Making the Case for Indie AND Traditional Publishing (For Writers and Readers)

(Part II… again sharing here with Marcia’s permission. Did I leave anything out?)

by Kassandra Lamb

I envy writers under thirty. Not for their youth, but because they have never known a publishing world where indie publishing wasn’t a viable alternative.

But I’ve heard even some younger writers make comments that indicate they think indie is what you do if you can’t get a traditional publishing contract. In other words, it’s a second choice.

Actually, for some of us, it was a first choice.

And sadly there are a few traditionally published authors who like to judge indies from the other side of the fence. (See Part I of this series: Creativity, Sensitivity, Laziness and Courage.)

For the newbie authors out there (or those considering jumping the fence), I will try to spell out the differences between the two paths. Also, I want to mention the pros of each for readers, the most important people in this whole arena!

I will try to be balanced, but I’ll warn you all up front, I am biased toward the indie path, since that’s the one I chose. To help counter that bias I’ll let trad publishing go first. And I’m trying to stay positive by focusing on the “pros” of each (the cons are mostly implied).

K.B. Owen, one of my sister authors over at misterio press, generously offered the graphic she developed for a presentation on publishing she gave recently. It gives us a great jumping off point.

chart of pros of each

(Chart created by K.B. Owen, (c) 2016)

TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING PROS

Validation: The author can feel confident that their story idea is worthy and that their writing is good. Trad publishing gives it the stamp of approval of the industry.

For the reader, this means the odds are good that you will enjoy reading this book, that it will abide by the expectations for its genre and will only have the good kind of twists and turns, not the kind that leave you thinking “Huh?” or have you dangling off the edge of an unexpected cliffhanger.

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25 thoughts on “Making the Case for Indie AND Traditional Publishing (For Writers and Readers)

  1. Pingback: just be your self – increase your knowledge

  2. The bottom line for me was the last in the “both publishers” subset. You promote yourself. I attended several writer’s conferences, talked personally to agents and editors and sat through countless seminars. The one message that came across was, “even if you sell your book to a publisher, you will end up in charge of marketing.”

    Since I worked with digital prepress and then eBook development since PageMaker 1 (Photoshop was a NASA shareware program then), and edited several journals and online publications, to me the decision was a no-brained. Traditional publishing wouldn’t improve my terrible marketing skills, so I might as well learn them for a book I published.

    New writers may have to think more closely. To many indie books are poorly written, horribly edited and feature terrible covers with typefaces that should never have been created. If you haven’t worked with a real writing group (not an “attaboy, you did great” group), or taken a college writing class (I recommend both), you need to work with an editor and maybe a traditional publisher. Unfortunately, I have too many friends who were screwed with bad publishers and agents too.

    So think carefully and do your research. Prepare to spend time and money, even independently publishing. Find beta readers and writing groups that cut your prose to shreds. Then hire an editor (check for samples of their work too, and then listen to them, which many writers refuse to do. Only then will you be ready to make the decision on how to publish.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Phillip, for sharing all this! The “have to do your own marketing anyway” was an important piece for me as well. That is the one part of this business I can say that I DO NOT LIKE. If traditional publishers still took that burden off of writers like they once did (yeah, you went on tours and did signings, but they set them up) I might have pursued an agent more strenuously.

      I’ll admit that I made a lot of mistakes early on. My first book had a totally inappropriate cover initially. And although I paid for professional editing, it wasn’t until I found my third editor that I can say my work really improved.

      The difference for me is that I can learn from my mistakes and then fix them (most of the time). That first cover is long gone now, and I rewrote my first four books after I understood my newbie mistakes.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Making the Case for Indie AND Traditional Publishing (For Writers and Readers) | The Write Stuff | Story Empire

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