Indie Rambles #1 - Making the Decision - Jo-Ann Carson

Indie Rambles #1 – Making the Decision

IMG_20140222_201928I’m sharing my journey towards self-publishing on my blog on Thursdays under the title Indie Rambles. This is number one.
I know many of you are interested in the process, so come along with me and we can laugh together as I navigate the new world of publishing.

My First Step – Making the Decision

It wasn’t easy. A part of me, a large part of me, clung to the dream of being recognized by a Traditional Publisher, having them say, “Yes, this is a story worth publishing.” Feeling a life-shattering moment of joy and cracking a bottle of champagne. These perfect people would assign me a series of editors who would make my stories shine and a cover designer to die for. <insert sound of needle scratching on vinyl record> I wanted it bad, real bad, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
I’ve been writing full time for three years and I’ve collected what I consider to be an impressive list of contest awards  and a sizable pile of rejections from editors and agents. I saw my options as:

  1. Keep writing and submitting to contests (which are judged by agents and editors – this is the traditional path to publication which can take up to 15 years)
  2. Submit to a small publishing house (but some of them are struggling financially and I hear lots of complaints about authors not getting the editing and exposure people want)
  3. Go Indie

Going to the 2014 RWA Nationals in San Antonio flipped my switch. The publishing industry has changed and is changing dramatically (details in this post). So I asked myself this question: What can Traditional publishers give me that I can’t give myself? My answer: placement in bookstores. Placement meaning that my book would be placed in a prominent place on the shelves. “But, wait a minute. Hold your donkeys,” said a small voice in my head. “The bookstores are closing all over the country.”
Then I asked myself a second question: What do I really want? My answer: readers.
So, long story short, I decided to go Indie. I’m not saying it’s the only way to go. I’m not going to turn into a crazed evangelistic indie person who thinks there is no other way or who spams you on every SM platform, “Buy me…buy me…buy me…have you thought about buying me…”  I’m just saying, I think it’s the right path for me right now.
Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how I’m doing.
As always, I love comments.

0 Replies to “Indie Rambles #1 – Making the Decision”

  1. About point 2. I would advise all writers to be extremely cautious when choosing to go with a small publisher. Often they cannot do anything for you that you can’t do yourself as a self-published author, and the contracts can be ludicrous. And yes, the editing can leave a lot to be desired.
    You have worked your bum off writing and entering contests and submitting queries over the years, and I wish you every success with your self-publishing journey.

    1. Emma
      I’ve heard some bad stories too. Thanks for highlighting that point.
      And thank you for your support and encouragement. It makes me feel a little less like I’m jumping into the darkness of the abyss alone.

  2. Jo-Ann, I think you’ll find you’ve made a smart decision by going indie. I won’t take up mega bytes of space explaining just why I think it’s smart, but suffice it to say I’m one of those evangelistic indie authors (I don’t think I’m crazed, and I won’t hop all over someone who makes what they believe is the best decision for themselves, but I’d be lying to say it would disappoint me if a new author believed being traditionally published was the holy grail of writing). You will find that you’ll have a lot of company in the “buy-me” department — which is to say every author out there, regardless of how they are published, has to face the same marketing struggles. Prepare for the marathon run, not the sprint. Best advice I’ve ever received? Write the next book! Best of luck to you! (that’s another thing everyone needs in addition to the next book and an editor!)

  3. Hi Jo-Ann, yes it’s a tough decision, but once made it leads you along the rather winding road ahead. I’ve just made the same decision and can’t wait to get the first one out. Good luck, Sylvia Grayson

    1. Hi Anna
      A marathon.
      I think I’m ready, or will be. I’ll have three titles out at once and one in the hole. I keep hearing that the best promo is another book. That suits me just fine.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and add to the conversation.

  4. Great post, as always, Jo-Ann. I’m so happy you decided to jump on the Indie ride. I want to read your books! Why you never got more than a couple of nibbles, I’ll never know. It’s more a matter of finding the right fit than any comment on the quality of your writing. Just like we have to find our own way through the maze of how to write a book, we have to on how to get published.
    I once heard a presentation from a mega published, mega bucks author who said, nowadays, you need to plan to do it all. She’s with a large publisher, a small press, and self-pubs.For the life of me I can’t remember who the author was. She spoke a couple of years ago at our chapter meeting.
    You’ll do just fine. There are plenty of folks to help. I’ll be printing my first book that’s out by a small e- press this September, so I’ll get my feet kind of wet in this publishing business. DH as set up MRW Press LLC. Does help having a lawyer in the family. Not necessary to do this, but I’ve heard a few horror stories of people suing authors. Rather have the protection.
    Know you’re going to be gangbusters in this business. Congrats!

    1. Hi Marsha
      Thanks for your encouraging words. You are an amazing writing buddy and I can’t say that enough. You always make me feel like I can do anything.
      LLC? Is that like a ltd.? It sounds like a really good idea. There’s way too much suing going on.
      I’d love to hear how your printing project goes. I bet there’s nothing like the feeling of holding the first one in your hand. Well, I take that back. We’ve both had babies and grandbabies and nothing beats those experiences. Life has been good to us.
      Here’s hoping we both go gangbusters.

  5. As someone still slogging the trying-to-get-an-agent/editor road, I too look forward to watching your journey Jo-Ann because, regardless of how it goes for me in the next year or so, I think we all have to consider self-publishing all or part of our output in the not too distant future. And, as has been previously mentioned, much if not most of the publicising and marketing remains up to the author regardless of which route you take.
    Plus, much of it sounds just plain exciting and fun!

  6. Hi, Jo-Ann. Thanks for planning this series on the indie publishing long and winding road. It never occurred to me to do anything else; If I had to deal with trying to get an agent or publishing house, I’d just never submit at all. But now, being much closer to the beginning of this road than you are (not even a website or FB presence yet), I’m being struck numb with terror at all that goes into the process. Yikes! Help!
    So I’ll follow your journey with a lot of interest,and a cheering section. You go, girl! And lead us timid newbies along the way.

  7. Jo-Ann,
    I’m so thrilled you have taken the Indie road. The good thing about doing it this way are: I get to pick the title, and change what YOU want to change. I curious if you’ve hired an editor and beta readers before you decided to do this. Also, how did you know it was time to let you babies (books) go?I’d love to hear more about this experience. I’m thinking it will be for me too. Looking forward watching you ride! Congrats on your decision!

    1. Hi Diane
      It is a great feeling to take the reins of my career back into my own hands. I know I am totally in charge. I have to say, it is an empowering feeling. The first book I’m going to publish, Covert Danger, has gone through a critique partner and two beta readers. I’ve hired a copy editor for it and hope she can fit me in at the end of the month. I haven’t decided if I will proof read it myself, or pay someone else. I’m trying to keep my costs low and I plan to aim my limited funds at what I need most and that’s copy editing. I’m playing with my covers and writing every day. It’s all quite exciting, but I will have to come down to earth and figure out things like taxes as well. I’ll keep you posted on my journey.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Lets stay in touch.
      Best Wishes

  8. I’m full of admiration, Jo-Ann, and I’ll be following your journey closely. It process sounds quite daunting to me, but I’ll be happy to learn from your experience. I have no doubt that your books will sell like hotcakes.

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