Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Publishing Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I) by D.Wallace Peach

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021 and on occasion I might dip into months either side to share gems. Submissions are now closed but there will be another series in January 2022.

This is the first post by Diana Wallace Peach and in it she shares some of the reasons that she reclaimed her titles from a traditional publisher and went Indie. I thought that it might be interesting to those considering both options.

Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I)

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en.wikimedia.org

A few blog friends and authors have asked about my decision in 2015 to switch from traditional to indie publishing. I thought it might be interesting to share a trio of posts about the factors that informed my decision. These posts are five years old, but my opinion remains the same. If this post, Part I, captures your attention, you can follow the link below to the 2nd and 3rd in the series.

Part I: Pros of traditional publishing

Part II: Cons of traditional publishing (and how they compare to indie publishing).

Part III: Results

***

In 2016, I begun the process of reclaiming my traditionally published books and republishing them myself. I thought it might be useful to document my reasons, particularly for those writers dawdling at this fork in the publishing road, trying to decide which way to go.

I originally published through a small press, and I don’t want to give the impression that this was a bad deal or that the publisher did anything wrong. It was, in fact, a valuable learning experience, especially for a new author and one as clueless as I. A small press may be the perfect publishing solution for many authors, especially if the words “traditionally published” carry personal weight.

Before I dig in, it’s important to state that – with a few exceptions – this was my experience. It reflects my personality, expectations, and quirks. What worked for me might not work for you and visa-versa. In addition, each publishing house is a unique entity represented by unique individuals. It’s reasonable to assume that my comments don’t apply to every small press!

So, what was great about my small press experience?

Hands-on relationships

I wrote a book without a blog and all the valuable online information available to authors. I did zero research on publishing, knew no published authors. Basically, I knew zip. Typical for me.

I can’t speak for mega-presses, but with my publisher, I received generous personal attention. I had tons of questions, sent daily emails, and received prompt replies. The process was laid out for me, contracts thorough and easily understood, my expectations set. It was comforting to know that my endless dumb questions and new-author anxiety were treated with respect and patience.

No Upfront Cost

When working with a traditional publisher, the professional services needed to bring a book to market come at no charge. This includes all facets of editing, proofing, cover design, formatting, obtaining ISBNs, and anything else you can think of. The publisher recoups the costs when the book goes for sale and they contractually take a portion of the revenue. For a writer with few financial resources, upfront costs may be a factor. Besides not having any idea what I was doing, I also had a pitiful bank account. This way, all I had to do was write.

Professional Editing

When I “finished” my first book, I was part of a writer’s critique group. I applied all the suggestions of my cohorts, and my writing improved to the point that a publisher was interested. Yay for writers’ groups! Little did I know how much I still didn’t know.

The editing process commenced. The editor and I went back and forth for an entire year and made hundreds and hundreds of changes – literally. Working with a professional, I received invaluable lessons on the craft of writing. The process improved my book and armed me with a battery of tips to employ on future projects.

This process was highly collaborative, and I was grateful to be able to argue my case when I felt strongly about a point. I understand from a few colleagues that some publishers are less collaborative and some will exercise a contractual right to make the final call on changes.

Covers

As a clueless person, I had no resources for cover design. The publisher worked on the concept and sent me multiple drafts for comment. My contract allowed 3 changes at no charge though we made many small tweaks. I have heard that some publishing houses don’t request input on design and don’t allow changes. I know of one author who wrote a book about “coyotes” and the publisher put “wolves” on the cover. The author was stuck with the wolves.

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enwikipediaorg2

Contract Length

My contracts were for one year from the published date. This is a relatively short period when compared to contracts that span 3-5 years. The shorter contract is a boon in the event the relationship isn’t working, or the author or publisher wishes to terminate. My termination required a 90-day notice and there was no cost associated with ending the agreement.

My contracts were on a per-book basis with no commitment tying up future books. This is particularly important when writing a series or serial where a contract may commit future books to that publisher for the agreement’s term. An author may end up making do with the publisher or leaving books unpublished until the contract can be terminated. Contracts are important, and they aren’t all the same.

Paper Book Quality

Publishing houses will likely use printing services of a high quality. Personally, I’m satisfied with Amazon and the quality of their paperback books. However, printing houses will often have more size, style, and color options as well as better quality paper and bindings. Many professional print houses are not “print on demand” so there will be a sizable minimum order or set-up fee that may exceed what the author wants to invest. This was a significant challenge in my case.

So, Why Go Indie?

For someone who knew squat, my experience with a small press was highly instructive. The editing process improved my writing. The service was professional and respectful, the contracts fair.

Yet, publishing through a small press has significant pitfalls. As my knowledge and experience grew, it became evident to me that the challenges outpaced the advantages. Would I accept a contract with a big publishing house with a huge marketing department and a tasty advance? Um…yeah! But in the meantime, I’m going indie.

