What’s wrong with Indie Publishing? Well, the title pretty much answers that. When you tell people you’re publishing, they’ll probably ask what type of books (meaning what genre usually) and who you’re publishing with.
If you say yourself, you get a look.
You know the one.
I was at a mini-reunion for my law school last night and ran into a few of the people I went to school with. We chatted and caught up and I said I was publishing next month. They were saying how awesome that was and good for me (always good to hear 🙂 BUT then one asked if I was real publishing or self-publishing.
There’s the problem with Indie in a nutshell. It’s not an issue with your professionalism, the quality of your product, whether you could get a deal in trad pub, or anything like that. It’s an issue of appearances.
The general public still has an idea that you must be published through one of the big publishing houses. I had a friend a few weeks ago say she didn’t even know you could publish yourself, she was certain you had to have a “real” publisher.
And we get to down to the nitty gritty of my rant.
They say this world “real,” when they mean traditional. Thus creating the problem most everyone faces at some point in their lives.
What is real and what is perception, and how do you convince the public you have a quality product when they are basing their idea of your product on their perception of reality?
The perception in the public is if you’re self publishing, it’s a vanity thing (anyone else flashing back to Wednesday’s episode of Nashville and Raina’s issues with her label?) and you couldn’t get into a “real” publishing house. When in the writers’ reality, it’s a lot more complicated than that. As a lawyer, I decided I couldn’t in good consciousness sign the standard contract many publishing houses put in front of their authors.
(I have a hard time signing a standard lease because it’s so heavily one sided to the landlord, but at least with a landlord you have some bargaining power and can redline the damn thing.)
Looking at trad vs. indie, there’s still a perception that Indie is second class. Maybe people will buy it, but only if it’s cheaper than real published books.
But what do the stats say? Is indie actually lesser quality, less desirable, or is that just the perception of people outside the field? The stats I’ve been seeing lately are pretty much skewing in the favor of the Indie author. What does that mean? It means indie authors are doing pretty well for themselves and indie doesn’t mean you’ve given up on a real career, just that you are taking another, just as legitimate path.
But, as a new author just starting out, I don’t feel like an author yet. Talking to those girls last night really pounded that home. I felt like a fraud. Someone who says they are one thing when they’re really pretending. Why? Because nobody has recognized me as an author yet. And I think we all have this problem. If you think of yourself one way but the world doesn’t recognize it yet, how do you hang onto that perception of yourself?
Again, it’s reality vs. perception. When are you a real author? In reality, you’re an author when you publish. For your perception? It could be when you make a certain level of money, when you are on the Amazon best-sellers list, or maybe never. You may feel like you’re somebody pretending to be an author and doing a damn good job fooling people your whole life.
For me? I think things feel real in stages. Right now, it’s not real. It’ll start to be when I hit publish on Amazon in a little over a week. The next step will be when I get a few sales. Then more. I have bought a bottle of champagne that I’m going to pop and say, “I’m an author!” when I make as much off of one story as I would’ve if I’d gone the trad pub route. But even then, there are more steps because that isn’t that much money. After that it’ll be stuff like a thousand sales of one story or book, and then up and up.
I can’t say when I’ll be a “real” author. I can say I’m going to fake it till I make it 🙂