Blog Post, Guest Blogger

Traditional or Indie: One of Authors Biggest Decisions

By Guest Blogger Carole Brown

Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash

(I’m including small publishers in the Indie Group for reasons I will mention on down the page.)

Once an author decides to write a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, there comes a time in all of their lives where they (consciously or not) make a decision which direction they will go.


Granted, there are pros and cons with either, but what an author should consider—and sometimes won’t realize—one or the other is not for every author.

I’ve gone both directions—sort of—and love them both. My debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman was published with a traditional publisher. I loved the way they worked with me, especially the cover design. My editor was an excellent one who kept me busy making sure the editing was as perfect as could be. There were no shortcuts.

With my other books, I sought a small publisher who has worked with me diligently to get everything just the way I wanted it, and that’s been so appreciated!

Here are some ideas of what to consider when choosing:

Traditional:  

Cons: 

  • Most times (but not always), it takes time to find one who’ll accept a new author. This is a biggie.
  • You don’t get a lot of say (they normally ask for thoughts or suggestions) on covers, timing of release, etc.
  • If you’re a newbie, then you usually won’t get as much promotional expense as an established, famous author.
  • Starting out you will have to spend some money on promotions, depending on what is allotted towards your book.
  • You’ll probably have a set rate of pay. The bigger author name you have the more money you’ll make. The newer/smaller author name you have, normally the less you will earn.
  • If your book doesn’t do as well as they want it to, you may get dropped. I know authors who’ve had this done to them.

Pros: 

  • They have the editing pros who will go through your book with you to catch errors such as plot mistakes, typographical errors, punctuation, etc.
  • You may not have a lot to say about your covers, but most times, your cover will be not only satisfactory but well done.
  • You may also not have the big-time authors’ money behind you in promotions that the publishing house gives them, but you will get some. That means less you have to spend.
  • They also have the means to promote your book in avenues you may not know about, can get into, and/or have the funds to use.
  • You should receive a steady income—large or small.

Indie:

Cons: 

  • You’ll need to do all the work yourself, or hire to have it done.
  • If you do use an Indie publisher, you’ll, most times, but not always, still need to do quite a bit of the work yourself.
  • If the small publisher doesn’t do covers or if you’re truly going total Indie—either way—you’ll have to learn how to do your cover or you’ll need to hire someone knowledgeable to do so.
  • You’ll need to hire an editor. No one wants to read a book full of errors. No one!
  • You’ll be doing all your promotions because a small publisher doesn’t have the funds to do it and/or you’ll be doing them yourself.

Pros:

  • It’s your baby, you can take as long as you want, decide how and what is in the book, make all the decisions yourself. You’ll have that freedom.
  • You’ll get a lot more say on your book’s cover even if you hire someone to do it for you.
  • You can pick and choose who you want to edit your book. Be wise on this one! Not everyone who claims to be an editor truly does a great job. I’m writing from experience.
  • You can decide when to publish. You can take your time if you wish. Decide how you’re going to publish—what avenue to go through.
  • You get to say where, when and how you want to promote.
  • You can keep track of your sales.
  • Sometimes, if you’re a fast writer, you can get more books out quicker. If a reader likes your book, they’ll really like this one.
  • You can go wide in distribution if you wish.
  • You have many options on where and how to publish.

There are plenty more thoughts on whether to go Indie or Traditional.

At times traditional authors purposely decide to go Indie. They feel they can go farther in sales by going it alone. Then there are some authors who hate Indie publishing and yearn for a traditional publishing company. They work and resubmit until their dream comes true. It’s all in a person’s personality, their dreams and their drive.

Just make sure you research and study on it. Get opinions, talk to those who’ve done both, give it time and then go with your best decision. Remember, one or the other is not aligning you in a place where you can’t do it differently the next time around.

Like I said, I enjoy both. And that’s a good place to be.

ღ(¯`v´¯)ღ About Carole Brown ღ(¯`v´¯)ღ¸

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of thirteen, best-selling, award-winning books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. She has found that the traveling and ministering has served her well in writing her novels. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


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3 thoughts on “Traditional or Indie: One of Authors Biggest Decisions

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights. I have used a paid collaborative service and I have also self-published. I have never pitched to find a traditional publisher because so may people have said it can take moths or years to get picked up by one. I do enjoy the control of self-publishing but it is a lot of work and it was a steep learning curve.

  2. Naomi Lane, You’re right. It’s a learning curve and takes dedication, persistence, and a lot of work, but oh, so worth it if you stick with it and don’t quit. Congrats on your success thus far!

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