Traditional vs. Indie Publishing: Worth the Risk?

Decision making has never been my strong suit. But deciding whether to traditionally publish or to become an indie author is perhaps one of the toughest, most excruciating decisions I’ve ever made. It’s been so difficult, in fact, that even now, after debating for well over eight years, I still haven’t made a decision. And the more I research, the worse it gets. Knowledge, in this case, does not bring clarity. 399036f585b4f2d5cf665ff3096db2f4

The Big Debate boils down to one problem: Risk. If I shop my book to agents, land my #1 choice, sell to a big publisher for a six-figure three book deal, and get an outrageous marketing package, it still doesn’t guarantee my book will become a best-seller. If it sells poorly, my reputation will be marred forever. The stain will never wipe off my name. But that’s not the worst of it. My book’s rights will be tied up with a publisher and I’ll be unable, under terms of the contract, to indie publish until the contract expires.

But…

If I indie publish on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, etc. the same risk exists. If I fail miserably at marketing, despite a stellar plan, if I don’t connect with readers, if my book cover sucks (which it doesn’t), then my book won’t sell and that same stain will forever prevent me from breaking into traditional publishing.

Perfect doomsday material, right? Where’s my bed so I can hide forever?

But…

A very smart man told me, “Keep your ultimate end goal in mind, my love. No sense in putting effort into something that won’t fulfill that goal. Don’t focus on risk, focus on what will help you achieve your goal. Failing doesn’t equal losing or not achieving your goal. It’s a point where you get to decide to learn and move forward or give up.” I told you he was smart. Genius material. (Love you sweetie).

In a rush of frustrated energy I text him back and I came up with this end goal:

My dream is to be a best-selling author, for my books to sit in prominent positions on bookshelves across the world. I want to write provocative stories that challenge beliefs and empower teenage girls to live fully in their identity.

I went further to add:

I want my top pick agent to represent me and a publisher who will help me with an amazing, cutting edge marketing plan, one that will work with me, listen to my ideas, take my preferences into consideration, “get” my writing, and is behind me 1000%.

It’s not a lot to ask, right? But now I know what I want. My path is clear. No more muddled frustration for this girl. I know the risks either way. And I know not taking those steps toward my dreams will ensure I fail before I even start.

Now is the time for courage. What fear keeps you from stepping towards your dreams? Be brave, in the comments below dare to voice it and take your first step to conquering fear!


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