7 Reasons Authors Are Choosing Independent Publishing

As the mainstream publishing industry reels from the onslaught of new technology such as e-books, many of its big-name authors are adding to its woes by jumping ship and leaping into the world of independent publishing.

The reason is money. A growing number of successful, traditionally published authors have found that their older, out-of-print books can be goldmines when they’re rereleased as e-books and through print-on-demand. Their new books offer them chances for better royalties, profits, and control.

Michael Prescott, Barbara Freethy, and J.A. Konrath have all opted for independent publishing. The latest example is “New York Times” best-selling author Jackie Collins, who opted to take the indie publishing route for her new book and not sign up with a mainstream publisher. “…I wanted to experiment with this growing trend of self-publishing,” Ms. Collins said.

The latest trends prove self-publishing can no longer be dismissed, and, moreover, it’s getting extremely popular among all authors. There has been a revolution. Self-publishing has gone from stigma to mainstream. We have reached the tipping point in the publishing industry.

Today indie titles regularly crack—even top—the “New York Times” and “USA Today” best-seller lists. John Locke, Barbara Freethy, Gemma Halliday, and Amanda Hocking have all broken into the million-plus sales club, “The Huffington Post” has reported. Darcie Chan has sold nearly half a million books.

Some self-published books attract much more attention than books published by traditional houses. The novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” is one of them. It began its life as a self-published work and became a best seller almost overnight.

Today there are far greater avenues for self-publishing than just couple of years ago. Digital technology and social media completely changed the publishing industry and gave many authors their chances to get published.

Nearly 350,000 new print titles were published in 2011, and 150,000 to 200,000 of them were produced by self-publishing companies, said Kelly Gallagher, vice president of Bowker Market Research, which conducts an annual survey of new books.

One of the major reasons why self-publishing is so attractive is traditional publishers generally promote a book for only three to five months, yet indie books can be promoted as long as the authors want, even years and years after they are published. Self-published books don’t have shelf lives.

Here are seven primary reasons authors cite when choosing the independent publishing route:

* Acceptance: there is no worry about rejection—every book is accepted.

* Speed: no delays hinder a book’s release to the public; traditional publishers can take one to three years.

* Control: complete editorial control and creative freedom—nobody tells you what you can and cannot do.

* Money: better royalties—as low as 5% from a traditional house versus as high as 70% if you go independent.

* Profit: better profits because there is no sharing of the money with agents or publishers.

* Freedom: total independence from indifferent publishers.

* Longevity: a longer shelf life—a book stays available for sale as long as the author wants it to be and is not subject to being pulled by bookstores and publishers.

Having a book published is every writer’s dream. I was able to capitalize on the do-it-yourself publishing and independent press movement, and I have been able to turn my dream into a reality. If you are like me, I urge you not to wait—act today. Who knows? Maybe you’re the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke.

L.A. Miller has been writing for more than forty years. His backgrounds in science fiction, astronomy, technology, and classic literature inform his work, which has included novels, short stories, and music. He is the owner of Wood n Nails Music and lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his wife and two dogs. He is the author of the Quests of Shadowind series, which includes “Sky Shifter,” “The Grounding Stone,” and “Veil.”

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