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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Are Indie Writers the Happiest?

In last week's post I mentioned I had just passed my one year anniversary of self publishing. I also blogged about how I judge success, and stated that it's important to keep expectations low but ambitions high. But after typing that post I started to think about the other path I could have taken. What if I had decided I wanted to try the traditionally published path instead?

I know a lot of writers who take the traditional route first, and there is nothing wrong with that. After months or maybe years of trying without success they might try the self publishing option instead. But I decided to do things the other way around. I wanted to self publish first to see how it actually felt being the author of the book that was potentially going to be read internationally. I wanted to see what people actually thought of my book, and how many reviews I would receive. Then after the first twelve months were up, I figured I would know a lot more about the traditional path from the authors I would network with. I also wanted to socialise as much as I possibly could to try and get a feel for things, and to see if I actually wanted to go down the traditional route.

I know there are both good and bad points for each path, so this isn't a blog aimed at slating the traditional route just because I have decided the path isn't for me ... well not yet. The blog is more about wondering whether I would have any success if I had chosen to pursue an agent.

The top advantage of going indie is having the immediate power to do whatever you like with your book at the click of a button. Uploading your work to the Internet takes only a matter of hours, and then your book is available to buy anywhere in the world. And that's a hugely powerful concept for any writer to consider. If you decide to go the other way, you potentially have years and years to wait before an agent will take you on. Then they've got to sell it to a publishing house which will take time. If a publishing house does decide to buy it publishing the actual book could take a further eighteen months. So maybe the total time taken for that process to occur would be three years or more. And what might have happened if the writer had decided to self publish? They could have sold thousands of books as many people do within the first year, especially if they have a backlist.

The second major advantage of going indie is the royalty system. You, as the author, can decide how much you think your work should be priced. Then because there are no middlemen, apart from the stores which sell your book, you keep most of the cash.

So because indie authors have the most power, I think they're also the happiest. If I had to gone down the traditional route, would I still be waiting, and would I have received the reviews that I have done? Probably not.

But what do you think, are you a traditionally published author ready to argue this point?


  1. I'm an indie writer agreeing with you. Though I'm not sure 'happiness' can be quantified and compared, I've really enjoyed taking the indie route, have had wonderful responses, and feel in complete control of the whole process.

    (Interesting that the traditionally published writers are being quiet. I'd really like to hear another point of view.)

  2. Hi Jo,

    I'm glad going indie has worked out well for you. Maybe when I advertise the blog a little more there will be traditional author's viewpoints as well. Thanks for commenting.