Traditional Publishing or Indie Publishing – Which Path to Take? Part 2

Last week, we looked at the pros and cons of traditional publishing. Today, we’ll examine the positives and negatives of self-publishing. Ready? Here we go!

Self-publishing: yay or nay?

-Control. You’ll have control over everything from your budget to which cover to use.
-You decide on your deadlines and when your books will be released. Sometimes, timing is everything.
– You’ll receive up to 70% in royalties.
– You make the editorial decisions and can decide what to change and what to keep in your story, enabling you to preserve your vision.
-You can reduce your book’s price to offer a sale or even give it away, then return it to its regular price. Or not.
-You decide how much to charge for your books.
-You can release more than novels as a part of your series (if applicable). In between novels, you might want to publish short stories or novellas to keep your readers satisfied while waiting for the next novel.
-You can send ARC (advance reader copies) to reviewers before your launch (apparently, not all traditional publishers allow this) to gain reviews ahead of time.
-You could potentially make a lot of money on fewer books, because you’ll earn more money per book.
-You can select which professionals you want on your team. You can choose your developmental editor (waves), copy editor (I have some of those on my editorial team, too), book cover artist, website designer, formatter, etc.
-You can have your book for sale FOREVER. It won’t go into hiding after a few short weeks, unless you decide to make that happen.

-You won’t have an agent to hold your hand and encourage you. Even if you hire an agent for your foreign sales, her role will be different than if she represented you as a traditionally published author.
-You have to trust your gut when hiring an editor, book cover artist, etc. Are they really as good as you think they are? Or are they good marketers, making you believe they’re good at what they do?
-You have to be very organized to ensure you don’t miss deadlines. Nobody will be nudging you or reminding you when you need to have your drafts completed or when to hand in your manuscript to your freelance editor.
-You have to be disciplined. It’s really easy for someone who’s self-employed (and that’s what you’d be) to put other things ahead of her work. You had to go grocery shopping, right? There was a TV show you had to see. You had to call Greta Gossip to see what’s new. My point is that life will always get in the way if you let it. And sometimes, your support system (husband, family, friends) doesn’t understand that just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can run errands or visit for hours. You have to find a way to say no and to schedule time for writing.
-You need to invest YOUR money into the professionals you need to hire (editor, book cover artist, etc.). And you aren’t guaranteed to make that money back.
-Some people won’t take you seriously as an author because you self-published. While this is changing, there may always be those naysayers, so be prepared.
-You’ll have less time to write because you’re not just an author but an entrepreneur and you have a business to run. You need to track your sales and ensure royalties are paid on time. You need to keep an eye on your calendar and make sure your hired professionals hand in their part of the work on schedule. You need to promote your books. Once you have a fan base, you’ll need to respond to readers.
-Your book probably won’t appear in a bookstore.
-Self-publishing is a lot of work, and you might not like all that it entails. Indie publishing isn’t just about being an artist and pumping out books.

Translation: Self-publishing is a business. If you don’t have business sense (and have no intention of learning what you need to do and how to do it), this might not be the right path for you. You might prefer to have someone else take charge of your career and all you have to do is write (and probably market your books, depending on your contract). However, if you’re ambitious, aggressive (in a good way), organized, and don’t want to give away control over your career, you may enjoy going indie.

Can you think of any other perks or downsides to self-publishing? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks to those who commented on my previous post and those who contacted me via social media to discuss this subject.

Lynnette Labelle

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