Why I chose to become an indie publisher.
If you want to indie publish your book, you are making a huge commitment. When you make that decision, you aren’t just the author anymore. You are the creative director, book designer, marketing director, and business owner, just to name a few.
The major difference is the money. Instead of being paid to write the book, you are fronting all of the time and money yourself in hopes that you will make it all back in book sales.
So why would someone make that crazy choice when they have a full-time job and two crazy toddlers to manage?
To me, the choice was specific to my first project. There’s nothing wrong with a traditional publishing deal, but it wasn’t right for my book for a few reasons.
When you seek a traditional book deal from a major publisher, you have to write book proposals and query various book agents. This is a long process and the researching and writing of query letters can take forever.
If I was going to commit to writing my first book, which is a memoir for new mothers, I didn’t want to wait months or years to get the green light for it. Since my son seems to get bigger every day, I didn’t want the information in the book to be irrelevant before the book was ever released.
I didn't want a middle-schooler walking around while I was publishing a book about his first three years of life. What if I was ready for the next book by then? In an attempt to create a strict due date for the book, I hired a copy editor and paid a non-refundable deposit for her services.
I’ll waste time, I'll waste food, but I’d never waste money. I knew that if I was risking the deposit, I'd find a way to get the book done.
I also have a full-time job and two toddlers, so working in a writing schedule sounded impossible. For me, writing every night after the kid's bedtime would leave me too tired to be creative. So instead, I woke up every day at 4 am and wrote until they woke up, and then went to work.
I had it submitted the night before the due date.
A traditional book deal is great for people who do not already have access to their target audience. A large publishing house would have a marketing team ready to tell your future readers all about you.
Since I already had an existing blog that was being read by my target audience, www.limitlessnicholas.com, I wasn't in need of those services.
I already had access to those readers, which meant that I'd be able to take them with me on the publishing journey and encourage them to buy the book when it comes out.
I didn't need a marketing team to find my audience for me, because I'd inadvertently done that for myself.
Since I am the publisher of this project, I have full creative control of its outcome. This is particularly important for this book because it is about the most vulnerable time in my life.
In the book, I am at my most raw moment on the first page of the introduction. I didn't want a publisher to tell me how to present that image to the world. It was scary enough to do it my way.
Since beginning this process, I've fallen in love with the idea of providing the world with inclusive books.
My WIP is a series of books that highlights children with Down syndrome as main characters on an epic journey. I'm having a blast working on the books, and am thrilled that my kids will see differently-abled people as heroes in stories.
I can put each book out at my own pace, with my own budget, and my own ideas leading the way. I have no boss, and I'm loving it. If I didn't want to keep publishing, then a traditional deal might've been a better choice.
If you're at the point of choosing between pursuing a publishing deal or becoming an indie publisher, I would recommend considering where you stand on all of the above topics.
I will be posting about all aspects of independent publishing, so subscribe to my blog if you're considering that journey!
You might find that it isn't as impossible as it sounds.