Indie Versus Traditional: The Author’s Dilemma

Greetings, SE’ers! Beem Weeks here with you again. Today, I am going to share my thoughts on indie publishing versus traditional.

Ready to get published

What would make a writer forego the traditional road to publication? Why would an author entrust his/her hard-fought creation to the Great Unknown that is the indie publishing industry? The answer, if we’re honest with ourselves, is because indie is the only ones who will have most of us at this point.

The above statement is in no way a reflection on the quality of the works being created by indie authors across the globe. I’ve read many self-published writers that seriously rival traditionally published authors.

The problem is with the middlemen. I’m talking about the agents and publishers who anoint themselves the all-knowing gods of the written word. Agents turn down most manuscripts that cross their desks. They cite this reason or that, making claims that nobody is interested in your sort of story. Maybe if you switch the characters, make them vampires or zombies, just maybe there might be interest.

An agent is a catch-basin for the big publishing houses. The agent will stop any and all garbage from slipping through the cracks. So, the agent is the one who holds all the power within the publishing machinery. An author can create a true masterpiece that will never find its audience simply because some agent in a stuffy office has deemed the work unworthy of being sent to a publisher.

Publishing contract

Publishers are worse than agents; they won’t even accept your manuscript without agent representation. Why? Well, because these publishers know exactly what readers everywhere want to read (or so they believe). Besides that, they don’t want to be bogged down by piles of pages from hopeful authors looking to be the next big thing, the latest shining discovery of the literary establishment.

But in the words of Bob Dylan: Oh, the times, they are a-changin’. Writers are no longer beholden to the whims of a fickle publishing industry. The need to court the trend-setters and decision-makers no longer applies to us writers. There are numerous outlets available, each allowing us a reach into the worldwide marketplace. Sure, it may lack the prestige of signing a contract or being able to tell anybody who’ll listen that you’ve got an agent. But keep this in mind: You own your work. You reap the lion’s share of the royalties—which is fantastic if you’re fortunate enough to sell a few thousand copies. Most importantly, you are a published author with a product that’s available to the world, right alongside Stephen King and James Patterson.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a catch-basin in the indie world, which means garbage seeps through, tainting the market with its toxic odor. A reader must wade through piles of poorly written tripe in order to discover the gems that most assuredly lie just beneath the surface.

So, here’s the question each writer must answer for him- or herself: Are you writing for prestige or are you writing to be read? If the prestige of an agent and a major publisher drives you, then, by all means, hold out for that prize. It might take a while, sure, but there’s also the possibility it may never happen. However, if being read by those who appreciate a good story is your true motivation, then self-publishing in the indie world just might be right for you.

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93 thoughts on “Indie Versus Traditional: The Author’s Dilemma

    • True, if any of the big five publishers offered a contract, I wouldn’t self-publish. I’m more likely to be offered- and have accepted- a contract from a small publisher. My hope is they don’t go bust before they publish my book. I’m not going to get a contract from a big publisher I don’t see that as some kind of freedom. The bottom line is always about money. The amount I’ll make from getting published by a small publisher- virtually nought- and the amount of cash I’d make publishing a book myself would be virtually the same. The easy part is writing a book. The hard part is selling. Big publisher do that for you. Small publishers don’t. And in self-publishing everyone is shouting and nobody is writing.or reading.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by, Rod. What exactly do you think a big publisher would offer you in today’s publishing climate? Do you believe one of the big houses will discover you, drop a bundle of cash on you, then promote your work to the world in ways that will turn you into a household name? I’m just curious about your take on the matter.

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  1. Hi Beem, this is a much debated topic. I am published with a small publisher but that still falls under Indie the way I understand publishing. I have never tried to submit any of my work to a traditional publisher. I think I just can’t be bothered if I am brutally honest about it. I don’t want all the effort and rejection involved with querying and I’m perfectly happy to continue to write as a hobby. At one time, a few years back, I wanted to be a full time writer but I have set that aside now and am happy doing it part time and having my well paid day job. I don’t think I would want to write full time, I need the excitement and interaction I get from my day job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion, Robbie. I publish with a small publisher as well. We’re definitely indie. I would love the idea of writing full time. But I do enjoy my day job, which is editing manuscripts for other authors, producing video book trailers, and producing audiobooks. As long as I enjoy that, I’m happy to write part time.

