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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi:
I'm hoping other writers can comment on the paths they are chosing, and why. Here is my dilemna. I've published around 5 novels with small press, but have made less than $1,000 in over six years on all those, combined. Recently, I got a mystery accepted by a traditional publisher. Not a huge advance, but something.

Now, I've got two books out as indies. They are selling much better (I'm not in the 1,000 a month league yet, but at about half that mark on the first book) and I'm trying to decide if I want to just go full-bore indie or if I still want to try to get into the traditional market. I enjoy working with an editor because they invariably make me work harder and perform better than I do when I'm completely on my own, and that is an advantage to traditional publishing. Although I can buy an editor, they don't give you the same "through the wringer" experience as an editor who is working for a publishing company.

So there you have it. Should I continue to try selling through a traditional publisher, knowing I will get validation but not much money, or go for the indie market where I'll have more money but no validation (and lack the push of a strong editor).

How are you deciding?
What have your experiences been?
 
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If I understand what you are saying, then you believe you produce better quality work with a publisher but you make more money self-publishing.  I suppose it comes down to which is more important to you.  Is it more important to produce the best work you can, or to make a quick buck?

In order to both produce quality work and make more money, it sounds like you will need to invest time and effort into hiring an editor to whip you.  I suspect you can in fact find a few editors right here on KB willing to beat you up for money.  ;D  Doing so, however, will eat into your profits and may balance out against what a publisher pays you.

There is also the very real chance that the people buying your indie book are those who bought your traditionally published books and you are benefiting from name recognition.  But if your self pub books are sub-par (compared to what they are use to) you will lose those readers and eventually your income from being indie will drop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You make some good points.
I have not had good luck with editors I paid for out of my own pocket.
On the bright side, I know my indie books are as good as those traditionally published because they went through the same "fire" but at the last minute, I ended up publishing them indie. I'm sort of more worried about future books and the three manuscripts I'm working on now.

On the other bright side ( :) ) I know my audience is actually new and not a transfer from my traditionally published books because there was no audience for my traditionally published books ROFL. I've sold less than 500 for all five books combined. And I've already sold more than that for the indies. hehehe There have to be some "new people" in that bunch.

Honestly, I'm very torn. I don't want the choice to be "write the best book possible" versus "earn some actual money for the book". I want the choice to be "write the best book possible" AND "get paid for it--even $1,000 would be nice". That's what I've been working for, for the last 15 years (more, if you count the abominations I wrote in college and on/off in the intervening years).

Sigh. More thinking required. :) I hate to think.
 

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I recently had the rights returned to me for four of my published novels. The reason being that when a novel called, The Lady and the Lake, came out I self published a novella "Bitch" on the back of it. So a HEA romance novel and a gothic revenge novella, lol. One helped me right the other. Bitch outsold L&L by a good 8x. So, the publisher put out, Man with Two Hearts, and on the back of that I self-published, Under The Midnight Sky. UTMS then went on to sell 10x that of the published release, which made my self-published releases sell 18x more than my traditional releases. So, next published release, I self-publish my best selling romantic suspense novel, Five Days Notice, and it sells more than not only my traditional published books, but also my self-published books by several times. It was at this point I was left thinking "What am I actually gaining from being with a publisher?"

The thing that pushed me over the edge is that my next published release was a very marketable gothic romance novel and edits took... A DAY! They said the book was 99% complete. So, I sat down and thought about this. They did no edits. They will do no promotion, as I will have to do that. They will design a front cover (look at my signiture for covers I designed. They are not half bad) and in the end I came to the conclusion all the small press is doing is taking longer to put my book out a percentage of what I earn. They also don't help, as I find that the reason the books never sold is because they were drastically over-priced. I asked for my books back and thankfully the publisher understood my situation. Now, I am going to self-publish every single book I have sitting on my computer. I have written a lot of books, whilst waiting over 2 years for them to put out my books, I currently have over 23 novels, novellas and short stories on my computer.

I would never go the traditional route again.
 

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I went Indie because I'd only had close calls with publication (small press).  I'm eternally grateful that those small presses turned me down, because I know more readers found me as an independent author.  You already said you've sold more books independently, so if you want more readers, wouldn't this be the logical choice?  I doubt you'll skimp on quality, when you know you have your readers expecting the best of you, right???:)

Good luck, regardless which path you choose! 

Karen
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you--all of this gives me more nuggets to chew over. I really appreciate it.
I'm really leaning in the direction of indie...if I can find a good way to push myself for quality....
 
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