Friday, March 1, 2013

Why I went indie

The Boy Next Door was published by Dev Love Press, a very small independent publisher run by Ruth Madison.  This post explains why I am so happy I went with an indie publisher rather than the traditional route.

Years ago, I attempted to publish a novel the traditional way.  I sent my novel out to several agents via snail mail (as I said, it was years ago), and a few months later, I got a positive response from an agent.  She said she loved my book and wanted to represent me!  Score!

Except not so much.  

I stupidly thought that once you got an agent, getting published is "in the bag."  It's not.  There's a scene in that movie "Sideways" where the protagonist's agent is calling him to tell him that he couldn't find a publisher for his book.  It was kind of like that for me, except instead of a call, I got a spreadsheet filled with publishers that had rejected me.  After a year, the agent stopped trying.

I have some friends who have made that extra leap and found a publisher, and apparently, it isn't smooth sailing after that either.  The process of finished book --> published book is very long, and then you have to trust the publisher to actually market your book decently.  I've heard stories about publishers who do a shitty job with that, and there isn't a whole lot you can do about it.

Now the process is even harder, because with online submissions, people don't have to think twice before submitting their crap manuscripts.  Agents who used to get thousands of submissions per year now get thousands per week.  Not to say it's not possible to land an agent, but it's just as much luck as it is skill.  Sort of like being an actor.  Even if you can you can write well, it's still rare to become a successful writer.  And the process is heartbreak, honestly.

For that reason, I went with Dev Love Press.  Here are some other reasons I was thrilled with my experience:

1) I got way more input into the process than I would have with a traditional publisher, who probably would have just bossed me around.

2) Process was sped up significantly, going from finished novel to published novel in a matter of months, but didn't feel rushed.

3) Still got professional editing.

4) Ruth is great about "gaming the system" and using online resources in way that a traditional publisher might not think to do so.

5) Ruth frequently emails me without my even having to ask, letting me know how the book is doing and about any new promotions.

I firmly believe that a traditional publisher would not have sold as many copies as Dev Love Pres was able to.  I think they did such a fantastic job that I would never consider using a traditional publisher in the future.

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