Here’s the real reasons I decided to be an indie author rather than pursue the mainstream publishing route.
You Get To Keep The Original Story You Wrote. Love it or hate it, indie authors usually prefer to keep their original story when they publish it rather than subject it to editors and change the story into something else entirely. When you buy an indie book, you’re getting the original story the author wanted to write. While I can understand why traditional publishers want to alter stories to look more polished or to fit certain trends/rules, I prefer not to have anyone touch the story I want to present to the world – even if only 50 people read it. Having my original work published is a big value of mine.
Lack Of Patience With The Querying Process. I’ve pitched my stories to agents before. After I wrote my first novel, I contacted agents for a full year and I got some great feedback from one agent – basically, she loved the idea but hesitated to ask for a manuscript because there wasn’t a market for the book I wrote. I realized then that agents are rather pragmatic (I get it. It’s their job to push sellable stories.) and after a year of carefully researching agents before submitting my queries, I still wasn’t getting any bites. I grew bored with the process and after self-publishing that first novel, I didn’t want to go back to querying and dealing with agent rejections. I actually looked forward to my indie author journey.
You Can Publish Whenever You Want. With independence comes freedom. When you’re an indie author, you can publish your book on the date you want to. Once your story is finished, edited, and formatted, you can go ahead and release your work to the world. You can choose a day that’s significant for you if you like. No waiting.
Not All Agented Authors Are Successful. I’m not saying this is super common, but I’ve heard some sad stories from authors who were represented and abandoned by their agent or their agent wasn’t able to sell their story to a publisher. Some authors got as far as being published by a big company only to not have enough sales to make more than their advance. On the topic of advances, most won’t be more than a couple thousand dollars. Again, kudos to those people who land it big. I think it’s super amazing they were able to do that. ❤ I just figure it’s a lot of work just to get an agent to look at your work – and I wouldn’t want to go through all that just have a $2,000 advance and maybe not sell much beyond that. I think with the right marketing and promotion, you could make that same amount as an indie author.
Being An Indie Author Is A Challenge. In a saturated market where millions of people sell their own books every year, it’s a miracle if you’re able to stand out let alone make decent monthly sales. Some indie authors do make it “big” and sell hundreds of copies per month. Unlike with traditional publishing, going indie means you have the potential to make a LOT of money from selling your books. While most don’t, it’s the possibility of it happening that’s really cool. I also like the challenge element to being indie – you have to work your arse off sometimes to think of creative ways to market your book. Some months, this does pay off, and it’s a lovely feeling when you reap that reward.
It’s A Little Punk. There’s just something cool about being “indie”. You’re saying no to supporting mainstream media and writing what you want to write. You’re breaking some (or maybe a lot) of writing rules. You’re going it alone and believing that people will like your work for what it is.
Querying Agents For Too Long Can Make Authors Lose Their Spark. This is just my opinion. I know some authors query agents and get signed within a year and they love their journey. I always do a little squeal for them. It’s inspiring and wonderful. With that being said, the majority of authors query for years, and you can see them losing their spark and inspiration as the rejections continue to stream in. A lot of them complain on Twitter about the rejections and it’s a downer to see them losing their drive to keep writing just because they can’t get an agent. They’re waiting on someone else to see value in their work – and hey, if that’s the path they want to take, I truly hope they will find an agent who will work with them. I didn’t want to put a wrench in the happiness and whimsicality I felt from being an author. Going indie has allowed me to bypass the steps of researching, querying, and waiting on agents.
Every Success Is Special. The months that I do make decent sales from my books are a result of me really pushing my books on social media. I think because all the work is on you, the author, to sell your own work, every sale and book review feels extra rewarding. You don’t have a team promoting your work for you. I do have a small circle of loyal friends who promote and buy my books when they’re released and it’s really wonderful to have that support. That was a result of being friendly on social media and I also support their work. Networking is so important for selling books – and when you get to the point where your new book release sells more than 5 copies in the first month, you can say “Hey, I’m growing, and more people are reading my stuff!” Growth takes steps – no matter how small. It’s a great feeling knowing you started from nothing once and now you’ve got some steady readers. ❤
I believe I’ve enjoyed my writing journey so much because I wasn’t trying to break into the mainstream market. I can write the books I want to read and publish them when I please.
Are you an indie author? What do you like the most about it?