Thursday, February 3, 2011

Indie or Traditional

Over the last couple of months I've had many people come up to me to pick my brains about self-publishing. I guess word's gotten out that I'm doing well. Even my local RWA chapter (Romance Writers of America) is taking notice. I've never had so many free lunches in my life!

The question that always comes up is, what would I do if a traditional publisher approached me and made me an offer to publish my books. I know some other indies have already been approached and are wondering what to do. While many of my RWA friends would probably immediately jump at the chance and oohh and aahh about the fact that a New York publisher is interested, I'm actually not that quick to jump at it. Why?

We are still at the beginning of the e-revolution, the new Gold Rush as I call it in a recent blog post on the Writer's Guide to E-Publishing. Nobody can really tell yet how much your e-rights are really worth in dollars and cents. The publishers want in on it, knowing that they are making less and less on print publishing. When asking several agents who spoke at our local chapter recently, they confirmed that publishers will not enter into a deal with the author that would leave the author with their e-rights. I'm not ready to give those up. Now, foreign rights, I would love to sell. Anybody?

But it's not just about potentially losing money when signing your e-rights over to a publisher, it's also about losing creative control. I'm a very independent person. I've always been an entrepreneur, and I don't work well for somebody else. Call me headstrong, pushy, bossy. Just pick one. That's not to say that I don't listen to advice. I take many, if not the majority of my critique partners' suggestions when revising a manuscript, and I also listen to my editor's suggestions. But in the end, I have the last word.

And in the end, I decide which cover to pick, which word to delete, which price to sell at. As a traditionally published author - unless your name is J.K. Rowling - you don't have that kind of power.

Will this decision work for everybody? Probably not. I'm a self-starter, and I work extremely hard. My work week regularly consists of 60+ hours of work. So don't be fooled when you see me posting on Facebook that I'm about to go to the gym in the middle of the day. Just because I can arrange my day the way I want, doesn't mean I sit around eating bonbons (besides, that's fattening!).

But, if you are ambitious, hard-working, and have a head not just for writing, but also for figures, marketing, and promotion, Indie might be the way for you to go. It's very rewarding to know you've achieved something without the backing of a big company behind you.

Tina Folsom

Have you seen my new covers?


Jamie D. said...

Aside from Amazon Encore (which is highly recommended by several authors I know who started out indie and got picked up by them), I'd turn down any trad deals at this point. Categorically. And I know that sounds flippant, but I've put a lot of thought into it, and being both a control freak and someone who wants to keep a decent percentage of what I make, it just wouldn't be smart for me to sign a contract, at least not at this point.

But I can see where others who don't want to control every aspect of the writing/publishing process would welcome a deal, and I'm happy to leave them to it. :-)

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