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Is Self Publishing Still A Stigma?

Literary Karaoke? Really??
I read the Huffington Post article going around the past couple of days and it made me pause. Sort of dumbfounded really.

It's no secret that I want a traditional publishing contract. It's a dream of mine to be on the shelf at Target. BUT I absolutely LOVE having my indie career. I will NEVER EVER stop self-publishing. So when another author sent me the article, I about choked on my RED HOTS!
I'm assuming I have had my head buried in the sand over the past few months because I was under the assumption that agents (or at least the agents I'm working with) are really embracing the indie author. AND a lot of traditional authors are either publishing both ways or dumping their agents and going indie.
And hearing that some authors have an all out campaign against indie authors, it made me sick.

Indie authors work much, much harder than traditional authors. I'm NO WAY putting down traditional authors, but I know a ton of them and I can tell you that hands down I do WAY more for my career than they do.

1) I attend conferences just like them.
2) I have book marks, tote bags, business cards, author swag just like them.
3) I have print books just like them. And I get the final decision on my COVER, not like them!
4) I have ebooks just like them. Though I get to set my price to the market, not like them!
5) I tweet just like them. Only I'm on several tweet teams to get my name out there!
6) I'm on Goodreads just like them. I connect with my readers on a personal level!
7) I blog just like them. Only I pay it forward without expecting anything in return!
8) I'm on Facebook just like them. Only I'm on Facebook a lot more working on my marketing!
9) I write one word at a time to make a novel just like them. And PUBLISH four-five novels a year $, not like them!
10) I have book signings just like them.

What I have that they don't:
1) A STREET TEAM of readers that would do anything for me!
2) A GREAT group of blog followers.
3) I market way more than them!
4) I promote way more than them!
5) I keep my title!
6) I'm hungry! I want to connect with my readers.
7) I set my own deadlines.
8) I control my career. Plan and simple.

Will all the things I do stop once I have a traditional novel? NO! I know the value of hard work on the marketing and promotional side of this business and will only make me stronger!

At the end of the day, there are so many readers out there and with the world of ereaders, reading has gotten so popular! There is enough for everyone! Oh. . .a little secret. . .readers have NO clue if you are traditional published or self-published. They just want a great book and great prices.

What's your thoughts? Still a stigma?


  1. I love being an indie author. While I only have two books out and have just got into it, I get such a thrill from it. Of course I dream of an agent coming along and saying hey, I love your book let me publish it, but I'm not going to stop indie publishing if that ever happens. I can put out my little things, the personal things, the ones I don't want someone else to come along and change because I wrote it how I want. I do of course listen to my readers. I love their feedback good or bad, even look you have a typo here. I can change it.

    However I think the stigma is there with people. Just yesterday I got a rather abusive personal message that hurt a lot, but the main problem she seemed to have was that I was an Indie author and therefore in her eyes, not a real author and not really published. That makes me a liar and various other things.

    But, I love what I do. I love how it feels and if people want to hate me, or look at me as some inferior writer they can, because while they are busy wasting time casting judgement. I'm fighting to make my dreams real.

    1. Oh, JD, I'm so sorry about that email yesterday. They are so hurtful. And I just can't believe that some people go to that great length to hurt someone. There is no reason that self published authors can't have a GREAT book like a traditional published author. That is what we do and it's great. Kelly Clarkson/Carrie Underwood NOT a real singer because they took the road less traveled?

  2. there are pros and cons to both sides of publishing. I think it should really be a choice as to which one to pursue or both but I never thought one group would outright belittle another for whatever reason. We're all authors, no matter where we are in the process and how we chose to publish.

  3. YES! I think the same thing. I have wonderful tradi pub friends and self pub friends. That is what is so great about being a writer today! I support everyone!

  4. I personally could care less what other authors think... I only care what readers think! They are the ones buying he books - and they don't know (or probably care) if the book is "indie" or "traditional". When you go to Amazon and find a book, you're left with the same decision... buy or not? Look at the cover, the blurb, the story, the reviews, etc. and then make a decision. :)

    I know plenty of indie writers and some traditional authors and for the most part, we're all a big group of writers. Those who try to separate 'indie' from 'trad' are just goofy. ;)

  5. I belong to a writing group that has a LOT of self-pubbed authors, several who have begun to make a name for themselves within the business because they've been so extremely successful. One of them said she'll never go back to NY publishing, at least not right now, because she makes so much more with her indie pubs than with the NY houses that it's not worth her time to write for them.