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  2. You hit the mark with this, Beem! I went indie because I wanted my stories read. Like you, I’ve read some indie books that are even better than traditionally published stories. I don’t regret my choice at all! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, thanks. After my first and only agent died, and a slush pile submission to one of the Five led to what seemed for a while to be keen interest,* someone else asked to look at my work – and became my mentor – asking your question, then said, ‘ Publishing has changed., Do it now. You’ve no time to lose’
    was in her late eighties, – codebreaker, WWII, Naval intelligence, there in the earliest days of IT. No longer with us, but still my inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Beem. I have many author friends who left trad for freedom to publish on their own. I write for readers, and what I enjoy writing and have zero aspirations to strive for trad. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, Beem. I went the traditional route initially and didn’t like it. I didn’t like that everything .took forever, that I had little control over pricing and promotion and covers, and that I still needed to do tons of marketing. What was I paying them for? I’m so much happier being an indie author. I’m read, and that makes me happy. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I write for pleasure and for people to read my writing. Getting a traditional publisher is difficult and takes a lot of work. as was pointed out above, you need to sell, sell, sell to have a publisher keep you. I would rather work for myself than have to try and please someone else. It would be wonderful to be a famous author, but in reality, self publishing works well for what I wish to accomplish.

    Definitely something to think about.

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  7. I won’t lie, getting published by one of the big five- or is it four now?- publishers would be a dream come true (for me!), but most readers could care less. All they’re looking for is an engaging story, hopefully with minimal editing issues.
    Indie gives writers the freedom to retain their story concepts, character characteristics, covers, titles… the list goes on. To me, it makes the most sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand where you’re coming from, Jacquie. Being published by a big money outfit would be incredible–so long as they’re putting some of that money into major promotions and, perhaps, a tidy advance. I’m certainly not against the dreams of others. Indie just works for me at this point. Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I enjoy writing, and I am writing with the hopes of finding a group of readers who like what I’ve written. After retiring, I decided I didn’t want writing to be any more like a business than it has to be (indie publishing still brings serious requirements). I wrote a 3-book series. Book-1 is out and Books-2 & 3 will follow quickly. Then I will go back to writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Those, and the comments from others have been very helpful.

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    • I’m glad you found the post and the comments helpful, Dan. Writing is indeed a business. However, as indie authors, we have the luxury of focusing on the writing. We’re not under deadlines. We don’t have others barking at our doors, demanding we produce. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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  9. This is one of the most discussed topics in the writing community. One of the most interesting aspects about writers is the numerous paths authors have taken to get to where they are today. As someone who didn’t get serious about writing until I retired, I’m looking at this question now. My mind is primarily focused on improving my craft rather than the end product. It’s easy to want to get to the finish line fast, but I know I’ve got a ton to learn still and have the self-discipline required to do that.

    I read a recent startling statistic stating that only1 in 4,000 people who try to get traditionally published accomplish that goal. As a left-brained analytical type, who likes to approach most things rationally, I found that somewhat jarring.

    Incidentally, I am reading Jazz Baby right now and am impressed with the quality of your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for joining the conversation, Pete. I like your approach. Taking the time to learn the craft is important. I am grateful to hear you’re reading Jazz Baby. That novel was eight years in the making–because I wanted to take time to learn the craft. Because of that, I’ve learned to pace myself. Quality over quantity, as many like to say. I appreciate your input here.

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  10. I write to be read. Prestige. I’ll take some of that too. Thanks. They’re not on different tracks, running away from each other. I’ve crowdfunded (nightmare). And I’ve got a small publishing press to take a chance on my work (we’re all selling ourselves as part of the deal). Self-publishing, like publishing isn’t so much about the product (my book, or your book) it’s about getting noticed, leverage. Everybody is shouting and nobody is listening. Often, including me. Both sides have their own mythology. I’m a reader and I gravitate towards books that have been edited and are concise. Eastend Butcher Boy by Joe Lawrence, for example, was the best self-published book I’d read (and I read a lot). But he also brought out two books of short stories and a novella. They weren’t as good. But, hey, we all do that. He’d rushed them. They weren’t edited very well, proper nouns, for example, were haphazardly capitalised. He epitomises the good and bad. A million books a year published. Nobody reads much now. Those that do tend to be women. We’re wading against the tide and face drowning and getting swallowed by other’s work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Valid points made, Jack. Prestige is a fine endeavor–so long as it isn’t the main drive. If a writer wishes to hold onto that dream, more power to them. Me? I seek to be read now. If that prestige should ever find me interesting enough to extend an invitation into its inner sanctum, I’ll gladly accept. We are indeed wading against the tide. Those who can swim, will.

