It’s not easy being a writer, traditionally or independently published, especially if you plan to make a living at it. Each has their share of advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages of being an Indie is flexibility.
I got to thinking about this after having to make some changes to my short term plans. Most of the changes were for the better, others not so much. I decided to take a little time to share my thoughts on the matter and show how being flexible is a big help to me. I’m going to focus on eBooks since that is the area I have the most experience with.
Pricing: As an Indie, I have flexibility when it comes to pricing my novels. I set the price for my books. If I want to hold a sale or giveaway, I am free to do so at any time. A traditionally published author does not have that luxury. Their publisher and the bookstores determine the price of their books. Being flexible doesn’t mean I set or change my prices on a whim. I try to look at the market and see how much other books are selling for in my genre as well as current trends. I want my books to sell so I price them at a level that I think people are willing to pay for them. In many cases, this means my books are cheaper than traditionally published ebooks. I’m fine with that. I’m not splitting the money with a publisher, agent and a bookstore. If something happens with the market and ebooks in general, I can respond rapidly while traditional publishers will usually take much longer to respond to changes unless they have advance warning.
Projects: Not all authors get to pick and choose what they work on next. Publishers and agents might demand a sequel to a book while the author wants to work on another project or try something different. I like being able to pick what I will work on next. I also like having the option to switch to another project. This flexibility helped me avoid mild cases of writer’s block and those times when I feel like I need to write something else.
Promotions and Marketing: Traditionally published authors have an edge when it comes to marketing and promoting their books especially books in dead tree form. They have a publisher to help them and a presence in book stores. With eBooks, indies are on a more equal footing. Traditional publishers still do a great deal to promote their authors but they are a little slow to embrace new ideas and methods that many indies use to promote their books. When a new idea or avenue opens up, many indies are willing to try it with the mindset that even one extra sale will help them in the long run. Although I hate most aspects of marketing and promoting my books, doing so has taught me a lot of valuable things. It’s also brought me closer to readers and my fellow writers. I’m not sure I would have learned the same lessons if I had a publisher helping me. There are some things you have to see and do for yourself to understand how it all works.
Well, that’s enough rambling. I’m off to finish this last chapter before the sun comes up. In the meantime, feel free to comment and post share your thoughts.