Writerly Rant #78 ~
I think being an Indie Author is amazing. In fact, until recently I was certain I was one! But ever since I started doing my own publicity and marketing for my debut novel Time’s Tempest, I’ve learned that there’s no hard and fast definition for an Indie Author – and that makes getting the word out kinda difficult.
Okay, so I purposefully decided to publish traditionally and when I couldn’t find an Agent or get in via the Big Houses’ Littler Imprints (who accept unsolicited material), I approached a small publisher just to see what would happen.
They liked the book!
But I haven’t made any money… in fact, I’m in the red.
Now, why didn’t I just self-publish?
I mean, I’m doing nearly all the publicity and marketing (making very few sales at this point) spending money I don’t have and not doing the kinds of publicity I want to because my publishing house upholds that anything connected to my book has to be of the highest quality – so nothing DIY that, well, looks DIY or sounds DIY…
Okay, so I scour the net in search of good deals on a non-existent budget and every time I think I’ve found a new and exciting opportunity it says:
Indie Authors Only
At first I thought that included me… but then I read on –
Self-Published Books Only
Wait. At the sites that are looking for money for their services, surprisingly, I’m considered an Indie Author because my publishing house is, well, small. But on the majority of free publicity sites that get great attention from the SEO bots and Alexa.com with ratings, I’m not – an Indie Author that is…
Heck, even a local Indie Bookstore owner said to me once, “I don’t know why Authors go with small publishers, they’re often no better than Vanity Presses. You can make more money self-publishing.” Needless to say I totally want to interview this woman for an article now as I think she has an interesting perspective.
In a way, she’s right.
No, I didn’t have to ‘pay’ to get my book published.
No, I’m not being scammed.
Yes, I’ve got a great editor who made the book better than it was.
Yes, I get to belong to a Writer’s Community affiliated with the Public School system (something I couldn’t have done self-publishing).
(and) Yes, I do a hell of a lot of my own marketing (they do some press releases, some tweets, try to find reviewers and occasionally help me out with high-quality poster images).
So why do I count as an Indie Author some of the time and not all of the time?
I obviously need just as much help getting my book noticed but because I didn’t pay for my editing and cover art doesn’t mean I’m not still in the hole money-wise.
Okay, so you’ve got no sympathy for me because a “Small Publisher” IS a “Traditional Publisher” and NOT an “Independent Author” – but I say I am Independent. I don’t have a BIG publisher who does s**t for me and gives me a huge book advance. I don’t have an Agent working to get me a movie deal, foreign language rites or an audio book deal.
But while being in the middle has helped me gain the possibility of being an author in the schools, it certainly hasn’t helped me get noticed or sell books.
Now, I have a contract for 4 books and I’m trying to write new material to land an Agent as well as self-publish a cute little novella I started writing in university just to try and get more books in the marketplace in order to stand half-a-chance of getting noticed and earning a little something for my troubles…
I know. You don’t get into writing to make money. That’s why I became a teacher. But guess what. You don’t get to write unless you find the time to write and yeah – sue me – I’d like to make a living doing it.