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  11. Ilona Andrews wrote a good blog about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Her advice: if you’re aiming for name recognition, go with a traditional publisher. I had a traditional publisher–Kensington–and they published a dozen of my books. But then they started cutting any writer who didn’t sell more and more books, and I…and a lot of other writers….got cut. And then I decided to self-publish. I just didn’t want to go through the awful process of trying to find another publisher. People forget that publishers might take you, but if you don’t make more and more money, they drop you. Besides, my friend has always self-published, and she’s always made more money than I do. Her trick is to spend the money on advertising. Plus, she’s a great writer. Anyway, I have a wonderful agent and I’m still happy right now, self-publishing. But it is a lot more work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Judi. You’re one who has seen this discussion from both sides of the filed. There truly is a lot more work in the indie field. But hopefully we’ll find a nice payoff one day. If not, I’m still enjoying the art of creating characters and worlds.

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  12. Fantastic points made here, Alicia. I am a big believer in authors owning their own work. I can understand the prestige that comes with a publishing deal and an agent. But that isn’t even necessary in today’s world. As for validation, I will seek it through my readers and their thoughts on the work itself. Yours is quite an interesting take on the subject. Thank you for sharing your own experiences here. Perhaps it will guide other authors in making their own decisions. And I totally agree with your take on vanity publishers. I know many writers who have lost ownership of their hard work to that industry. I’ve seen good writers quit because of this. It’s truly a shame.

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  13. I do write to be read. I would love to score a $50,000 advance and have a big five marketing team behind me. But, as you pointed out, that will not happen no matter how many queries I send out. My first book was traditionally published, and it was a frustrating relationship. When the contract was up, I took a hike. I have never been sorry about that decision. Excellent post, and I am proud to be an Indy author.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fantastic post, Beem! You’ve definitely made some great points. Even though I’ve only recently begun publishing my work, I’ve never thought much about traditional publishing. The Indie community has always felt right for me, and, at the end of the day, I only want to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post, Beem. I started out many years ago trying to get my children’s book published traditionally. It was a time consuming process with lots of nice and encouraging rejections along the way. After taking a break I decided to give indie a try. I have learned so much and can do everything but edit. I like the control and being on my own time frame but I haven’t completely ruled out traditional publishing either. I can see benefits on both sides. Right now its the editing costs that is my only downside to indie. As a reader, I have been mainly only reading indie authors and found the creativity and stories to my liking. If I run across a bad one, I just move on. I recently tried to read a favorite best selling author from past and had to stop reading. It read like a first draft. For now I’m staying indie in both writing and reading. Of course it could all change too. My hope is the good indie authors get the reads and respect they deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful points you’ve made, Denise. I remember my father sending his short stories to publishers and magazines back in the 1970s and 80s. All he ever received was rejection. He eventually gave up. He passed away ten years ago, just after I published Jazz Baby. I wanted so much to get his short stories published into a collection for him. But those stories are now lost. Rejection has a way of killing creativity. This is why indie publishing is such a blessing. I’m like you. There is a favorite traditionally published author I read faithfully. But her work is hit or miss. One book is incredible, the next is just bad or boring. I’ve read some truly awful indie books, but have discovered many gems from the community as well. I am glad you gave indie a shot. Your work deserves to be read around the world. Thank you for sharing your own take on the subject.

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  16. Both routes have plusses and minuses. Keeping the lion’s share of the royalties means absorbing the lion’s share of the costs (editing, formatting, cover design, proofreading, etc.). I didn’t choose the traditional route for prestige. I chose the path that worked best for me. Do I get frustrated at times? Absolutely. But I’m happy and my books are being read. Years ago, I self-published a few collections. So, I guess that makes me a hybrid. My biggest hurdle with self-publishing is time. For me, it’s easier to submit a manuscript and synopsis than deal with everything that comes afterward. Last fall my contract ended for two novellas, the rights reverted to me, and I STILL haven’t republished them. facepalm

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    • You are correct, Sue. There are pros and cons to both paths. It’s the individual’s choice to make. Whatever works best for the writer. Now, go get those novellas republished! Thanks for sharing your take.

