Indie vs. The Publishing Co. – I did not sign up for this…

So I’ve finished editing my manuscript and my friendly readers have weighed in their opinions. I’m ready to publish, but where am I supposed to go from here??!!

After reading the tweets of so many indie authors, I thought I would try my hand at self-publishing with Smashwords… but have you read the fine print? I really have trouble with the “trust the reader” idea. It’s hard to blindly trust all of these random people I’ve never met. Then I got paranoid, thinking someone would steal my indie published work and sell it to a publisher elsewhere in the world. Yeah, it’s a concern of mine. Working in a lawyer’s office I know how difficult it is to prosecute someone outside of the country. Am I overreacting? Likely.

Anyway, after securing an awesome photographer and a potential male model for my cover shot I started to second guess the whole “indie” thing. I’d like to say that I’m an independent woman, but I’m not stupid. I’m no pro when it comes to publishing a book. In fact, I don’t know a single person – outside of the Twitter world – who has done anything like this. So next I thought I would suck it up and pay my dues for a literary agent.

A little research went a long way in disappointing me. There’s a whopping 30 literary agents in all of Canada. 30… Really? That’s it??!! So I thought, okay, not a biggie. Then I searched the list of agents. Oh yes, this is where it gets fun. If I want to stick with Ontario agents only – you know, so I might actually meet the person I’m trusting my writing career to – then that narrows the playing field rather quickly. After you consider who’s actually accepting new clients, which ones have gotten over the snail-mail methods, and find those who are looking at fiction, let alone romance, your options are limited. I swear, if I read… contemporary fiction “but not romance” again I think I’ll scream.

So I’ve narrowed it down to 2 agents who are actually accepting my style of story – the only ones in this entire Province – and that’s not to say that they’re “particularly interested” in romance at all. Needless to say I’m feeling less than optimistic. I’m seriously considering going back to Smashwords. But then I think of negotiating a contract with a publishing company, once my novel gets out there, and it terrifies me. As an indie author you’re expected to be a writer, an artist, an advertising specialist and the list goes on. I did not realize what I was signing up for when I started this novel, but there’s no turning back now.

Are there any words of advice out there from a successful (or not so successful) indie author? Do you have any insight with respect to hiring a literary agent outside of your own country? I know these decisions are critical to the success of my novel, so any comments would be appreciated.

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10 comments

  1. I have two works I’m looking to publish this year. I have a screenplay I’ll be finished with soon and I’m still shopping around for a good place to send it.

    The other book is a devotional autobiography on faith and Bipolar disorder. I’ve found a local fee-for-services and print-on-demand publisher with whom to work. For a reasonable investment (I’m splitting 3 ways), his company provides proofreading, editing, typesetting, book cover design… everything to get the book into publishing shape.

    They also list the book with Amazon, Barnes and Noble’s, and other sellers. They then print the book as it sells, keeping $5 per book for their costs. The seller takes a small portion (I’m assuming no more than $2/book) and I get the rest (to share 3 ways with my investors). Basically, if I sell 400 books, I make back my investment. For every book that sells beyond that, I get $3-$5 per book. This does not even include sales to e-readers. I do some of the marketing, but my publisher is also invested in marketing, as he makes more money the more the book sells.

    Anyway, you should look into print-on-demand publishers in your area and see what you can find. I think it’s a going to work out great for me.

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    1. Wow!! Good for you. The prices sound a bit steep, but once you put it into perspective it sounds like it could work. I’ll definitely be looking into that. Thanks for the suggestion and good luck with your publishing. 🙂

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    1. Really? Last I checked (it was a while ago) my title didn’t seem to fit their imprints. I thought because the HEA doesn’t come until book three of this series that it wouldn’t be accepted. This story is a love triangle… starting in book two. Throw in a paranormal twist and it narrows the options significantly.

      I just checked your link and in fact my book seems to fit the criteria. These new digital first imprints seem to be the way to go for an indie author without an agent. Thank you so much for that!!

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      1. You’re welcome 🙂 I plan to apply to publish through them as well but you also keep all rights to the book so selling through others is possible as well. Good luck 🙂

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