Three Reasons Why I’m Going Indie

I have been working on a novel for several years and, in the process, I’ve learned a lot about writing and myself. Strange, isn’t it? The more you pay attention to a story, the more it pays attention to you and shows up for you.

That kind of learning has a lot to do with hanging in and hanging on. For any big undertaking, you have to believe in yourself, believe in the outcome, and persevere.

I really like something the novelist James Lee Burke once said:

I’ve never seen anyone who has—once he’s determined to become a writer—not achieved his goal. I’ve never seen anyone fail who’s actually persevered and never given up.

What he’s telling me, I think, is that if I persevere, I won’t ultimately fail, and if I don’t give up, I’ll eventually succeed.

I’ll publish my novel independently next month, as I have several other books. I know I’m taking a risk, but it’s calculated. By going indie I’ll miss out on 1-2-3—

  1. A publisher’s marketing reach
  2. Their high production values
  3. Prestige and royalties

Ten of my books, nearly half, have been published by traditional publishers. John Wiley & Sons published my first two, and O’Reilly the rest. I’ve been with O’Reilly since 2002 and have had a very positive experience with them, largely due to my bright, patient, and kind editor, Simon St.Laurent.

But alas, O’Reilly doesn’t publish pre-apocalyptic, YA fantasies set in the contemporary West, nor fiction of any kind.

So how will I deal with 1-2-3?

  1. I’ll have to rely on the reach of folks in my social media circles—3,016 as of today—to share my story. Emphasis on share. I won’t get overtly salesy there. I’ll just share it and ask others to do so.
  2. I had the cover designed by a professional, as well as the book interior. I’ve also hired an editor to review the book one last time. These kinds of investments are the kinds of investments a traditional publisher makes in a book anyway so why shouldn’t I? You can’t judge a book by its cover but you can sell one by it. And if I discover an error or flaw along the way, I can correct the trouble quickly and upload my changes.
  3. I’ll have to depend on acceptance by readers for any prestige. I’m just not worried about that. If the book is any good, and I sincerely believe it is, readers will lend the book all the prestige it needs.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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