ability to tell my story the way I want it told, the ability to cross genres that might not normally be crossed and, of course, not having to share the royalties that come in. But I also love the visibility my traditionally pubbed releases have received. I have no expenses as far as editing (of which I receive multiple rounds of content and copy), cover art, and a lot of promotion. My publisher provides a budget for my releases, a professional publicist, a marketing plan and promotional artwork. Even sharing royalties, those releases have paid more for me than the others.

    I’ve read so many indie releases that are better than Big 5 books and love that those authors are getting voices and reaching readers. But I’ve also seen the flip side too. Authors who are releasing books without any editing. In the past year I have seen a glut of books that have been “re-released” because of poor editing and/or inferior writing. Honestly, if I’ve read your book and you “make it better” and then re-release it, I won’t read it a second time. My TBR is too full. You’ve got one chance to make a good impression on me with a quality book and polished editing. My advice to authors is to pay for a professional editor and a professional cover. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

    So…indie or traditional, I am happy to read either and I think there’s room for both in the market. If, however, you’re going to go indie, make sure you’re releasing a quality product. After you spend 6-8 months pouring your heart, soul, sweat and hard work into a novel, doesn’t it make sense to give it the best launch?

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  6. Self publishing has its pros and cons. For authors, self publishing means all the control. It also means all the responsibility: writing, editing, cover design, layout, legalities, publication, and marketing. Doesn’t matter if authors do it all themselves or contract some (or all) of the tasks; they are in control and responsible.

    For readers, they can get good deals because a self published author has fewer expenses and can decide to keep prices lower. On the other hand, they could end up with a lower quality product. (Historically, that was the norm, but now many self published works are as good as or better than some traditionally published works.)

    Both authors and readers have to decide which way they want to go, but both options provide opportunity. Something to think about. Great post, Sandra.

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