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  17. I’ve never even contemplated going the trad pub route. I’m indie all the way. I write to be read. I write because it’s like breathing to me. And I would have to market anyway. It’s been a steep learning curve since I published my first book, but a learning curve I’ve enjoyed and continue to enjoy (except for marketing, lols! 😂). Right from the off, I wanted control over title, cover, price, release timing, promotion timing, and my hard-earned royalties, etc. Okay, so I can’t live on what I make, and some months are flatline as far as sales go, and that’s fine by me. My weak point has always been, and always will be, marketing. I’ve accepted that, and I’m happy to simply focus on writing and publishing.

    These last couple of years I’ve read some absolutely appalling trad pub books that have me questioning what the heck is going on. During this same period I’ve read some stunning indie books. It seems unfair that the indies still get the bad rep. I seem to be seeing a pattern of some big-name trad-pub writers putting rubbish out and the publishers not bothering overly much with editing. They know the name alone will sell the book. So many of these now have lost their place on my auto-buy list because of this. One or two were so bad they’ve made it to my never-buy-again list!

    Great post, Beem, with good questions and points. Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Like you, I’ve been keen on being an indie author from the start, Harmony. By the time I felt ready to publish, the indie community had begun to take off. I prefer total control over my work. It’s only natural. I’ve read books from traditionally published authors I’ve long admired, only to ease away from them in recent years because of the very issues you’ve mentioned. I think as indie authors, our stakes are higher than the well-known writers. We cannot afford to let garbage slip through. I think we still hold tight to pride in what we do. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

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  18. I’m with Alicia on the vanity publishers! You raise excellent points, Beem. For me, the time taken to get anywhere with a traditional publisher even once you’ve been initially accepted by one, is a deterrent. It’s like ‘unfinished business’ and I think I’d find it hard to settle afterwards. Also, I’m appalling at marketing and promotion but if the publishers don’t even do that for you, there’s not a lot to recommend them to me. I have read some truly awful Indie stuff but, ar you point out, there’s superb writing out there, too – in my opinion there’s plenty that are better than some I’ve read from the big publishers.

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  19. I’ve gone the agent route (though I never got a publishing contract through her). I’ve gone the small press route (and got no help with marketing). I’m now an indie author. Like you said, it boils down to royalties and control. If I’m doing most or all of the work, why should I let someone else make crucial decisions, slow my release schedule, and take part of my earnings? I just wish the stigma of self-publishing would go away. But that’s out of my control, so I try not to dwell on it. Great post, Beem.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I believe that stigma is slowly fading, Staci. It may take longer for it to completely disappear, but it’s going. Marketing seems to be the biggest hurdle. Perhaps we’re all sort of the landing party, learning for the next generation of writers what is needed to succeed. Thanks for the comment.

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  20. This is such a great and ongoing question, Beem. You raise some valid points. As an author who is now both indie and traditionally published, I can see two sides of the coin. Do I prefer indie? YES! As you pointed out, as an indie author, you keep control of your work and get the royalties without having to share. The downside and the issue that drove me to seek a publisher is the expense of putting out a polished book. To be bluntly honest, I was broke. I invested around $2,000 in each of my four true story novels plus the poetry book. That included editing, formatting, book covers, and book trailers. Yep. I paid for all of that from my meager savings. I have since then learned SO much and know I could have cut some of that expense if I’d had more knowledge, but I was the proverbial newbie. I love the partnership with a publisher just because I don’t have to turn loose of my money to get the book out on the market. But I get very little in royalties. The publisher takes theirs off the top, and I get what’s left. And, as Alicia pointed out, the publisher does NO marketing. I have to do it all. The short stories I’ve self-published didn’t cost me anything other than for editing because I created the covers and only released them as eBooks. Editing is a step no one should skip. It is the most crucial part of self-pubbing. So, I think the bottom line is that each author has to do what they feel is best for them. Thanks for raising the question!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You bring an interesting view of both worlds, Jan. Marketing truly is the biggest hurdle. Learning to do for ourselves as writers is always a plus. When we know how to create covers, format, and make trailers, we are miles ahead in the business. Thanks for sharing your own experiences.

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  21. I’m happy being with an indie publisher. I dove into the query trenches early on, but I don’t write fast enough to keep an agent satisfied. I’ve read wonderful books by indie authors, but what you said about the garbage seeping through is right. I was at an author event a few years ago and the writers at the table across from me said they self-published a new book every two weeks. That’s insane unless your goal is quantity and not quality. Great post, Beem!