    BUT...she also said that it's very, very difficult to find agents who are willing to work with self-pubbed authors because most of them don't see the potential for the foreign rights, audio rights, etc. I'm curious, how did you go about finding one who was open-minded enough to go that route with you. Or, like this other person, did you take your agent along that road with you?

    I didn't read that article because I don't want it to get me worked up this morning (LOL), so I apologize if I'm asking something that's already been adressed.

  6. Just read an article about Jackie Collins self-pubbing, so if there is a stigma among readers, it will disappear soon. I saw the stigma surrounding self-pubbing disappear in my own chapter in less than 6 months! And who cares if the stigma still exists among some writers. It's the readers that matter. I'm traditionally pubbed with Harlequin and I self-pub, and I'll continue to do both!

  7. Hi Tonya,
    I too belong to a writer's group that has many indie published authors. I'm in no way against it. I heard agent Jenny Bent say "Self Publishing is the new query letter." However, Romance Writers of America is still on the fence about recognizing the self published author. I believe it is only a matter of time before they come around and acknowledge it as well. I have many friends who are self published and make quite a nice living from it. In this day and age, if you are making it happen, as you obviously are, go for it! You can't argue with the numbers and it seems when you have the numbers, agents seem to take notice.

  8. I don't have an issue with anyone who wants to be trade published. I understand the lure of it. However, it's not for me.

    Agent and publishing contracts have all these awful clauses...and that's just the tip of the iceburg. It takes so long to get your money - and you'll never know real sales numbers.

    I didn't need a lawyer to understand the contracts I have with Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. The royalty statements are straight up and understandable.

    Stigma? Validation? Hardbacks in the stores? International markets? (Create Space now has those for paperbacks.)

    Well - you know - those things just don't mean as much right now.

    I like knowing that I'll get my royalties on time and I can track them. I like knowing what my contract says - because it's in plain English. I don't have to stay up nights, worried that someone might be skimming off the top.

    Trade publishing sounds like a huge hassel.

  9. What do the movies, Slumdog Millionare, Juno, Trainspotting, The Royal Tennebaums, Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State and Requiem for a Dream, all have in common? They are all Indie Films!

    Robert Redford created, Sundance Film Festival
    to celebrate Indie films.

    IMHO, it won't be long until Indie Authors have the same respect and acclaim. I'm sure Amanda Hocking and
    E L James would agree.

    Some people are just terrified of change, and therefore - narrow minded.

  10. Great stuff, as always!!

  11. I come from an academic background - U. of Iowa Writers' Workshop and university teaching. I've experienced a lot of disdain for indie authors and used to be quite sensitive to it. Sometimes I think going indie was a mistake. But considering the years it would take to find another agent (I've had two), have the MS accepted by a publisher, then finally reach print, I fear I might be dead before I become an "established" author. And attitudes are changing. Young people in particular care less about the distinction between traditional and indie publishing.

  12. Not too many years ago I used to stand on the other side of the fence. In the mid-eighties, when I started, self-publishing authors were consider pitiful. That's all changing now. I'm still very much a hybrid writer - in that I continue to remain pleased with my traditionally published work - but I am openly and honestly embracing the idea of becoming a self-published indie with my very next release!

  13. Fantastic POST! I've experienced plenty of glares and stigma from venturing into the Indie world, but the more I'm in it, the more I enjoy the freedom and adventure it 'fits' me :) I've shared your wonderful post!

  14. Hello all - I'm a self-published children's author in the UK. I agree with all said above. It's hard work - but very rewarding - I've now have my children's book in branches of one of the UK's main bookstores in south west London!

    I've recently joined the newly established Alliance of Independent Authors which is a global not-for-profit organization set up to support self-published authors. It launched at the London Book Fair and has its online launch next Thursday 24 May. It's been set up by Orna Ross who you will find on Twitter (she was with Penguin). Do check it out and come and join us if it looks of interest :)

    Twitter - @IndieAuthorALLI


  15. I think when you have traditional authors waving figerative pitchforks at Indie authors it may be because in recent years many indie authors have been picked up by traditional publishers. However, they made millions prior to being added to a traditional publisher. For example, Amanda Hocking.

    I am so deep into the writing process that this subject went over my head as well. I like being an indie author, the control fuels me. There are so many areas in life where we may not have control, so I am going to ride the wave, until I have a traditional publisher.

  16. I really wish I could find the original quote about literary karaoke, because it's a fail at analogy and a writer should know better. Karaoke is by nature a "cover" of someone else's work. Indie pubbing is responsible for more original fiction in multiple senses of the word.


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