Indie vs. Traditional Publishing

We’ve entered an interesting phase of the digital revolution where the phrase ‘digital disruption’ is no longer a trendy buzz word but rather the state of the future. Technology is changing at a rapid rate and the entertainment industry is naturally evolving along with it to provide users with multiple options for how to consume media. This can also be seen in the book industry where independent publishing is starting to rival traditional publishing and becoming a more viable option for writers. But which is the right route to choose?

Independent Publishing

A few years back, being a successful independent author was nearly unheard of nowadays it’s considered to be an industry in its own right that’s starting to challenge traditional publishing. There are many benefits for
both options, however, when I decided to become an independent publisher it was for the following reasons:
– Control. This for me was key, I’m wanting to build a brand that has diverse characters and features LGBTQ+ characters, while traditional publishing is getting better at including these characters in their books there’s still some ways to go. I also wanted to control my own production schedule and overall look and feel of my product. It’s been a lot more work but the end result is a product that I’ve created myself.
– Rights ownership. I’ve been hearing more and more on podcasts about the importance of rights ownership and being sure to check contracts to see what rights you are signing away. With independent publishing you own all of the rights meaning you can publish anywhere and in any format. This is incredibly appealing as it allows for the books to be turned into multiple product versions and sent through various channels.
– Set pricing. This is kind of linked to rights ownership, with indie publishing you set your own price and can control your own profit margins. When I was working out the prices for my paperback I knew exactly how much the production of each book would be, plus the cost of shipping and what I’d have to add on top in order to make a profit. This can be challenging to understand to begin with but worth investing time in as it’s going to affect your bottom line in the long run.
– Build your own platform. As an author you’ll have to do your own marketing, this is the same nowadays with traditional publishing and with a myriad of social media outlets available you have to choose which is right for you and how you want to engage. You do start from scratch so it can take time to build but for those invested in building a community it can have a greater return.
– Royalty Payments. These are more frequent with self publishing (and you have a better oversight of how your book’s tracking in terms of sales), where as from what I’ve heard with traditional publishing, you typically get two pay-outs per year and pay a bigger percentage back to the publisher, whereas with indie publishing you can claim up to 70% in royalties.
I don’t have exposure to the traditional market so only have general knowledge of what this is like, however, the choice is entirely personal and there’s no one better way over another, the important thing is producing a quality product so that readers can’t tell whether it’s traditional or independently published.