Monday, March 28, 2011

Going Indie: What Do You Think?

In today's sucky economy money is tight everywhere. Every industry has cut back, limiting the amount of money they spend on things. The literary world is no exception to this. A lot of agents are even putting in their query rejection letters that the economy has a direct impact based on rejections.

To combat this problem a ton of writers are going indie. What is indie you ask. An indie writer is someone who self publishes their writing or goes small press. In the past this has been, well, to put it lightly, looked down upon. But not anymore. There are several wildly popular authors out there who have gone the self publishing track. One YA indie author that has generated a lot of buzz lately is Amanda Hockings, 26. She has taken the indie publishing world by storm and showed a lot of us that is is possible to make it on your own. Here is a snip from a blog post on Amanda Hockings on Bookish by Maggie Galehouse:

She published her first two books on April 15, 2010. Since then, she has sold 900,000 copies (gulp!) of more than 9 different books.

Her novella and three of her novels are 99 cents in e-book. The other 5 go for $2.99.

Her novels are also available in paperback, for $8.99 or $9.99.

Now, let's take a moment to digest all this and do some math. Even if every single book sold went for 99 cents, and remembering that she earns 70 cents on every dollar of sales, by my estimation she has pulled in close to $620,000 already.

In her blog, Hocking says she's had an agent since last August. Even if she paid her agent $100,000 a year, she has still earned more than half a million.

You can check out Amanda Hockings on all the major online book seller sites, like Amazon, or you can check out her awesome blog, where she just announced her traditional publishing deal with St. Martians Press.

Another great indie writer is J.L. Bryan. He has several titles out now and an amazing website showcasing all of his works.

Several of my writing friends are going indie, and it's not because they aren't talented writers, because they totally are. Some of the best stories I've read over the past couple years are by unpublished authors whose manuscripts, for whatever reason, doesn't fit into the publishing houses budget plans. These are novels they have slaved on for years. For that reason, I cheer them on on their indie journey. There are a ton of unpublished gems out there and I am excited to watch their journey.

What do you guys think about going indie? Thinking about it? Done it? Shout out and Share! :)
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Anonymous said...

No, Indie is NOT someone who self-publishes their writing. Self-publishing is someone who self-publishes their writing.

An Indie writer is someone who publishes through an indie press.

Yes, people like Amanda Hocking use the term, but it's a misnomer. Vanity presses started the trend of using Indie for self-published, and it caught on, to the sad detriment of actual indie presses.

This is seriously one of my pet peeves because it damages people on both sides of the "indie" label.

True indie authors are now getting hit with the "self-publishing stigma", when they are, in fact, commercially published. And new authors who don't know anything about the business are seeing "indie" tacked on to vanity presses and thinking that it's a legit publishing credit, when it isn't.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with self-publishing, if you know the risks going into it, but calling it indie publishing is like a high school baseball player just deciding to call himself a minor league player because he feels like it.

Cheree said...

I agree there is nothing wrong with self-publishing as long as you put the work in. Amanda Hocking is one of the exceptions, but she also says that she spends over 40 hours per week with publicity, editing and book layout. So, it takes a long time to get the book ready and even more time to get people to notice it.

Melanie said...

If my book doesn't get agented, I have to admit that I will consider an indie press, or lean towards self-publishing or something to get my story out there. But, I'm not at that point yet, so...

erica and christy said...

I've know people who have self-published and I know it isn't for me.

Advertising/marketing/distributing, etc. wouldn't be one of my strong points, and while it's important to any published author, it's absolutely vital to a self-pubbed one. But I do own self-pubbed books (e-books and paperback) that have been excellent and send kudos to anyone who can do a good job that way.

Rebecca said...

This is a huge topic right now in publishing, for obvious reasons. I have to admit that six months ago I never would have considered going indie, and now I'm leaning heavily that way. The idea of controlling all aspects of my book is pretty thrilling - and scary as well. As for anon's comment that indie and self-publishing are not one and the same, I respectfully disagree. Indie is, after all, short for independent. Which means separate from established and conventional means. Indie is a fluid term that can stand for any route to publishing or creating that bypasses these norms - whether through a small independent publishing house or through none at all. Just my two cents :)

Nicole Sheldrake said...

Whether traditionally published or self-published, a new and unknown author is going to have to do a ton of work promoting themselves. I admit I don't know the stats but my guess is that a publishing house is not going to give a new author a big promoting budget.

Since a new author has to do that work anyway, doesn't it make sense for the author to receive 70% (self-pub)of the book's price as opposed to 20% (trad pub)for all that hard work?

Then when the book is selling well, it will be easier to get an agent and a publisher because the author has proven that the book is popular. And if the book isn't popular, the author keeps writing until he/she self-publishes one that is.

It's a wonderful time to be a writer!