Apologies to Korn, but it works.
In all seriousness, I want to talk about a topic I’ve thought a lot about over the past year. It has to do with indie publishing versus traditional. I want to talk about it because it seems that being picked up by a big publisher is the ultimate goal of most indie writers.
I’ve seen lots of indie authors get picked up by publishers and, while that’s seemingly a good thing, I have also witnessed the pitfalls. Sure, it’s good for the author (and I could even argue that point, but that’s not my goal here). The author, it would seem, would have more time to write and have to market less. That may be true, but not necessarily. The author would possibly make more money (I have to guess that would be true, or why else would they all be signing those contracts?). She could also benefit from having someone else coordinate and design her cover and she’d have big house editors polishing her manuscript. But there’s a dark side.
I have given this matter a lot of thought. I might not ever have a big publisher offer me a contract. If one does, it better be a big f**king carrot. Let me tell you why, because these are all the reasons why I don’t want to stop indie publishing:
1) Readers have to start paying more—usually lots more—for the author’s books. I’ve seen a lot of authors who have been picked up by traditional publishers in the past couple of years and their books have doubled in price…or more. What a slap in the face to faithful readers. I know we also all want to celebrate that they’ve been recognized by the big publishers who now deem them “worthy” to “play in the big leagues,” but really…what do readers get out of the deal? A lighter bank account. I’m guessing (although I could be wrong) that most of that extra money never makes it to the author, so what’s the point?
2) Readers have to start waiting longer—sometimes lots longer—for the next book. Yes, I know some of these authors will continue releasing some indie books as well, but I know of some authors who have had their releases delayed, p*ssing off their loyal fans, and I’m sure it’s mostly thanks to the big publishers holding the strings. That’s a huge loss of control, one I’m not sure I want to give up.
3) Writers might not have the last say in their books. I have traditionally published friends. Sometimes the editorial suggestions are welcome. It’s nice as a writer to have others look over your work, because sometimes you’ve missed something, because you’ve been too close to it. But let me tell you something that’s cool about indie publishing: You can be unique and no one can tell you otherwise. Sure, you might have some folks bash you in reviews, but they’re going to do that whether you’re an indie or not. Anyway, I’ve had traditionally published friends who have been asked to make small changes—a word here or there—but I also have writer friends who have been told to change major parts of their story. Yeah, sometimes it’s true that the traditional publisher knows…but what if they don’t? What if they just want a mainstream, formulaic piece of sh*t?
I have other reasons too. One is the rebel in me, not wanting to bow to “the man.” Let me just say this—I have worked hard to get to where I am, and I don’t mean by marketing the sh*t out of myself. Let’s tell it like it is—I suck at marketing (I know this!), so thank heavens I now have a kick ass Street Team. But I always believed in the power of my writing, and every reader who loves me (or hates me) has been hard won. So to have all that hard work p*ssed on by signing it over to traditional publishing seems to desecrate everything I’ve fought so hard for.
Let me put it this way—if I’m ever made an offer (and it doesn’t seem likely, but let’s entertain it for a brief moment just the same), I will have to first sit on my hands (you know my middle fingers get ITCHY AS HELL!!!), and then I will need some time to think about it. Hard.
Because I really don’t see an upside.
Peace out, my friends, and rock the f**k on!!! I LOVE YOU!