Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why Are YOU Choosing Indie Publishing?

Many choices in life have more than one way to make a decision. Take dessert options as an example: Should I have Ben & Jerry’s or a bowl of fruit?
Reasons to choose fruit: 
On a diet
The fruit will last, at best, one more day
You feel a cold coming on and want the Vitamin C
The closest Ben & Jerry’s is in the freezer compartment of your local Safeway
You’re allergic to dairy, nuts, wheat, and pretty much everything else the rest of the world considers delicious

Reasons to choose Ben & Jerry’s:
Because it’s ice cream. Delicious, sweet, laced with chocolate and nuts and whatever sugar-coma-inducing awesomeness gets you high. Do you need any other reasons? No.

Neither choice is wrong. None of these reasons to make either choice are bad. The same goes for indie publishing, mostly. However, a few reasons for choosing indie would be poor, but chances are, you can list those already: 
Because you wrote “the end” on your first manuscript so publishing is the obvious next step.

Because your mom/sister/spouse/best friend says the book is awesome.

Because no publisher is offering a contract.

That last reason, however, is debatable as a bad one. Perhaps no publisher is offering a contract because you’ve written a family history that would be perfect to indie publish and distribute as Christmas gifts. Or you’ve written a steampunk, zombie-and-vampire suspense that just doesn’t fit the market, but other than that, the publishers say your writing is excellent. In these cases, indie publishing might be your best choice.
But maybe you haven’t decided to pursue indie publishing. Maybe you still want the validation of a traditional publisher or the support of a publishing team. Nothing wrong with that. But even if you are on the traditional path, this next question is worth considering.
What are your goals?
Like deciding between fruit or ice cream, your goals will determine where you put your time, effort, and money when pursuing any publishing career—traditional or indie. 
Do you desire to sell a million copies of one book? Then you’ll probably want to write a stellar novel and promote, promote, promote. 
A million copies of your books total in a certain time frame? Then you’ll need to write and release lots of books every year (still making sure the writing is stellar, of course).
Make enough money to sustain your writing? Pay your mortgage and other bills? Fund a month-long vacation to Fiji?
Maybe your goal is nobler. Maybe you want into inspire and affect lives.

Defining your goals is important when it comes to strategizing how to meet those goals. In the dessert example, if you want to lose weight, choosing Ben & Jerry’s is a bad choice. However, if you planned ahead and half self-control (stop laughing!) you could have a small bowl of Ben & Jerry’s without destroying your weight-loss goal. 

Publishing is the same. If you go traditional, some decisions will be made by your publisher. But if you go indie, all these decisions are made by you. YOU have to decide what you want out of publishing. YOU have to decide how to approach your goals. And YOU have to be strong enough to stay focused on your goals no matter what everyone else is saying you should be doing. That may be the toughest part of all—not losing sight of what you really want amid the talk of selling millions of copies or pricing books at a certain price point or making books available through a certain online retailer. These choices will all be yours to make, and the only reason one might be better than the others is because of what you want to accomplish as a published author. So define your goals. Build a plan for achieving those goals. And stay committed to YOUR goals.

1 comment:

  1. You must not enjoy fruit as much as I do--I'd choose fruit every time--OR, why not BOTH? :)