Thursday, November 13, 2014

Join our Spirited Discussion - Indie or Traditional?

This discussion makes me think of two dogs fighting over a bone. In this analogy, the bone refers to millions of readers. One dog is large, older, well groomed, and used to being in control as he represents traditional publishing. The other dog is smaller, younger, a bit scruffy and mussed around the edges, and must fight for every morsel and she represents Indie (independent) publishing and authors. 

The discussion was started by Michael Kozlowski [Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader] when he posted an article titled "How Readers Can Avoid Buying Ebooks by Indie Authors" When I read the article, which seriously slams all Indie authors, and posted a comment, I was challenged by Mr. Kozlowski to create a rebuttal article.

As an Indie author and publisher, I could not refuse the chance to share our point of view. And, true to his word, Mr. Kozlowski suprised me and posted the article on his site. You may read it here:

Which dog do you support and who do you think will win the coveted bone? Or will the millions of readers represented by the bone actually become the winner when the two dogs become so involved with the fight? We would very much like to have all of you jump right into the discussion and share your thoughts.


  1. Rebecca--I was fortunate enough to have books picked up by several of the smaller epresses, one which had just begun and is now at the top of the list as to success, but I can't count those as Indie Publishers. Even feeling validation as a real author by their acceptance, I never felt in control or totally "appreciated." In fact, over the course of a few years, I pulled several submissions based solely on the superior or sarcastic attitude of the editors I was given. I remember telling one, "I hold a master's degree, top of my class grades, I've led a successful life-style, I'm older than you and know much more than you do, I've traveled the world, and I will not be spoken to as though I were a 12 years old recalcitrant child."
    Now that was probably a little uppity, but my goodness, I could not believe the dressing down I got because of some way I'd put a story together. (I still pulled my submission after receiving a nice apology.)
    So, that almost coincided with meeting an Indie Publisher (guess who), and somehow by the luck of the draw, this wonderful person took me in.
    Writing for an Indie Publisher has been the best thing writing-wise that has happened to me. Both Indie authors and publishers have a place at the well, just as the big NY traditional publisher do.
    Even if an author self-publishes a really bad book, that's not all bad. Reality will hit when that kind of author learns that readers are more discerning than you'd think. It's a bit like winnowing wheat.
    Thanks for your thoughtful rebuttal to the article slamming Indie authors. Well done.

    1. HI Celia,
      Thank you so much for following this discussion from site to site and adding your thoughts and support. And I agree that badly self-published ebooks can be a good thing for the author -- a stepping stone, a learning curve, and possibly an opportunity for those who didn't get a great education in school.

  2. Indie is different from self-pubbed...just like POD has gotten a bad rep in the past simply by allowing small presses or self-publishers to publish inventory-less.People who just want to say they've published a book and don't care if it's well done or meets a particular reading audience's need give self-publishing a bad rep, just like the presses who don't care what their product looks like publish less than polished books. The dust will settle.

    1. HI Lisa,
      Hopefully the readers will sift through all the offerings and the good books will come out on top regardless of how they are published or by whom. Thank you for taking the time to come by and comment.

  3. Nope, sorry, I don't buy your analogy, and I think it does a disservice to writers to characterize them this way. Readers genuinely do not care whether a book is published by a traditional publisher or by the author him- or herself. What they do care about is first, a good story, and second, whether they can read it comfortably, that is, whether it is formatted and presented in a professional manner. And there is nothing to choose between a well-formatted traditional publisher's ebook and a well-formatted self-publisher's ebook. I've seen crappy examples from both; I've seen boring and badly-written stories from both. The only ones who profit from trying to create a division between traditionally published authors and self-published authors are traditional publishers, who are losing out as more and more good writers choose to forego bad contracts and earn a living wage (and maintain control) by publishing their work themselves. The fact that there are so many hybrid authors out there now simply underlines the fact that there is no fight and no division here. The only division that really exists is between good books and bad books, not between who's publishing them.

    1. HI badgermirlacca,
      I appreciate your input to our discussion. The analogy was intended as a light-hearted way to explain the debate regarding these two publishing worlds. I apologize if I offended anyone.

      I agree that it should be as you say -- readers just want to read a good book. Sadly reviewers, columnists, and even many bookstores shut out Indie and self-pubbed authors even when they have fantastic sales numbers and an excellent book. I personally read both Indie and traditionally published, but less traditional due to pricing.

      I hope you went to the other articles I cited which began this discussion. My analogy makes much more sense if you did.

  4. Just My Opinion. The Traditional publisher could compare to Socialist (or Communist) rulers. They have always been at the top, calling the shots, and getting a huge share of the intake, while trickling down around 7% to their authors.

    The Trad Heads are hurting, running scared, and they are mad! I can almost hear them yelling, "It's not fair! We are suppose to be the ones in control; we are the experts. Not these peons who call themselves Indie authors! What do they know about publishing, anyway?"

    LOL When you've had control so long, it's very hard to hand it over, especially to a group you consider below par, and who could threaten your livelihood...your future.

    My suggestion to the Tradional Publishers? Increase that trickle-down brook of royalty percentages (7 - 8%) to a stream. Say...why not increase it to 25%? Show your authors a little appreciation. After all, you would be pounding the pavement, looking for work if not for us hardworking, struggling writers.

    Whew! I got that off my chest. Now, if I someday decide to try the Traditional route, I'll have to come back to all of you and let you watch me eat crow. LOL.

    1. Hi Laurean,
      Thanks for adding your comments. I do believe that's how the traditional publishers see Indie authors and publishers. They ARE losing control and are fighting it tooth and nail. I truly believe had traditional publishers cut down on the lavish exec salaries, company jets, and pricey entertaining and paid more to their authors, they would be in a much better position today.

      I will hand you the salt shaker when you have to eat that crow. LOL

    2. LOL. I just hope crow tastes better than it sounds.(in case I do have to eat it.) If I send you an email that only says, "Pass the salt shaker," you will know I've taken the dive.

      Seriously, I paid big bucks, drained my savings, to attend a writers' conference last year, and one high-up editor with whom I had a 10-minute appointment, didn't even have the courtesy to look me in the eye. He drummed his pen on the table jerking his head there and there. Looking at anything but me--while I tried to tell him about my book.

      A minute into his ADHD, I said, "Would you like to look at my manuscript? He snatched it up, read the first pages at lightning speed, circling and circling with his red pen. "This needs to go there." "You don't need this". "Cut the first pages. Start where your h/h meet."

      I replied, "If I cut the first pages my heroine has no reason to flee."

      He looked like I'd dazed him.

      He hadn't listened, or he'd have known my heroine had to hear something devastating to make her leave her hometown, move 250 miles away, so she could meet the heroine. Arrrgh!

      I was not impressed. When I left he said, "You have a good story. It just needs some work"

      I was relieved to later learn, the guy has a reputation for ignoring authors during interviews..


Please support this blog by leaving your comments. SPAM and marketing ads will be deleted. Happy writing and reading.