I have a secret to tell you.
(Are you holding your breath? Waiting in anticipation for this momentous unveiling?)
Unless you’re JK Rowling or Steven King, authors don’t make a lot of money. I know, huge shocker. Part of trying to get your book out into the world is querying agents and/or editors. What is querying? Querying is basically taking your entire book and trying to sum it up in 300 words. But this has to be a very captivating and intriguing 300 words. Also in querying you’re trying to boost the ego/brown nose the agent/editor you’re sending it to. So not only do you need to take your 250 page book and squish it down onto a page. You also have to internet stalk these agents/editors.
Are you still with me on the crazy journey of publishing your book? After you’ve completed this – side note (this is hard. I’ve taken classes with tons of people about how to write a query. There are websites devoted to writing these things.) But once you’re done and send these queries off, you get to read e-mail after e-mail rejecting your book. These are always polite rejections, but it still sucks getting them. I have a list on a pin board in my office, every named has been crossed out on it thus far. Sometimes you’re rejected because they don’t like it. The worst is when they like it, but it’s not hot in the market right now. Agents/editors follow trends. So if you wrote a book about centaurs but mermaids are in demand, you’re kind of screwed. (This has happened to me, but not with mermaids and centaurs)
This brings us to the Indie decision. Indie is basically a hip way of saying independent. Thanks to Kindle, many authors have taken this route. Many of you have read their books. The down side – some of these books really, and I mean really, need to be edited. But thank heavens that there are some amazing indie authors out there. I know of these women and men. They have written some great books.
The upside of going indie? You keep most of your profit. A good friend of mine had an agency ask for her book, but the contract was ridiculous. She would make basically nothing from her hard work. She decided to decline that offer. This isn’t always the case, but it is for the most part. I know one publishing house that locked one lady I know into a 20 year contract. 20 freaking years and they owned everything she wrote! No thanks.
The downside? You don’t have the backing of these publishers and agents. You don’t have those connections. And even though most authors have to do a lot of their own marketing, they don’t have an agent or publisher marketing them either.
So I’ll probably be going indie. It’s scary as all, but I can do hard things.
Let me leave you with this note. Jamie McGuire is a New York Times best seller, some of you know her for her book Beautiful Disaster. She’s indie and the first indie author to have Walmart strike a deal with her to put her books in their stores.