For as long as I’ve been writing, I’ve been an independent author. The freedom of choosing when and how to publish my work has always appealed to me. With me living in Taiwan, I also have to add weeks or months to the publishing process, which is mostly receiving many, many rejection letters. You can read my whole position on the benefits of independent publishing here.
But after going through the self-publishing process of my most recent work, Taken in the Dark of Night, I’m experiencing a change of heart regarding seeking out a publisher. I’m sure independent authors around the world will disagree with me here, but putting out my own novel has enlightened me.
I think I’m ready to look for publishers.
The reason for my about-face on this subject is that I’m a busy guy. Like most independent writers, my annual sales can currently be counted in double digits. Therefore, also like most independent authors, I have a day job. Up until recently, I had several. Independent authors are busy people. Frankly, I’d rather be using my writing time actually writing. Right now, it’s spread between writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, designing covers, promoting, marketing, and engaging fans or other authors.
Really, independent publishing just requires too damn much.
So it’s time for me to start delegating. There are professional editors out there specializing in the constant stream of little changes I’ve made to Taken in the Dark of Night at every phases of the process. Same goes for proofreaders, who will be able to find all those embarrassing little errors that I keep missing, even after a dozen or more drafts.
Likewise, publishing companies have whole marketing teams whose job is to help get the word out. That means that I no longer have to write and send out my own press material (which I rarely do at this point). Nor will I have to arrange my own blog tours. Finding the time to write the odd missive like this one is stressful enough, thank you very much.
On the flip side, the publishing industry isn’t doing as much for authors as it once did. Advances are lower than ever, and authors are expected to do much more self-promotion during the marketing phases of things. Or so I’ve been told.
There’s also the fact that the big publishers offers a fraction of the royalties compared to publishing my own work, which makes me a few dollars per book sold. However, the volume possible with a large publishing house puts my current annual double-digit sales to shame, especially once one factors in the potential for international sales. As an indie author, I certainly don’t have the resources to translate my books into all the various other languages that may be the meal ticket. I’m only tapping into the English-language market, which isn’t even the language for the place where I live. Publishing houses have the resources to get the word out there.
So after careful consideration, I’ve decided that I’m going to start pursuing the corporate publishing option. I’d rather be writing than marketing, and I’m pretty sure that professional editors and proofreaders will be able to help get the best out of my books much more efficiently than I have myself. It would also be nice to get access to a larger audience.
I’m not entirely selling out to the man, however. I’m okay with my decision because I’m not going to stop pursuing independent publishing my own work. It certainly won’t hurt to get my name out there. But I am going to start looking at how I can put the resources of large publishing houses to work for me as a writer.
Because I’m a writer first, and I want to write again.
What do you think? Weigh in in the comments below.