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  22. Excellent post, Beem. Your questions and your conclusions are right-on. Writers, talented or not, have a story to tell and therein lies the impetus. To unravel the story, to find a way to tell it effectively, and to set it free is the personal reward. Some of the greats never lived long enough to see the impact of their writing. They didn’t know that their book/s would appear in high school English classes. They wrote because they had a story to tell. Can there be a better reason?

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    • I am in total agreement, Gwen. Write because you have a story to tell. It may well find life beyond our own time here in this realm. Thank you for adding your wisdom to the mix.

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  23. To say the timing of your post is perfect would be an understatement, Beem. I’m in a rush this morning, so I’ll be back later to read all of the comments. My publication background is unusual in that I entered a writing contest with Harlequin on a last minute whim. I won and was offered a contract. I wrote and published two additional books before landing an agent that I didn’t query. I had never even planned on hiring an agent. It’s been a whirlwind since 2017 with 6 published books, but now I find myself at a standstill. Due to the pandemic, supply issues, staffing shortages, etc. my 3 book proposal has been in NY for 6 months! Needless to say, I’m currently enrolled in a self-publishing course…sigh.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Wow. You have an incredible story, Jill. It’s certainly out of the norm among the writing community here. Self-publishing may be a bigger benefit to you than you realize. If you’ve built up an audience behind the Harlequin works, they’ll follow you in your new endeavors. I am wishing you great success. Thank you for sharing your story here.

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  24. Pingback: Indie Versus Traditional: The Author’s Dilemma | Jeanne Owens, author

    • I never thought of being an author, Craig. In the writing arena, I had notions of being a music journalist. Then came an idea for a novel. The fact that we can self-publish or publish with the help of a smaller publisher, helped push me in that direction. It’s certainly been a learning journey, but I’m glad I’m on it. Thanks for your comments.

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  25. The technology today makes self-publishing so much easier than a few years ago. The artificial-intelligence powered spelling and grammar checkers can get you about 90% ready and make a professional edit faster and lower in cost.

    Vendors (e.g., Draft2Digital) can turn an ordinary MS Word docx file into excellent digital and print output, including sending your published book to multiple retailers worldwide for FREE!

    And covers? There’s a plethora of freelancers who can knock out an outstanding jacket for an affordable price. Fancy yourself as an artistic creator? You have many choices (e.g., Canva Pro), and you can even create your promotion book trailer using the same online vendor.

    So what’s not to love about self-publishing? You still have to write a book readers will love, and that takes writing chops. The discovery process, while often long and sometimes mysterious, is also fun — go for it!

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Pingback: Indie Versus Traditional: The Author’s Dilemma | Legends of Windemere

    • Darlene, I’m going to refer to my sister here. She has always been traditionally published, but recently she was invited to join in on a self-pubbed project, and she accepted. It has been a huge learning curve for her, but she doesn’t regret it and will also be self-publishing a Christmas story this year. So, I think it’s perfectly fine to do both. I’ll be interested in Beem’s answer as well.

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    • That depends, Darlene. Is the publisher giving benefits that go beyond self-pubbing? If they aren’t offering anything that makes a noticeable difference, why share your work (profits, ownership) with them? However, if they’re offering strong marketing or some other benefit that isn’t likely through self-publishing, then by all means, ride that train while you can.

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      • Thanks, Beem. I have a great relationship with my current publisher but she is a small independent publisher who is showing a lack of interest in my books lately. I do most of my own marketing. I will see how things go and may venture into self-publishing. I just find it a bit scary.

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  27. Hi,
    I’ve read many great books by indie authors, and many by trad.pub.authors, and I decided to be a hybrid author, doing both sides. I am just beginning to market my first three books, which are self-published short stories. Self-pub is hard work and time-consuming, but I have learned so much from this market that I will continue to go both ways.
    Your article is straight to the point, and I like that.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Pat. There certainly is a lot to learn as a self-pubber. The marketing alone eats up so much time. But, as you’ve pointed out, there’s knowledge to be gained from the market.

