Monday, November 25, 2013

The State of Indie Publishing, A Guest Post from Victoria Danann

Last month I was the featured author at the first ever Indie Romance Convention where I was privileged to give the keynote speech on opening night and moderate a panel discussion for authors on Indie marketing.

The Indie Rom con is a convention with separate events (workshops, panels) for authors and readers. I didn’t attend any of the reader events because the con organizer had me busy working with other authors. During those exchanges I was able to discern a lot about the current state of affairs.

First, as I’m sure you’re aware, Independent Publishing includes a variety of approaches to book distribution such as self-publishing, small press, and independent imprint digital. I don’t usually cite my own case because it’s unique. When I began publishing my works of fiction, I did so under 7th House Publishing, which is a small press and was owned by me at the time. For about fifteen years its focus had been strictly calendars, planners, New Age niche books, and sidelines.

As a person who began as owner/operator of a small publishing company, I was fortunate to have many of the skills necessary to running an Indie fiction business before I began writing the fiction I would sell. For the vast majority of Indie authors, that equation is the other way around.

In other words I was familiar with marketing principles, time management, and had acquired useful tech skills so that I can manage my own website, do my own graphics (including covers), and format my books for publication in various e-versions.

Not every Indie author has or is going to want to acquire that specific skill set, but that’s okay. There are people who can be hired to perform those tasks. What every Indie author does need to understand is that an independent writing career is not only a business, it’s an entrepreneurial business. It’s a leap for risk takers and scramblers.

If the voice in your head says, “But I just want to write,” Indie publishing is not for you. Sadly, there may not be any place for you because, while traditional publishing may survive in some form, the days of authors contributing nothing more than manuscripts are over. Even big names are now expected to spend time on social media and engage readers, contribute earnings to various promotions, and participate in marketing activities where their predecessors were simply left alone.

For a time traditional publishing tried to deny that the gate was open for good. For four hundred years nothing much changed in the world of publishing, but the Kindle created a revolution that upended the stranglehold the New York gatekeepers had over which things did or did not get published. Don’t get me wrong. I understand investing. The people who are putting up the money get to say how it’s used, where, when, and why. I have no problem with that. It’s only right.

On the other hand, there’s something truly noble about having a global forum that allows anyone with something to say to put it out there and let the reading public – rather than book investors – decide what they want to read.

As to the fate of traditional publishing, let me paraphrase Mark Coker of Smashwords. “They’re like the Titanic. They know they’re going to sink, but they’re too big to turn. All they can do is brace and wait for impact."

Meanwhile, a lot of authors like myself are benefitting from a readership with whom contact would have been possible. My books would never have been published – too different, too much of a risk. So I owe Amazon a lot. If they dropped the props that are holding traditional publishing up, so that we were on a level playing field with those authors, I would owe them even more. (Are you listening, Amazon? We, Indies, are your future.)

Indie Rom Con will be held in Nashville next year, September 11-14 with outstanding small events for both authors and readers.


Victoria is releasing a Box Set of her series, The Order of the Black Swan. The details are below. She's also sponsoring a giveaway of an autographed archival print of the Black Swan covers for a lucky Books and Pals reader. A Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway follows the book release details.

Black Swan Collected Tales (Volume 1, Books 1-6)

The Order of the Black Swan is a serial saga including My Familiar Stranger, The Witch’s Dream, A Summoner’s Tale, Moonlight, Gathering Storm, and NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Book 6, A Tale of Two Kingdoms.
Once upon a time a girl lost everything familiar. She escaped death by being forced into an experiment that left her in another world where modern day knights, elves, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons and fae became her allies, friends and family. She discovered a place where adventure intersects fairytales, where honor is more than an ideal, and she learned that love can find you in the strangest places, when you're least expecting it, even when you're far, far from home. This is the story of Elora Laiken's strange and wonderful journey. It is also the story of those whose lives she touches along the way.
If you love romance, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, contemporary, this series is right for you. 17+
ISBN: 978-1-933320-94-6, 523,000 words
The entire box set, which will retail after December 15th for $18.99, will be available during release week for $0.99 and can be preordered at that price from either Smashwords or Kobo.  Buy links to Amazon, B&N, and Apple (iBooks, iTunes) will be available release week. Subscribe to the mail list for a reminder.
Appropriate for 17+
TWITTER: @vdanann
Best-selling ROMANCE with Paranormal, Sci-fi, and Fantasy Flair.

If you’re looking for something new and different in PNR, you’ve come to the right place.

I write unapologetic romances with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

I have authored and illustrated Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for fifteen years and teach magickal arts for Seasons in Avalon. I live in The Woodlands, Texas which is why I sometimes joke about being the witch in the woods.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

RS McCoy said...

Great article! I love the quote from Coker haha!