• vmlawrence

Independence of Indie Publishing: Is it for me?

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

With Independence Day just hours ago my thoughts wandered more and more about my independent writing journey; The fact is the journey I travel is lonely, in nature. I have heard that it's hard to break into the world of writing professionally, and that nugget of advice has proven true. I must find my niche, and find my voice, and then also find someone who thinks I am worthy of taking a chance.

That’s where Indi publishing comes into play. I follow the threads, the articles and the recent wave of Indi Authors giving their advice on how to break into writing via Independent Publishing, on a platform that is growing day by day.

The latter seems to be full of writers of various levels and experiences, having a variety of results and outcomes. Within the community the tea is spilled and the lines are drawn. And when all is said and done, I feel more divided in pursuit than ever when I look at the state of all things publishing. No matter the path taken, the process can be long, it can be heartbreaking, and yet it can still happen for some.

Many say the pros of Indi Publishing are freedom. The freedom and ability to decide your price, your cover, everything about your book that makes it your book. All the decisions are yours to make for better or sometimes worse. And while that myriad of choices spoke to me originally, so did the fact that I’m not sure I know much about making the right choices for selling to a market that will buy my work, at least not without some help.

But the other side of this double-edged sword, I can’t help but impale myself on, is the success and freedom of making all the calls yourself, means you are no longer beholden to those who would stifle your vision. You have set yourself free. Again my doubtful side takes a step forward. Is there a way to get some help while still keeping control? Or is self publishing way more work for the author than traditionally publishing? Some say it is, some give rose-coloured advice that if you self publish all you have to do, to be a success, is know the market your work aims to please and the readers will come.

But let's consider the readers side of this equation. What kind of reader are you? This can help you determine what kinds of readers are out there. I have known many readers in my lifetime, and those that are hard core, up at midnight with a flashlight under the covers will bring and find books wherever they can; because the aesthetic of reading is almost as important as the story itself.

They frequent little out of the way book shops, run their fingers over the spines and smell the pages. They slowly browse the book section of any little thrift sale they happen upon. They even give books as gifts, usually of obscure nature from as many locations and prints they can find. They line their shelves with not only the popular brightly bound favourites but also with the old tattered, well-loved copies of the classics that taught them a love of reading. These are the people you are speaking to when you fill your pages, these creatures of habit, frequent park benches, library sofas and dark cafe corners with an easy chair and a hot tea.

When you picture them, you can see who your market is and imagine how to best reach them and what they are looking for. Probably they, too, are looking for independence. A quiet gap of reading time gives them that independence, where they can slowly devour a book, and experience the story within its pages to live adventures, their everyday lives can’t help but stifle.

So when I think about the readers I am writing for (including myself) I realise with every passing hour that independence in writing and publishing - as an Indi or Traditional writer - doesn’t have to mean that I am on this journey “alone”. And so into the great deep I go, armed with my pen and computer recalling all the wonderful independent writers and readers of the world and the passion for reading that brings us all, a little closer together.

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