I think the one thing I am asked most about being an Indie Author, is: “Yeah, but is it worth it?” My first response is always YES! But I think the question on a whole deserves a more detailed response.
For me personally, getting my story out to readers was my biggest goal. I had this story and these characters in my head for over eight years and I was desperate to share them. Really, more than anything, I just wanted to discuss them with people. Making money and becoming famous is a very very far away thought when writing because for me, it’s not about that. Writing for me is more a necessity in that I NEED to have a creative outlet and for some reason I was given this incredible idea and more than anything else I want to share it with anyone willing to listen.
My first gut reaction to this question will always be YES but there are negatives to going Indie that some people may not be ok with. I’ll give you my pro’s and con’s list to let you know what sincerely effects me as a writer as well as what I feel I have accomplished to help guide you on your own adventure to publishing.
PRO’s – I AM MY OWN BOSS
First positive for me, I get to say what I want to say when I want to say it. One thing I hear over and over again from traditionally published authors is that they didn’t quite get to manage their own release, their own book cover, even their own book content in the way that they wanted. Many I know that started out traditional have turned to Indie publishing because it has become so incredibly simple to publish your own book. I think understanding what you want when it comes to publishing is important. Do you want your book OUT THERE, or do you want A BOOK that someone else told you was up to THEIR standards to be out in the public? That is a two-sided question with more than one answer. Each of us will take a different path, and no one path is correct. It’s all up to what you want and need for yourself and your story.
CON – I AM MY OWN BOSS AND I HAVE TO DO LITERALLY EVERYTHING MYSELF
Ok, for me this is also a serious con. I am a full time Producer for Television, I am a mother, and I have a LOT of side projects that I am working on all at once of course. Marketing, writing, prepping for the next book, and putting myself out their on social media is a HUGE job and one that doesn’t always fit so nicely into my schedule. Having someone else do this for me would be GRAND, but I don’t have the luxury as an Indie Author. So with that in mind, I have to hustle my little arse off. This alone could be the #1 reason why I would consider getting a Manager or a Literary Agent to help me manage the day to day of marketing myself and getting my story out there. Doing everything yourself isn’t always doable and often, trying to do everything yourself can really be beyond exhausting.
PRO – NO MATTER WHAT, MY PRODUCT IS MY ACHIEVEMENT AND NO ONE ELSE’S
I wrote a book. A novel. I worked with a team to create the cover that was my own vision. I discussed details of the story with an Editor and discovered the characters purpose as well as discovered more about myself as a writer. There is confidence in doing something on your own, something no one else can take away from me. I did this. And I will do it again, several times over until my heart is satisfied with the work I have accomplished.
CON – NEGATIVE REVIEWS AND NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
This one is really hard, I won’t lie. I struggle too hearing negative feedback from people. I worked hard for eight years to get this book out to my readers, and to get a very flippant response after a reader takes two days to scan through my book and tell me it’s a horrible story with no plot, spelling mistakes were distracting, the characters were unbelievable….blah blah blah, I’m sorry but TWO DAYS?!
You take two days to rip apart something I have worked on for EIGHT YEARS!?
I think that is something that we have to come to terms with as Indie Authors. Readers who give you really bad reviews, especially reviews that aren’t helpful, are reviews that we just have to look over and ignore. I have also come to believe that unless a reader comes to ME with a review, I don’t read my own reviews as much anymore on Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews aren’t really for me anyways, they are for my next possible reader. One thing I will say about negative reviews and feedback, there is a positive side to it as much as it hurts. I LIKE to hear constructive criticisms. If someone approaches me with a note of why they didn’t like my book, or had an issue with my writing and it’s something to better my overall writing style then I have to accept that as something to think about and work on.
I am no where near perfect, and neither is my first book.
I think taking that in and just accepting that you are not only as good as the first thing you ever published will be your way to understanding the meaning of being an Indie Author.
PRO – INDIE PUBLISHING IS SERIOUSLY VERY EASY NOW
I wasn’t kidding when I said this. Publishing through KDP on Amazon and getting not just an Ebook but ALSO a print copy has NEVER been easier. It took me about a couple of weeks to figure it all out, get my book organized enough to be formatted correctly, and without much fanfare to be honest; I published it with a click of a button. Now, don’t think I didn’t MAKE MY OWN fanfare!!! I popped champagne, went out to a fancy dinner, promoted my little booty off with a party and a book signing party; I went ALL OUT! But when I look back at the level of dejection I felt submitting one query letter after the next only to receive rejections, I realized that self publishing what the best decision I ever made.
No one gets to tell me how and when I get to live my dreams; that decision is only up to me.
CON – I HAVE SO LITTLE TIME
One HUGE con to not having someone else spend their time with marketing and promoting is that I have so little time to ACTUALLY write. Here I sit writing to you on my blog (though in all honesty, sometimes writing in my blog is something that is needed to get away from a super creative writing mindset) instead of working on my book….that I am SUPPOSED to be prepping for my editor. I know, I know Ashley, IT’S ALMOST READY!!! Time is so precious, and as writers that work full time elsewhere we just have to deal with the fact that we have to give up other things in order to hone in on our craft and excel at something we want to do.
TO WRAP THIS UP….
Everyone takes their own route. Nothing you do is wrong, and nothing you don’t do is wrong. It’s your path, and your decision. That is the glory of writing. You decide what’s best for you and then grab that gilded unicorn of a dream by the horn and hang on tight because YOU have some serious work to do no matter WHAT path you choose. But you are also riding a unicorn, so you know it’s bound to be quite the epic adventure!
Now, of course I have to tell you that I honestly believe going Indie is worth it. Even after all of these CON’s I do believe that in the end, I will be happier for it. Don’t believe me….that’s ok. Take a peek at this DELIGHTFUL article and tell me that you don’t see a reason as to why I’d like to remain an Indie Author 😉