Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Is Indie publishing a dead end?

There have been various blogs and articles stating indie publishing is a dead-end and as many saying it is revolutionizing publishing. This is my opinion.
I have been traditionally published for six years and have twenty-three print books available. I have also had six books published by a digital first publisher. Neither of these publishers has made me significant amounts of money; indeed my main source of income was from PLR and ALCS.
I'm not knocking the traditional route, I have several friends who are making a great deal of money from their advances and royalties, but they write for major publishing houses. I wrote for two small, independent presses and neither advances, nor royalties were substantial.
In May this year I discovered KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and have now self (indie) published three Regency romances. Preparing the file for publication is straight forward and the process of publication couldn't be simpler. Of course there is the expense of getting your manuscript professionally edited and proofread, something that would be done by the publishing house if you are going by the traditional route.
For these Regency romances I produced the covers myself – buying the image is straightforward and inexpensive. However, for my next book,  Barbara's War, a historical set in World War II, I have used a professional cover designer. This book will be coming out as a paperback as well as a Kindle edition and I thought it important to have an excellent cover. After adding in the cost of editing and proofing I will have to sell a lot of books before I make a profit.
I have sold 3000 copies of the first book, The Duke's Reform, which came out in the middle of June and the other two books are selling equally well. I shall release a book every month and by December I expect to be selling more than 150 copies a day of my Kindle books. This won't make me rich, but will double my income.
For me Indie publishing has provided an opportunity to bring my books to thousands of readers in a way that suits me. I no longer have to wait a year to see my titles appear - I'm in control of the timescale and the price.
Barbara's War was turned down by several agents, not because they didn't love the book, but because they couldn't "pigeonhole it". Traditional publishers say that they want books to fit a generic model – then complain that the story is too similar to others they are already publishing! With the advent of Indie publishing a writer can leave the discerning reader to make up their own minds about a book.
I wouldn't go as far to say that Indie publishing has revolutionized publishing - but it has certainly made things exciting for writers and readers alike. In my opinion Indie publishing is the opposite to a dead-end - it is providing a platform for writers of excellent books (Linda Gillard being one) to publish stories that a traditional publisher considered uncommercial.
What do you think?


  1. Exactly, Fenella, and I applaud you. I finally persuaded my son to put his book on Kindle as he had the same reaction as you had to Barbara's War. Ironically, after he'd put it up a small publisher came back to him after months and months saying they loved it. If I lose my contract I shall do the same, although I know I will have to have POD as well, as a lot of my readers - ahem - are of that ilk, if you know what I mean!

  2. Lesley, if it's not a celebrity written book the next best thing is a 'brilliant, best-selling debut novel'. Which leaves most of us searching for somewhere to go -hence teh growth of Indie-publishing.