Self-Publishing, Traditional, or Indie

I have had the opportunity to read an article decrying the merits of self-published and indie authors several times since its publication in March 2014. I must say that whenever I read this piece of prose, I get angry on several levels.

First, the author of the article, whom I won’t identify, makes it clear from the start that he doesn’t believe that those who are indie authors or self-publish are real authors. In his opinion, only those published by the Big 5 are worthy of that title, and only those authors should be at conferences or part of the professional groups that support authors.

I would like to say that I did submit to the Big 5 publishers, until most of them decided one needed an agent to have their book cross their threshold. A bit of investigating on my part indicated that I wouldn’t make that much in royalties for my first few books, until I built a fan base. My goal was to become an author and have that be my main income source. Taking an already small royalty payment and deducting an agent’s fee seemed rather silly to me. That’s when I began exploring indie publishers, and I’ve had an excellent relationship with six of them.

What I discovered with these publishers, and heard about for other indie publishers, is that they are a lot more like traditional publishers than most people realize. They don’t take every book that is submitted, but unlike the Big 5, they will take a chance on an author with a good story to tell. Granted, the indie publisher doesn’t have a large promotions staff to send out review copies, set up interviews and signings, and hold the author’s hand when they are blocked in the midst of their next book. The indie publishers I’m with do have one thing that I haven’t noticed with the Big 5, a fabulous support system in either email discussion groups or closed groups on social media where their authors can talk about what does and doesn’t work for them when it comes ot promoting their book.

I’ve also found a whole new group of authors whose work I will buy once it comes out be stepping away from the traditional publishers. I have my favorites. Who doesn’t? But some of those favorites have gotten a bit stale in their celebrity. I often feel like I’m reading the same plot with different characters and settings. Originality is suffering with these people. It’s like they have a product that did well and they’re not going to change much about it, so they don’t lose sales.

Indie authors push their writing limits. They search for different ways to plot a story. They’re hungry, much like those famous authors once were. So, to the person who said they’ll never read an indie or self-published book, I truly feel sorry for you.

Why do I waste this emotion on a person who derides the very type of publisher I’m with? Because this individual is missing some great books. Sure, he’s going to run into some bad authors, but he’s ignoring one very important fact—even the big names have an off book. Instead of exploring new territory, he’s suggesting ways to drive indie and self-published authors out of the market, by delegitimizing them.

Well, I am here to stay, sir. I’ve worked most of my life for this moment, and I think you’re wrong about indie and self-published authors. I know many of them, and we’re hard working people who are trying to make a living. I will not apologize for understanding that the Big 5 were late to the party of electronic books and are just now trying to catch up. I’ve found my niche and am very happy there.

Try a book by an indie and self-published author. You might actually like it.


John DeBoer said…
Is the author of that 2014 article an actual author of other than opinions? If so, is she/he already in the stable of the Big 5? That would make it snarky condescension. If not, it comes off as snobbish ignorance. Thanks for your rebuttal. Need I say I agree with it?
Cyn L. said…
Great post. Thank you. :-)
KC Sprayberry said…
The author of the article about the Big 5 doesn't have a novel published yet, that I know of. He's well known for his articles lambasting self-published and indie authors as sub-par because "they aren't real authors." And that is one of his direct quotes. Not sharing his name here, but hang around indie authors for a while, and I'm sure you'll see one of his diatribes.