Why I Haven’t Gone For Traditional Publishing

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I’ve written a few posts about why I enjoy being an indie author, but I haven’t written a post specifically about why I never chased the traditional publishing bandwagon. I’ve been an indie author for ten years now and I’ve stuck with self-publishing the entire way through.

Here are some reasons why landing an agent and getting a publishing contract doesn’t appeal to me enough to go after it:

A lot of of my books are novellas or short stories. I have written a few full length novels, but most of my books are novella length. Most big publishers only take novels these days and the word length requirement is fairly strict. I love that self-publishing allows a story to be the length it needs to be.

I decided to make my writing more of a personal journey. While at the very beginning of my writing journey I dreamed of landing an agent, once I decided to self-publish, writing became a personal journey for me. I wanted to write the stories my mind wanted to tell – staying true to those ideas was what made my entire writing journey so enriching and special.

I liked the challenge of self-publishing. Publishing your own book is hard work. I mean, it’s not complicated to upload it on Kindle Direct Publishing, but the steps to get there take a lot of work, preparation, and confidence in your writing. The marketing and promotion bit takes time and energy. Because all of the work rests on the author, it’s quite the challenge to make significant sales. Something about that appeals to me (And there’s no pressure to make sales, either. That part is totally on me, the author).

I value authenticity and peace over money. At the end of the day, I can’t see myself enjoying writing books that an agent asks me to write. At that point it would become a job – and I never wanted to see my writing that way. This entire author journey has been so personal and if I were to hand my writing over to what a publishing company wanted, it would spoil everything for me. I was recently talking to someone who was keen on me promoting my books to an agent – it seemed as though it wasn’t good enough that I was just an indie author writing for the enjoyment of it. He said “Imagine being paid to write. After you landed a contract, they’d tell you what to write.” And I said out loud “Yeah … imagine if writing was my job” and I felt ill – like I knew then that it wouldn’t make me happy, even if I had someone “encouraging” me to take my writing further. As a new author, I used to think that would be my dream, but now the idea of writing for a publisher gives me nightmares. Writing wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t writing for myself.

I lack patience for the querying process. Being honest, I just don’t want to sit around waiting to hear back from agents after taking the time to research what they’re looking for, what genres they prefer, composing a query letter and catchy synopsis, etc. That whole thing isn’t me. Kudos to the authors who have that type of diligence, but I can’t be bothered.

I love being able to publish a book whenever I want. When you’re an indie author, you get to publish your books whenever you want to. Once they’re ready to go, you can plan for the date you’d like to have it published and release it then. I can imagine that authors going through a publishing company would need to wait a long time for their book to be released as it would go through a rigorous editing process and they’d have no say on what the cover looks like. You bypass so much drama when you publish your own work – and it can look how you want it to.

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So, there we have it! These are the main reasons why I never went the traditional publishing route. I’m sure I could have landed an agent for one of my novels if I really went for it – but it’s not what I wanted for my writing. At the end of the day, it’s not about how good your writing is, but what you ultimately want to do with it that matters.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you enjoyed my post.

20 comments

  1. Every single one of these points are exactly what made me aspire toward the indie side. โค๏ธโค๏ธ

  2. I love the way you sum up why you don’t go through the brutal querying process: “I can’t be bothered.” Exactly the way I feel about it!

  3. I tried submitting late last century – I can’t do the waiting and the worrying, and kept getting ‘Nice – send us your next one’ or ‘Good – but not for us’ after being really careful who I chose to send my first mystery to.

    Now the contracts are so draconian, and so heavily favor the publisher, that I have decided it’s not for me.

    Besides, I don’t think my kind of fiction is easy to market – it requires readers who love a lot of genres, and have read gobs of the classics – as one of my reviewers ended his review, “I cannot recommend this book, this trilogy, highly enough – but not to everyone. This is a book for readers who appreciate literary fiction and a very deeply developed romance with a thoughtful debate on ethics. I believe the pace and the delayed gratification will frustrate many modern romance readers who look for fast-burning romance, titillation, and simple love stories. However, if you are a reader who will appreciate a modern ‘Jane Eyre’, this trilogy is for you.”

    Indies Today named it 2021 Best Contemporary novel.

    I think I’ll stay indie.

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