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  28. Thanks for putting the light on this very interesting and also important topic.As i had read a lot about failed contracts and how difficult it can be for authors getting their rights back from publishing houses. Sometimes i am tending more advice to indie publishing. Honestly, every side has it’s pros and cons. But it’s fantastic for writers to have the possibility to choose. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ownership is a huge issue for me, Michael. If I wrote it, I feel I should own it. I’ve seen many authors lose control of their hard work to publishers, then lament their decision to sign on the dotted line. It doesn’t have to be that way in the publishing world today. We are living in incredible times as writers. We can reach the world on our own. But, as you stated, there are pros and cons to both sides. Thanks for weighing in.

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  29. The biggest problem an author faces here is that traditional publishing is NOT an available choice to the vast majority of authors: less than 5% of submitted manuscripts reach a publisher, and maybe 1-2% of the total submitted are offered a contract, and the contract is only good for top earners (the rest get the minimum royalties/advance contracts).

    So go ahead and submit if you want – but your chances are low, and it takes time and energy to go the submission route. Then it takes trad pub 18-24 months to publish the book.

    Most publishers don’t even do much marketing for most of their authors, anyway. Only their top authors get much of it.

    The biggest indie problem (beyond learning how to write – a given for either side) is that marketing is another skill you’ll have to pick up if you want to sell. But you usually have to do it even if you’re traditionally published.

    The publishers know there will be a huge continuous stream of submissions – and still manage not to pick only the best – so they have NO incentive to change.

    But going indie is known to require a lot of study – all that marketing stuff on top of the writing, and the popular PERCEPTION is that if you have a publisher, it will do that stuff for you (and editing and proofreading and fact-checking). It is almost impossible to change popular perceptions with data, and if someone is set on being traditionally published, that’s where they’re going to put their energy.

    The other side of the coin: most indies don’t make that much money, and many indies aren’t very good (but may still have plenty of readers), depending on the definition of ‘good.’ The traditionally-published universe keeps bringing that up, and neglecting their own economics (royalties are abysmal for most, and advances are pitiful if they exist at all for most).

    Indie has potential. Trad pub is perceived as having potential. Your own experience is NOT predictable.

    I’m indie – that potential (plus the huge degree of CONTROL self-publishers have) is what attracted me after going through the submission process with my first novel, a mystery, which never found a publisher (I may rewrite it some day – it had potential – and I’m a better writer now). The submission process ground me down. Kept me from writing the next one, kept me in a state of mind I didn’t like – for years. All I have to show for it is a few handwritten notes on form rejection letters – ‘try us with your next one’ – which are ‘known to be encouraging’ in the submitting world, because otherwise the agents don’t bother to write notes. And 2-3 years of lost time.

    Am I biased? Probably. My original writing partner from LAST century finally got her first thriller (rewritten a million times since back then) a publisher, has the second coming out, and is writing the third. And yes, she is having to do a lot of the marketing (okay, most of it), but that validation is what she wanted, and she got it after a quarter of a century. And I hope for her that there will be more.

    My final bit of advice: STAY AWAY FROM VANITY PUBLISHERS. They will happily take lots of your money, try to sell you more expensive services, own your cover copyright, demand that you sell many copies before you even start collecting royalties, and get in your way when you try to do anything else. NO ONE is happy with them.

    If you are not discouraged by the above, maybe you have it in you to become a selling self-published author – even if it’s not easy. Educate yourself if you do, because there is an awful lot to learn. Good luck. And sorry to bend your ear.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Fantastic points made here, Alicia. I am a big believer in authors owning their own work. I can understand the prestige that comes with a publishing deal and an agent. But that isn’t even necessary in today’s world. As for validation, I will seek it through my readers and their thoughts on the work itself. Yours is quite an interesting take on the subject. Thank you for sharing your own experiences here. Perhaps it will guide other authors in making their own decisions. And I totally agree with your take on vanity publishers. I know many writers who have lost ownership of their hard work to that industry. I’ve seen good writers quit because of this. It’s truly a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hope so.

        Maybe I’m TOO invested in authors being completely responsible for their work, and many don’t know what they should (or Kris Rusch wouldn’t find so many interesting points to blog about every week).

        Self-publishing isn’t hard, but it IS work. So is learning editing, and cover design, and formatting…

        There’s plenty of advice – finding the RIGHT advice for an individual writer is also work.

        As to the vanity publishers, writers have been complaining for ages, yet every attempt to prosecute Author Solutions and its ilk finds that they have very carefully written contracts, and are just inside of the laws that apply. Vanity publishing (now often calling itself ‘hybrid’) been going on for decades.

        Liked by 1 person

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