Publishing Isn’t For Sissies: Indie Update–Read THIS!

It’s been a crazy few weeks in Indie publishing, so it’s time for a new PIFS Read THIS! How does a writer find your place in the midst of such rapid change? How does this affect readers, both now and down the road? Good news: the hardworking, talented author will still published, the reader will have great stories to read, and the publishing industry will continue, regardless of which book format prevails. More questionable news:no one really knows anything for sure right now, except that traditional publishers are behind the curve, still, and the top authors who are more savvy and willing to tolerate change for the chance to reach more readers and build more successful careers are leading the way.

My Reality Check post from two weeks ago is the top PIFS post so far. Agent Michelle Grajkowski will be back TOMORROW, to share more of her perspective, from an industry insider’s viewpoint.

In the mean time you might be asking, what do authors think? Well, here’s an author-driven Indie update, with links for you to follow to info and discussions from the last few weeks:


Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath discuss Barry walking away from a $500k book contract to self publish.

In the Self Publishing Review, Eisler crunches numbers and breaks out why he can make more money digitally releasing his next book himself.


Two-time RITA and best-selling romance author Connie Brockway’s made a similar decisionpublishing future sequels to a best-selling series herself, after turning down her latest publishing contract offer.

Does this mean all authors are set?

Like these industry leaders, should we all assume we’ll make more money going it alone, and, thus feel justified turning away from pursuing traditional publishing options that we’ve been taught are our only way to achieve success? In my opinion, no.

Because we likely won’t all deliver digital sales at Eisler, Konrath and Brockway’s level. We’re not all branded authors who sell out on bookstore shelves as soon as our latest title releases. If we were to crunch our own numbers, the break-even point for us wouldn’t be the same. We’re aren’t all going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, no matter how we sell our next novel.


Then there are the break-out wonderkinds like Amanda Hocking. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a Huffington Post nugget on Amanda’s decision, after selling millions of copies of her series over the last year (after a modest launch) and landing a top agent and optioning movie deals, to go traditional by signing a 7-figure contract with St. Martin’s Press. Because she wants to become a brand like Brockway, beyond digital publishing, and the traditional route is the way she’s decided to go to do that–even if it means not making as much money on the four new books she just signed rights away for.

Again, readers, you’re safe. Digitally or print published…your favorite authors are going to keep writing and putting books that you love into the market.

But less-than-branded writers…how do you become one of those favorites?


NYT Best-selling author Bob Mayer, after 20 years trying to make it big in traditional publishing, has an epic historical fiction launching this month, but he’s not a brand yet. Not in the genre he wants to write now. He’s going in the opposite direction of hocking, and here’s his take on why.

Confused yet?

That’s because the answer to the question–what should I DO NOW as a writer–isn’t so straight forward. It’s individual. It’s all on you. These authors have made their choice. Not it’s your turn. What’s best for you? Which takes us full circle back to my original premise that no one really knows for certain what’s going on, except that everything we did know is clearly changing.

For me, I’m firmly a hybrid. For now. There’s no straight forward answer for me, yet, and I suspect there isn’t for most of the rest of you. I still write for a traditional publisher (Harlequin/Silhouette) but I also have my first direct-to-digital release, Secret Legacy, out in May/June, from a NY publisher who’s moved away from the mass market model. SL is launching nationally in trade, too, in stores like B&N and independents all over the country. As sci-fi/fantasy, which is a totally new audience for me.

Will it sell? How will I promote it? Will there be strong enough digital numbers for me to be able to make a more confident choice for the three-book continuation of the series I’m writing proposals for??? All I know for sure at this point is that neither straight traditional nor indie publishing is either all right or all wrong for me.

Time alone will tell what mixture of traditional and indie tactics will work best as I keep writing and publishing. I have to give it my best shot, like the more successful authors above, and see where my choice gets me. Then I’ll have to revise my plan from there and strike out in yet another direction. All I know for sure for now, is that I’ll be blogging about the experience each Thursday here on PIFS.

publishers weekly

And I’ll keep reading posts like this from Publishers Weekly, discussing expert’s opions on how to indie publish successfully. Why? Because, this is all about me, all of the above, whether I’m ready to take the plunge myself. It’s all about you, too, if you’re trying to figure out your next step.

As I’ve said from the very beginning of PIFS, it’s our job to stay informed and plugged in and to help one another understand what’s happened, happening, and getting ready to break over our heads. Keep joining me here each Thursday, and I’ll keep doing my part ;o)

SPECIAL UPDATE TOMORROW–agent Michelle Grajkowski’s  take on all the above and more. You don’t want to miss it!

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2 Responses to “Publishing Isn’t For Sissies: Indie Update–Read THIS!”

  1. Elaine says:

    Thanks for this latest series of posts and info. I look forward to an agent’s perspective too when Michelle joins the blog tomorrow.


  2. The publishing world is in flux. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

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