Why DIY isn’t always the best choice
One of the things we love about the indie publishing community is that most people are generous with information. What’s not so great is that a few others are way too free with their opinions, passing them on as advice.
This week we’ve come across several posts advising new authors to stay away from small publishers and do it all themselves.
We disagree, and not just for the obvious self-serving reasons. There are real merits to working with small publishers. Here are just a few.
1. Writing is a solitary business - publishing is not
That lonely writer in a garret thing can only take you so far. At some point you need other people.
Go with a traditional publisher and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of company: an agent, an editor, a copyeditor, a salesperson, a publicity person, plus all their assistants.
Small publishers often provide many of the same professionals (but usually not the assistants).
Why does it matter if you’re really trying to be “independent”? Writers need validation from outside, otherwise they’re stuck in a bubble with their own opinions on what works and what doesn’t. And sometimes they just need company.
2. Some people don’t like to do it themselves
Because writing has never been a high-paying career, many of the writers we know have day jobs and families and a writing schedule that’s already squeezed. They don’t have the time to handle all the details. And to be honest, we know several writers who just don’t want to.
3. Self-promotion is difficult
Even distasteful. Sure, we all know writers who thrive on shining the spotlight on themselves. In fact, we could probably name the same ones, since they’re the ones who are good at it. But an awful lot of writers, by nature, are modest. Maybe even shy. It’s much easier for a publisher to post a great review, an upcoming interview, praise from a reader than it is for the author to do it.
4. You won’t get lost in the crowd
It’s the old big fish-small pond thing. Smaller publishers often have smaller lists, giving them time to pay attention to their authors, time to get it right. They can’t afford to take on a title they’re not committed to.
5. You’ve already done the hard work writing the book, now you get to be involved in its publication
Okay, we’re not speaking for everyone here, just our own experience. But there’s nothing better than working with a team of people all eager to see your book succeed.
One last note. Yes, there are scammers out there. You’ll find them in every field. But honestly, writers have never been known for their deep pockets. Just their unbridled optimism. Our guess is that most small publishers are decent. You can find the ones that aren’t on Preditors and Editors.
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