It’s been an interesting week. The first few reviews on my new collection ‘And Not Forgetting Love’ are starting to appear on Amazon and Goodreads. For those of us who were once English Lit students, it’s a particularly strange and humbling experience having other people comment on your work – and I’m not sure I’ll ever really get used to it. Suffice to say, I’m delighted that so far the book has made a good impression. That’s all that I can ask. Even more pleasing is that the previous collection, ‘Beyond Words’ has started to pick up a few more reviews. This book has been out a few years, but has been swept up in the recent momentum of the ANFL launch. It’s rather like the awkward older brother has finally found his friends and is blossoming!
While storms Ciara, Dennis et al have been raging, I’ve started work on my next project, but I’m also making time to get back into the habit of reading. I’ve recently read a good book (“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce). I’ve also read a not-so-good book (which shall remain nameless). The latter was a traditionally published paperback, which presumably had the benefit of an editor, or some form of editorial process. The author was not a first-timer. And yet the quality (both in terms of plotting and the writing itself) was poor. It read like an enthusiastic first draft – perhaps the sort which might have been written in a rush, say for NANOWRINO where word-count was the thing.
I have no doubt that the author is pleased to see the book in print. They may be proud of their work, and if it sells reasonably, they can count it a successful venture. At one time, I would have been envious. At one time, I would have done anything to have a book traditionally published. I wouldn’t have cared if it was sub-standard as long as the publisher had deemed it worth a punt. The fact of it being in print would have been all I cared about. But now, I find I wouldn’t want to trade places with the author of the not-so-good book. I’ve got plenty of bad books hidden in a drawer. I haven’t done anything with them because they are bad. Writing them wasn’t a waste of time, because they all taught me a little more about the craft, but I’m very happy if they don’t see the light of day. And I realise I’m very happy being an indie author – and here are some reasons why:
- Indies retain their own rights – their intellectual property is their own. Many indie authors have eBook, print, large print, and audio editions of their work. If they want to publish in other countries, or decide to translate into other languages, that’s their prerogative.
- Indies control their own pricing strategy and keep control of discounts and free offers, and earnings from indie books go straight to indie authors (minus the cut from the publishing platform). OK, I won’t be able to retire on the money from my books (hot tip: if it’s money you’re after, short stories aren’t the best way of going about it!), but what they earn is mine, and their earnings don’t have an impact on what I might be able to publish in the future. Which leads me onto…
- Indies can choose what they publish, and when – they can update text, or bring out another edition when they choose, or even remove a publication from sale altogether. There are no “gatekeepers” throwing up barriers to new work. A book does not have to make money to exist in the indie world (though clearly it’s better if it does!). Traditional publishing takes a long time – indies can respond quickly to new ideas and publish fast.
- Indies have full control over their cover designs – they can update or change the cover if they want to. Traditionally published authors tend not to have a say over this aspect.
- Indie publishing is ‘SlightlyTurquoise’ i.e. it fits with the desire to minimize waste and live a sustainable lifestyle. eBooks and print-on-demand means a reduction in unwanted hard copy books being produced.
We are incredibly lucky to live in an age where indie publishing is possible – there are so many opportunities available to us now which previous generations simply didn’t have. I’m proud of all my collections, and don’t feel any the less about them because I have chosen to take the non-traditional publishing route. I’m just grateful that I can be an indie.