In Part II, I’ll explain why. Check it out: HERE

©D.Wallace Peach 2021

About D.Wallace Peach

Best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

For book descriptions, excerpts, maps, and behind the scenes info, please visit:
D.Wallace Peach Books

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

Thanks to Diana for letting me share posts from her archives and I know she would be delighted to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally.

 

80 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Publishing Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I) by D.Wallace Peach

    • Thanks for dropping by, Staci. I was delighted that Sally chose this post to share. It was a big decision for me to undo my contracts and go indie, but its one I haven’t regretted. I do believe, though, that everyone needs to find what works for them. Have a great day and Happy Publishing!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. This is a fantastic breakdown of traditional vs indie publishing. I love the detail Diana put into this post. She laid out all the reasons I pursued a publishing contract. Is it perfect? No. I’ve done it both ways and conclude that each aspect of publishing and promoting our books has its challenges. Thank you for sharing, Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true, Jan, that both publishing avenues have their challenges. Indie publishing requires a lot more personal responsibility, as well as initial cost. Overall, though, I’ve found I enjoy the complete control and the increased revenue of indie publishing. Thanks so much for stopping by Sally’s, Jan. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I read all three posts with a great deal of interest. After a not-great traditional publishing experience with my first book, I went indie wth the second one. However, I’m still on the fence about reclaiming and reissuing the first book because of the hassle factor. It was good to hear Diana say that it was a smooth process for her.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! Very informative and a great way to get that education of being a writer and what it requires outside of writing the book. There is a lot to learn. I have enjoyed tackling all the parts of publishing except for editing. That part would be worth it to me

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I appreciate this balanced comparison by Diana. As someone going through this decision right now, I’m wrestling with all this. It’s not a slam dunk for me either way. That’s why reading the experiences of others is so valuable. I certainly wouldn’t pass judgment on anyone going either route.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pleased you found useful Pete… One of the areas that I think it is important to remember is that both routes now come with a need to market the book by the author. Unless the publishing house has deep pockets there are no longer massive budgets available. Books in both lanes have to compete with the 20,000 other titles uploaded each week on Amazon. There are a great many elements to consider and Diana in her posts offers a chance to explore them…xxx

      Liked by 2 people

    • I know you’re going through this decision process, Pete. If you have the time, you might read on to Part II, which goes into the downside of traditional publishing and how indie publishing solved that (for me). Sally’s comment is exactly right – even as a traditionally published author, I was responsible for marketing and promotion. And you’re exactly right, that authors need to find what works for them individually. There are pros and cons to each. Thanks for reading and enjoy the journey. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I read Part 2, even before you suggested it. Since I respect your writing and know that you’re a straight shooter, your opinion means more to me than someone else’s, Diana. I think the perception of the indie community is slowly changing over time. What once was seen as substandard (sometimes fairly or unfairly) has become more accepted. Some indie writing is on par or superior to traditionally published authors, but a lot is poorly written and shows little to no editing.

        I belong to a children’s author festival group that brings 25 nationally known children’s authors to our area every two years. The authors are flown in and put up at the best hotel in town for four nights. (all through grant money and fundraising—it’s all remarkable.) While they are here, we take them out to our local schools to talk to children about their books and an author’s life. It’s pretty incredible to see the look of engagement in kids’ eyes, and it’s one of my favorite things about the process. I feel like I’m watching the birth of authors at that moment. One of the group’s requirements is that writers must have at least two traditionally published books. I would like to see this standard evolve and be more accepting of indie writing.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with you about the wide range in quality in indie books, Pete. When substandard books are published they bring down the reputation of the indies in general, and that’s disappointing. I get aggravated to see books loaded with errors. We owe it to each other to put our best work out there. There are a lot of small presses out there too, that don’t do a lot of vetting or editing. They push books through and move on to the next, because that’s how they make their money. I would hope that the children’s group changes their standard. It would be really nice if they had a “submission process” where they evaluated the books’ quality instead of making a distinction that may not be meaningful. I wish you the very best on your publishing journey, Pete, and know you’ll make a thoughtful decision. Something that I discovered is that I can change my mind. Happy Writing!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Publishing Goodbye Traditional, Hello Indie (Part I) by D.Wallace Peach — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine | Kim's Musings

  6. Thanks again for sharing the post, Sally. I have frequently thought this series of posts was one of my more important/instructive ones for new authors. For me, traditional publishing was a great learning experience, but definitely not where I wanted to end up! I love being an indie. Hugs my friend for all you do to support indie authors. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up.. 14th – 20th November 2021 – Boosters, Thanksgiving, Hits 1982, Green Kitchen, Ghosts, Book Reviews, Bloggers, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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