Friday, February 28, 2020

Writing: Weighing Pros and Cons

I had a phone conversation with my agent the other day. Yes, "indie" authors have agents, too. We talked about my career, and the twists and turns it has taken--from contracted author (two different publishers) to indie (actually, agent-assisted) author, making me what is now popularly called a "hybrid" author.  The big decision, of course, was what to do next. This was generated by a possibility of getting a contract with a publisher, but was I really ready to go back that way? So we talked. (For another viewpoint, although quite similar, check out this post).

Here's what I concluded from our half-hour exploration. The field of publishing has narrowed in a way (harder to get a contract from a traditional publisher) and changed (more small publishers). It's still important to have a good cover (for which I'm responsible in my current indie mode), and even the experienced authors can benefit from the work of a good editor (for which the author also pays as an indie).  These are things a publisher provides, but unless you've been fortunate (as I have...mostly) what they come up with may not be to your taste.

The indie author need not supply a synopsis (you have no idea what a pain writing these can be) or bend to the will of a publisher (and believe me, some of them will ask you to virtually rewrite your book). It behooves me to set up my own publicity, which I'm happy to do anyway--always have. I do a better job than a publicist or marketing manager sometimes. Of course, I have to buy the books I give away or even the proof copies I send out to my influencers. But when the check comes in, most of it is mine.

When a question arises, the decision-maker is me. It's up to me to get all those things done, which leaves me still deciding "Is it worth it?"

Bottom line (and I don't care for that term, but there you are), I'll probably continue as I have been. Do you have any suggestions you'd like to pass along? Have I mentioned anything you hadn't thought about regarding publishing and publishers? Let me know in the comments.


Patricia Bradley said...

That's a tough call! You're used to making all the decisions and doing your own marketing, so it might be hard to give control to someone else. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Indeed it is, Patricia. Some of us were sort of "backed into" the indie-publishing market because of various circumstances. There's no good answer.

Priscilla Bettis said...

Do you do your own formatting, too? And interior design?

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, I understand that some apps will do all those things--I've chosen to leave that up to the people at White Glove (which I access via my agent). It's another one of those things I haven't gotten around to yet.