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Traditional or Indie? It’s the Writer Equivalent of ‘What’s Your Sign?’

May 10, 2014

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“Are you traditional or indie?”

It’s the writer equivalent of WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?

Now that I’m whipping my manuscript into shape with an eye to publication, I’ve been asked this loaded question.

Do a quick google search and you can see that it’s a polarizing topic. It’s like Coke vs Pepsi. There are die hards out there who will never let a sip of the other (Coke/Pepsi/Indie/Traditional) touch their lips.

Here’s what I make of it so far.

Writers who are INDIE are:

rebellious, independent, motivated, visionary, controller of own destiny, hard worker with good marketing skills…

….but may be misguided in thinking their work is the best there is because, sorry, sweetheart, just cuz your mom says she liked it doesn’t mean you should sell it on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents.

That place needs to come with a warning sign: WARNING: Bad editing and bad books abound! It’s hit or miss.

Some hits/success stories but too many misses.

It can be hard to find your gem of a book amongst all the ones that stink.

And writers who favour TRADITIONAL are:

old fashioned, stick in the muds, who don’t realize the publishing world has changed.

They’re seeking Big Daddy approval in an acceptance letter that will probably never come and even if it does, you will be gouged financially for them doing all the work you could have done on your own anyway (or so say the Indie crowd)…

On the other hand, there is definite cache in being accepted by a publisher, a sense of accomplishment and pride.

There’s also the potential of working with a like minded person/community, who can help you make your book even better than your mom thinks it is. They can assist with the business side and have the access to the channels of marketing and distribution that normal mortals can’t reach, no matter how much they tweet, blog and flash their social media and marketing flair.

So, where should I stand?

I’ve tried the Indie approach, self publishing two iBooks through my ed-tech company BetterThanWorksheets Inc (@BTWorksheets). My husband and I, being teachers, wanted to make literacy learning interactive and fun. So I wrote and he designed Sarah the Super Spy and You Know the Answer Adventures. A third is in the works: a short story collection about zombies with an emphasis on Blooms Taxonomy style questions.

All very exciting. However…we create these in our ‘spare time’ and most of that time is invested in the creating process. We haven’t yet mastered the marketing component. It’s not our forte and it’s a steep learning curve.

To sum: going indie takes time/energy/focus that we haven’t got yet.

We love our iBooks but can’t seem to get them to the readers who would love them, too.

I’ve found this aspect of indie publishing frustrating. I don’t want that for my novel.

I also don’t want it to languish in the hit or miss netherworld of Kindle 99 cents.

I want the support of a traditional publisher and I’m willing to write the query letters and face the rejection letters in order to get it.

I want my novel to have a ‘home’.

So if you’re going to ask me…what’s my sign?

I’m going to have to say, in this instance: traditional, baby! It’s traditional.

PS. And now I ask my writer tweeps…what’s your sign, baby? Leave in the comments below.

9 comments

  1. Do a quick google search and you can see that it’s a polarizing topic. It’s like Coke vs Pepsi. There are die hards out there who will never let a sip of the other (Coke/Pepsi/Indie/Traditional) touch their lips.

    Bull-$&@&. The one, and only question is, Where’s the money?. If someone is willing to pay a price you are willing to accept, traditional is fine. If they aren’t willing to pony up the cash, they don’t deserve to gain any of the profits.

    It’s dirt simple. It’s all about the Money, Honey.

    That place needs to come with a warning sign: WARNING: Bad editing and bad books abound! It’s hit or miss.

    Again, bull-$&@$. I make sales all the time, and most of the time I don’t get asked for edits. Yes, you’ll find books that are badly edited. A fair number of them are traditionally published. A larger percent are self published true, but any writer who is capable of writing a novel is capable of learning how to self-edit.

    In my opinion, if they aren’t willing to learn to self edit, they deserve the low sales, and constant criticism they are going to get.

    I want the support of a traditional publisher and I’m willing to write the query letters and face the rejection letters in order to get it.

    Why? Most traditional publishers expect you to do as much work, and maybe more than you would if you self-published. Unless they are willing to pony up serious cash, how is this to your advantage?

    So if you’re going to ask me…what’s my sign?

    I’m going to have to say, in this instance: traditional, baby! It’s traditional.

    My sign is the Dollar Sign baby. Anything else would be irrational.

    Wayne


    • Hi Wayne
      I had a feeling you might comment on this debate! Awesome!

      I hear what you’re saying about the money and if we’d been more successful thus far with our self published iBooks I might have a different perspective on the lucerative nature of indie publishing. But other than selling to family and friends, we haven’t sold much, and I see this as a marketing issue. We just haven’t reached our readers (yet).

      I’d like to give traditional publishing a try. It may or may not pan out. I have my doubts as to how lucrative it will be. But realistically writing is one of those don’t-quit-your-day-job areas. It’s not exactly a get rich quick scheme. I don’t expect to become a millionaire. If traditional pub will hook me up with more readers who will value (and thus pay for) my work then I’m willing to go that route even if it means I have to pay the middle man. Anyway, I’m willing to give it a try!

      Thanks for dropping by, Wayne
      Julie
      Ps I edited your comment only to adjust the swear word, hope you don’t mind. I use $&@@&$ on this site as away to watch my $&@&$ language!


      • Read this post of mine about publishing. Download and play with the spreadsheet.

        Then look at your sales avenue. Know one I know buys from iBooks. Smashwords and Amazon get far more traffic.

        As to marketing, that’s a complex subject. I worked in sales and marketing for years, targeting Fortune 500 companies. Targeting consumers is different, but somewhat the same. I’m still working on figuring out all the differences 🙂

        Wayne


      • Then read this one

        Wayne


      • Then this one.

        Wayne


      • And this one.

        Wayne


      • And finally I’d strongly suggest you read the articles on Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch’s websites. They have a lot of good stuff about the business of writing.

        Both have been on the NYT Bestseller list, and both have been professional writers for thirty years. They know what they are talking about.

        Wayne


      • Thx for the suggested reads, I will take a look!

        Julie


  2. Really informative article post.Thanks Again. Awesome. kdadgbfgbdce



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