The world of publishing is changing, whether some like it or not. There was a time when an author had to send query after query to agents and publishing houses in the hopes someone would not only enjoy their novel but would also deem it sellable. Many well-known authors were rejected multiple times before finally getting published, some spending years being rejected before someone finally decided to throw them the proverbial bone. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Jack London, Judy Blume – they are just a few well-known authors who received multiple rejections before finally landing a publishing contract. (I’d hate to be the people who turned them down.)
Today, authors can independently publish online easily and skip the waiting and rejection part. While there is a small part of me that thinks the waiting and rejections may help build character, when you look at some of the books that were rejected over and over, I’m not sure that holds any merit in the long run. Some may say it’s too easy, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they can, and many have been successful. Some may say a traditional publishing route means a better book. I personally disagree. I’ve read some great independently published novels and some traditionally published novels that, in my opinion, aren’t so great. Some say, to be considered a legitimate published author, you must have a traditional publishing contract. Not really. If you complete a book, you’re an author. If you publish it somewhere, you’re a published author. The rest is just perception. To be a successful published author, you really only need two things: a completed novel and enough people to read it.
While it may have been the case at some point, not every independently published author is someone who couldn’t find a traditional publishing contract. I, for instance, have only sent query letters to two agents in the last 10 years. When I published “Finding Evelyn” on Amazon, I still hadn’t really committed to pursuing this as a career. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction the book received and extremely appreciative of those who have pushed me to continue with her story. I talked about continuing but it wasn’t my focus. I wrote when I could fit it in to other things.
As a matter of fact, despite all my life changes recently, I still hadn’t fully committed until about a week ago when I slowly started changing all of my social media profiles, and this blog, from writer to author. I’m still working on that transition but before long, you won’t see freelance writer or freelance journalist or blogger or any other writing personality on my pages. Because, after many long years of being afraid to target just one thing, I am finally there. This doesn’t mean I won’t be doing those other things. My family does need to eat, and this path is not financially self-sufficient at the moment, but I won’t be wasting time and energy building multiple things at once. In other words, I finally jumped off the fence and figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
I will continue publishing the Evelyn series independently but there are other works in progress I may submit to agents and publishers in the future. Or I might not. It really all depends on how well the Evelyn series does, in terms of sales. Why? Because as an independent publisher, I am responsible for everything. I am responsible for writing the novels. I am responsible for editing the novels. I am responsible for the cover design. I am responsible for marketing of both myself and the novels. Much of that is included with many traditional publishing contracts, as well as the possibility of receiving an advance, so you can focus on writing the next novel instead of splitting your time with another job to pay the bills.
In a perfect world, I would be able to hire an editor (because writers are their own worst editors), a graphic designer and a marketer. Maybe one day that will happen but obviously that day is not here yet with just one novel that was published two years ago. You pay for it all regardless of which route you choose. With a traditional publishing contract, you receive lower royalty percentages that cover all of those services. The difference is whether you pay for it all up front or it’s taken off of your sales.
So how can you support an independently published author?
- Obviously, the number one way is to buy his or her book. Whether it is in print or digital format, your purchase helps keep that author publishing. If you just can’t afford to buy the book, request it from your local library.
- Leave a review. Leave a review. LEAVE A REVIEW. If you purchase a book and there is an option to review it, please do. Until recently, even I didn’t realize the importance of reviews, especially on outlets like Amazon.
- Tell a friend. If you really loved the book, recommend it to a friend. And while I know it’s great to share, encourage them to buy the book, instead of just lending it to them.
- Follow them on social media and their website. Interact with them.
Those are just a few ways you can support an independently published author.
Now, back to writing. 😊
Adding my main two social media profiles, at the suggestion of commenter. Thank you for that!